Thursday, September 13, 2007

“Excessive Successive: Time for a Radical Change” by Wendy Baia

Wendy Baia makes an impassioned plea for a return to latest entry cataloging in her article, “Excessive Successive: Time for a Radical Change.” She first provides a brief history documenting her own experiences over a 40-year career with both latest entry and successive entry cataloging. She then uses the example of Organic Gardening to illustrate the differences between what successive entry looks like compared to latest entry cataloging. (She makes a technical error in suggesting that the OG record covering the years 2001-2003 should be marked for deletion—that title change happened prior to the Dec. 2002 implementation of major and minor title changes and so was correct at the time it was cataloged.) [Note: She presents her evidence as 6 records in successive cataloging versus only 1 with latest entry. However successive record #6 was input incorrectly, leaving 5 successive records, and if all those changes had occured after the Dec. 2002 minor title change rules were implemented, there would be only 2 successive entry records.]

The real meat of the article comes in the section, “What’s Wrong with Latest Entry Cataloging?” where Baia presents 13 criticisms of latest entry cataloging and her responses to them. She mentions FRBR, although in my opinion dismisses FRBRized displays as a solution too easily. She also argues that “using one record to represent one serial fulfills the FRBR goal to promote users’ ability to find, identify, select, and obtain resources.” However, I would argue that data elements within records are far more vital to achieving those user tasks than simply the number of records that exist. (See Table 6.3 on pages 93-95 of Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records.) Even though she hasn’t quite convinced me, overall the article is thought-provoking and well-worth reading as she presents both user-focused reasons for, as well as possible workflow advantages to latest entry cataloging.

You'll find Baia's article in the Serials Librarian, vol. 53, no. 1/2 (2007), pages 57-80.

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