From Theory to Practice and Back Again

Like any student at the end of a semester, I chosen to do the sane thing. Read professional literature. Okay, so this probably isn’t normal, but normal is no longer on my radar.

One of the books I’ve taken to reading is Elaine Svenonius’s The Intellectual Foundation of Information Organization (2000) published by MIT Press.

I’m currently on the chapter that discusses bibliographic entities. In particular, I have just finished reading about what constitutes a work in the bibliographic universe. This section, while not alone, is fascinating.

In particular, I’m interested in how the concept of defining what a work is my affect user discovery.

For example, If a student is doing a research paper on Shakespeare’s Hamlet, wouldn’t it be great if a catalog could collocate all sorts of information in a single record on this play? What if a single record brought together movies, adaptations, abridgments, editions, digital images, etc. all relating to Shakespeare’s Hamlet?

However, the issue with such an approach, at least for me currently, is exactly what Svenonius tries to address. For example, is the Romeo and Juliet film from 1990s featuring Leonardo Dicaprio significantly different enough that it should stand alone on its own right as a work, and couldn’t be just as easy to link or collocate similar items together?

Svenonius’s arguments are much more complex and sophisticated, and any attempt to grapple with them in a comprehensive way would be far beyond the bounds of any single blog posts. However, I wanted to see what people’s impressions were, especially those who deal with cataloging, concerning the definition of work and how that will influence the future bibliographic universe.

Feel free to comment and let me know.

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One thought on “From Theory to Practice and Back Again

  1. Pingback: Wherefore art thou Romeo! | technogenealogy

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