By now, there’s been a lot of information about the test process and report so in this presentation, rather than repeating previous presentations; e.g. ALA, BW webinar, we want to focus on the present and future, that is “where do we go from here.” To do that we will examine the recommendations in the report, specifically those recommendations that include action items in the report that need to be completed before implementation. We will then provide the findings from the report that led to that recommendation including some quotes from tester surveys, and the status of the activities. I will present the first half and in the second half, Barbara will also include some specifics on how your institution can plan for implementation and training. We’ll leave time for questions at the end
This was the first large-scale application of evidence-based decision making for a change in a cataloging code. These are the factors—the things we wanted to know about-- that the CC used to construct the test and gather and analyze evidence.
Our two primary sources of data were the over 23,366 bibliographic + authority records created for the test, especially the ca. 1200 records from the sets all testers did in common, plus the 8509 surveys received that collected information not only from record creators but also from record users and library administrators.
The findings—which the Coordinating Committee analyzed in depth over a 5 month period, led the CC to this overall recommendation.
Costs of implementing RDA occur in various areas: subscription to the RDA Toolkit , development of training materials and creation/revision of documentation, production time lost due to training and the learning curve, and impact on existing contracts. Many institutions indicated they did not yet have information to know the costs. Freely-available training materials and documentation would reduce some of the costs. Institutions noted various benefits to be weighed against the costs. These included a major change in how characteristics of things and relationships are identified, with a focus on user tasks; a new perspective on the use and re-use of bibliographic metadata; and the encouragement of new encoding schemas and better systems for resource discovery.
Note the word “infrastructure” in this quote; the CC’s belief that a new infrastructure was needed for the future was key to our recommending implementation of RDA. Just as highways of concrete and bridges of steel were needed to replace dirt roads and wooden bridges once automobile traffic increased, so, too a new metadata infrastructure is needed to support appropriate metadata discovery and access for the 21 st century.
Concern for meeting the needs of the user was an important part of the test and findings. Test institutions were asked to show records to internal staff users and patrons. Results showed that RDA records overwhelmingly met needs and also that RDA records were either easier to use or as easy to use as AACR2 records.
Users noted both positive and negative features of RDA records. Interestingly some features, e.g., omission of GMDs and spelling out of abbreviations were found to be positive by some and negative by others, for the GMD, in almost equal numbers. There were those in favor of and not in favor of most of the changes.
A majority of test partner institutions anticipate some negative impact on local operations in acquisitions, copy cataloging, original cataloging, and bibliographic file maintenance. Nevertheless, a majority of test partner institutions felt that the U.S. community should implement RDA . One unanticipated result of the test was that at least three institutions trained all or most of their cataloging staff in RDA and decided to continue creating RDA records after the test. This result increased the impact of a mixed RDA and AACR2 rule environment.
The national libraries will not implement RDA until there is assurance the tasks described above are completed or well underway. The CC is facilitating some of the action items and monitoring others.
Comments about MARC emerged from the survey data in surprisingly large numbers. The test made very clear that MARC was not a good vehicle for RDA—there were many coding difficulties—but even more importantly, many survey respondents expressed doubt that RDA changes would yield significant benefits without a change to the underlying MARC carrier. Most felt any benefits of RDA would be largely unrealized in a MARC environment. MARC may hinder the separation of elements and ability to use URIs in a linked data environment.
This quote is representative of many of the comments expressed in survey data.
Although discussion of exploring a transition from MARC was already under discussion at LC, the test findings demonstrated the importance and level of community realization of the need for a transition. An announcement was made by Deanna Marcum on May 13, 2011 that work was underway. Quote from the statement:”Spontaneous comments from participants in the US RDA Test show that a broad cross-section of the community feels budgetary pressures but nevertheless considers it necessary to replace MARC 21 in order to reap the full benefit of new and emerging content standards.”
The importance of training cannot be underestimated.
Many training methods were available to RDA test participants. All of the institutions that responded to the question regarding training methods presented their staff with at least three different types of training methods. The staff at five institutions offered as many as seven different training methods. Of the institutions responding to a question about creating or modifying local documentation for use with RDA, less than half had created documentation to record local policy decisions although some provided information about the test itself and/or about RDA. Some participants noted that any local documentation written in the context of AACR2 or any other content standard would need to be revised if RDA is implemented or even if the library only accepted for purposes of copy cataloging any RDA records created by others. Some participants noted the opportunity to simplify their local documentation. Although 75% of those responding said that updating documentation would have a “large” or “very large” impact, only 12% of those responding to a question asking if updating documentation would be a benefit or a barrier to implementing RDA said that it would be a “major barrier.” The three national libraries indicated that they had extensive local documentation to be reviewed and revised; much of LC’s local documentation is also national documentation. Various specialized cataloging communities and the utilities were considering their documentation plans.
