Stage Two Truth

Arthur Schopenhauer is suggested to have said:

Every truth passes through three stages before it is recognized. In the first it is ridiculed, in the second it is violently opposed, in the third is regarded as self-evident.

If the reaction to Karen Calhoun‘s report to the Library of Congress on The Changing Nature of the Catalog and its Integration with Other Discovery Tools is any guide, libraries are stuck firmly in the second stage.

The most recent denial comes from an Inside Higher Ed story titled “Calling Melvil Dewey” which strikes out at both Calhoun’s report and the recent cataloging changes by the LoC.

My comment there remarks:

Among all the negative and alarmist coverage I’ve seen of Calhoun’s report and the LoC’s proposed cataloging changes (this included), I have yet to see anybody refute the premise or suggest a workable alternative.

Our patrons value our institutions in many ways, but amidst budget and technological pressures that threaten to eliminate libraries, our blind insistence on “business as usual” isn’t one of them.

Really, though, how are we supposed to take seriously an article that tells us “most librarians rely on the Library of Congress cataloguing copy pretty much wholesale,” then sounds the alarm at Calhoun’s suggestion that copy cataloging be streamlined? And, about that Dewey reference in the title? On the one hand the man was an unabashed progressive reformer of libraries, on the other he’s said to have held very repressive social values. Which side of Dewey is being invoked here?