Tomorrow never knows: the end of cataloging?
It has some well-spoken statements about the great increase in materials, the need to collaborate better with others in the publishing supply chain, etc. But what really stood out for me was this:
The future of cataloguing depends on transforming the process from a craft into an industry.
He qualifies this by saying
This requires unambiguous identification at different levels of granularity to facilitate repurposing of metadata created at the different stages of the process of creating and publishing resources. It also means we may have to be less precious about some of our cherished practices.
I can't disagree with what he says here, but I must say that I have a different take on the idea of industrialization of cataloging, and that is that we should consider taking cataloging out of the library and giving it to others who will actually industrialize it. Just as we don't hand craft our own library shelves, and we don't hand craft our own library systems, perhaps we shouldn't be hand-crafting our own catalog records.
What I refer to here would probably come under the rubric of "outsourcing," some of which already takes place, especially for works in less common or more difficult languages. But what if, just what if, someone could develop a cataloging service that was cheaper than what libraries can do themselves, and had comparable quality? Is there any reason why we shouldn't go for it?