Thanks to extensive training documentation and presentations, LC already has made a substantial start on training and will continue to lead in this area. However, LC plans to coordinate closely with PCC, ALCTS and other relevant bodies to avoid duplication of effort and to avoid to the extent possible confusing or conflicting information. One of the training needs that emerged from the test results is that more training is needed on the APPLICATION of FRBR concepts to record creation. Our sense is that while catalogers are certainly very familiar with the WEMI vocabulary and concepts in the abstract, the have problems when it comes to knowing when and how to provide access to work or expression manifested, as for example, when a resource contains more than one work. Likewise, there are many points about Toolkit use where further training would be helpful.
Perhaps one of the recommendations that got the most attention was the statement to “Rewrite RDA instructions.” In retrospect, we should have said, “Reword” because our intention was not to change the result of following the rules, but to have the rules reworded to ensure that catalogers would all have the same understanding of what was meant by the rule and all achieve the same outcome from following the rule. Work with JSC to prioritize which chapters should be addressed and completed first (based on testing comments). Identify and engage a writer in collaboration with JSC and Comm. Of Principals. Confirm readability of initial chapter rewrites Ensure registry is well described and in synch with RDA rules. Important point as much focus on RDA has been on the “cosmetic” changes (INSERT COSMETICS) and not on defined elements and vocabularies that will allow much more machine manipulation and linking of the data.
Findings showed that not only were catalogers using the new authority record fields in RDA records but in AACR2 records as well. The most used new field was the 046 for coded date information. Other commonly used fields included 370, 374, and 375. Confusion between field of activity and occupation. One way to try to distinguish these elements is that 372 should be activity or specialty (art, music, cardiology, etc.) 374 should be term for the profession/people term (artist, composer, surgeon, etc.)
Subjective reactions to the RDA content were mixed. Some participants liked the emphasis on transcription, cataloger judgment, and the new content/media/carrier types, as well as the elimination of abbreviations. A larger number of participants reported confusion about the structure, organization, and vocabulary in RDA and commented that the order of the rules in RDA did not match current cataloging workflows.
The purpose of the readability analysis was to perform an objective test to determine an approximate readability score for RDA. A sampling of sentences from 86 random pages of the text RDA was compared with random sentence samples from AACR2, ISBD, and the CONSER Cataloging Manual using two common readability tools (Flesch Reading Ease and Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level). The comparison indicated that RDA text was the least readable (college graduate level) while the three other manuals were rated for college students (13 th -16 th grade level). Survey responses relating to difficulties encountered indicated that over time participants gained a better understanding of RDA. There was little difference reported in difficulties encountered by different levels of staff. However, participants working in non-textual formats reported a much higher number of difficulties.
The Coordinating Committee identified chapters 6, 10, 11, and 17 to be priorities for “rewording” which has been approved by the JSC. These 5 chapter will be completed no later than June 2012. Potential writers have been identified although a selection has not been made. The Coordinating Committee may call on our former test partners to review any chapters that have been re-written and also rerun the chapters, both the original and revised versions, though the readability analysis tools to compare the results.
First bullet according to an announcement from the JSC on Aug. 8, 2011. From the JSC Summary of Progress on US RDA Test Recommendations posted Sept. 5, 2011 JSC is working with ALA Publishing to establish robust processes by which RDA will be updated and changes will be communicated to users . It is anticipated that major updates to RDA will be made not more than twice annually; It is anticipated that the frequency of minor updates will be no more than monthly; JSC is finalizing a “fast track” process which will allow low impact proposals, including: correction of typographical errors; addition or removal of examples; addition of terms to vocabularies to be accelerated; Users will have a single place (accessible through the RDA Toolkit or in the RDA Toolkit) to stay informed of RDA changes and product changes.
There were several positive comments related to the RDA Toolkit. However, the overall impression from the comments was that users struggled to use the Toolkit effectively. Many respondents found the Toolkit to be clunky and difficult to navigate. Respondents were not pleased with the organization (although it was at times unclear if this was the organization of the rules themselves or how they were presented in the Toolkit). Attempting to navigate to particular rules in the text via the table of contents confused many users. Many commented on having difficulty locating all of the relevant rules and that the hit list did not include enough context to decide which is the one with the needed information. There were comments that it was difficult to determine the order of results of a keyword search and suggestions were to display the results in rule order or have links to the rules first followed by links to the definitions. The workflows present in the Toolkit were seen as useful in creating initial records because they are written in straightforward language and ease the burden of the FRBR-based arrangement of RDA by ordering the rules by MARC/ISBD area. The potential for development of specific workflows at the local level and by format-specific cataloging communities was noted. There were comments that a longer timeout period is needed and when the RDA Toolkit does timeout, some users would appreciate, if it would not wipe out the screen but rather leave the user where they are.
From listening to ALA Publishing Webinars on the RDA Toolkit, these are a few upcoming enhancements. They are planning on having a virtual user group that will discuss upcoming enhancements and suggestions for future development. Chapter loading is being improved. Users will be able to select their time-out length as part of their profile. A MARC linking service is/will be available which allows users to link directly to the rules in the Toolkit from their local system and/or documentation. (Piloted by OCLC). Information about these and future enhancements is available on the RDA Toolkit Blog.
