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Abstract

Purpose :The purpose of this paper is to investigate how Swiss public libraries are experiencing a normative revolution connected to new cataloging standards, such as RDA and the FRBRization of catalogs. Design/methodology/approach :Thanks to semi-structured interviews, the paper analyzes the current positioning of Swiss public libraries on the “bibliographic transition” issue by using a case study of the network of municipal libraries in Geneva. Findings :In Switzerland, the federal and multi-linguistic structure of the library networks increases the organizational obstacles to the adoption of new cataloging principles and formats. At the local level, the Swiss municipal libraries have to cope with this complexity to transform their structures and continue to offer competitive and effective services to their users. Practical implications : The paper proposes six scenarios of technology watershed for the analyzed case study and their consequences for cataloging standards and rules. Social implications : The paper shows how the adoption of technological and conceptual innovations has to be done in the face of real organizational and administrative constraints, especially in the case of public lending libraries. Originality/value : The paper analyzes at the empirical and theoretical levels how, especially in Switzerland, the variety of governance levels and linguistic areas have made strategizing more complex for public lending libraries.

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