What still remains unclear is to what extent the specialist communities will adopt RDA, or continue to use their existing manuals as is, or adapt their current guidelines to be more compatible with RDA. If the generalist who uses RDA for the occasional special item in his or her collection follows one set of descriptive practices and the music, AV, or rare book specialist follows a different set, what is the impact on identification and retrieval? While specialized communities can develop best practices for use within their groups without submitting rule change proposals to the JSC, the community as a whole will not realize the full benefit of applying a common standard unless the standard itself is changed. In today’s environment, where use of existing copy is an essential efficiency for many institutions, incorporating desired changes into RDA will help ensure that copy from a variety of sources will be as useful and usable as possible.
RDA Decisions Needed Task Group was charged to review a document entitled “PCC RDA Policy and Practice Decisions Needed if RDA is Adopted” and to recommend to the Policy Committee next steps, including how the decisions on each item should be made. Task Group on AACR2 & RDA Acceptable Heading Categories was charged to categorize the different types of headings currently existing within the authority file (LC NAF) and provide suggestions for handling these categories of records (batch updating vs. manual, leave alone, etc.) The Task Group on Hybrid Bibliographic Records was charged to investigate the use of hybrid records and make recommendations for best practices. The three PCC task groups have a Sept. deadline for submitting their reports and all information regarding these task forces is available on the PCC website. Task Group on AACR2 & RDA Acceptable Heading Categories report already available. The music/moving image communities are submitting one proposal via ALA and The Canadian Committee on Cataloging has submitted five proposals related to music. These proposals are available on the JSC website.
The Coordinating Committee made available to the library community the corpus of RDA test records for examination and experimentation. Unfortunately we received few responses from those who looked at or manipulated the records. We hope that future development work will occur using these records. The data carrier is just one of the RDA‐related issues that systems vendors must face. We cannot speculate on what new tools and services will be produced and realized with the implementation of RDA. However, If the library community does not move forward in some key areas, we will continue to be behind the development and innovation of other communities utilizing linked data and the semantic web. The Coordinating Committee continues to be in communication with vendors regarding developments in this area.
Quote from one the survey respondents
As part of the analysis process, the Coordinating Committee hosted a visit and presentation from eXtensible Catalog Organization Co-Executive Directors Jennifer Bowen and David Lindahl to discuss their partial implementation of RDA. Sample quotes from their presentation. A full written report from XCO is included as an appendix in the Report and Recommendations. The visit and statement proved quite valuable in helping the Coordinating Committee envision the current and future potential of RDA.
There were no reported problems in systems ingesting and storing RDA records. While existing systems can import and store RDA-based MARC 21 records, respondents indicated that substantial local configuration changes would be needed for indexing and record displays for the public. In particular, much concern was expressed about title differentiation in public displays with the loss of the 245$h (GMD). While we tried to gather RDA records produced in schemas other than MARC, very few records were received.
The final section of the presentation will focus on the future – what you can expect to see happening between now and implementation and what you can do to prepare for implementation at you institution. LC will have a small group of catalogers (comprised of former testers) that will resume creating RDA cataloging records in order to provide information, training, and suggestions for change. LC will use the next 18 months to train staff and update existing documentation following this anticipated timeline.
NLM expects to work closely with ALCTS and the PCC to develop training materials and policies that make sense for the US community and our constituents.
Next few slides are just examples of issues that individual institutions should be thinking about/considering during the next 12-18 months prior to implementing RDA.
LC Test training materials site no longer being maintained but documentation and training materials used for the test will still be available.
LC RDA planning website has information on LC’s RDA implementation planning activities as well as updated training documents produced during this period. Updates from the Committee will be available as a section of the LC RDA planning website
Recommendations from the RDA Test: Where do we go from here? Barbara Bushman National Library of Medicine, NIH, DHHS Regina Romano Reynolds Library of Congress FLICC September 22, 2011
“ Contingent on the satisfactory progress/completion of the tasks and action items below, the Coordinating Committee recommends that RDA should be implemented by LC,NAL, and NLM no sooner than January 2013. The three national libraries should commit resources to ensure progress is made on these activities that will require significant effort from many in and beyond the library community.”
Report, Executive Summary, p.2 FLICC September 22, 2011
Readability analysis with other cataloging rules (AACR2, ISBD, CONSER Cataloging Manual) found RDA text to be the least readable
Reported difficulties in using RDA dropped with record creation experience from 54% to 14.5%
Participants working in non-textual formats reported higher degrees of difficulty
FLICC September 22, 2011
“… difficult to understand … each person may arrive at a different conclusion from the same instruction.” “… the weakness of RDA is the “disorganized vagueness” of the RDA rules.” Test participant Test participant FLICC September 22, 2011
“ Use of RDA elements, even within a MARC-based structure will help XC’s metadata cleanup and transformation programs work more effectively than does AACR2 data.”
“ XC Schema is a foundation for a solid RDA implementation that is usable in real systems, addresses real use scenarios and works with existing integrated library systems and web content management systems.”