RDA stands for Resource Description and Access and has been developed as a replacement for AACR2 There has been a great deal of international consultation over these new rules and a lot of English-language focus has been removed RDA has been developed within the cataloguing community, however the idea is that it could be used as a standard by other resource description communities such as museums and archives. There’s little information as to the likelihood of this happening in the short term however.
The structure of RDA is based on the FRBR model – Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records. Which means that there is no need to cover every variation of publishing and formats using rules, there are principles that can be referred to when a particular situation is not covered by a rule. AACR2 is based on practice and based on the card catalogue. All those rules around abbreviations and how many authors to include were written because of the size constraints of catalogue cards. How many people here have never used a card catalogue? RDA is designed for online systems. It’s designed with the future in mind. Where AACR2 is a set of rules that in many ways lag behind our current cataloguing systems, RDA is a set of rules that are ahead of most current cataloguing systems. One of the biggest differences between RDA and AACR2 is this last difference. RDA does not cover how to display bibliographic data – that depends on the catalogue system you use and how that system is configured. RDA identifies the information necessary to identify and connect resources
AACR2 does not explain form of material at all well. The rules focus on the physical carrier at the expense of indicating the type of content. The MARC format compensates for this problem to some extent and library systems have different ways of dealing with the issue, but at the core the rules for description have not kept up with the increase in different formats for storing information.
It’s important that RDA records can be used alongside AACR2 records so the lack of obvious changes is a good thing. Direct transcription makes it easier to be certain that the record matches the resource That second point about the capture of data is particularly significant. If we’re not tissying around with data on title pages and the like, then we can scan a resource or use data provided by the publisher and reduce the amount of copying cataloguers need to do. Then cataloguers will be able to focus more on the activities where they add value: identifying and recording relationships and analysing and recording subject content.
This doesn’t mean that users will see the terms recorded by the cataloguers. It means that the cataloguers will record the form of the content as distinct from the form of the carrier and that users have access to both pieces of information. This might be displayed using icons and could be part of search limits or facets for narrowing search results. Many catalogues do this now, but most of the data comes from the encoding format (MARC) and is not part of the descriptive standard.
These are not so new to music librarians, but their use has been extended and enables a much clearer explanation of the connection between people, corporate bodies and works.
As you can see there’s not a huge difference and that’s a very good thing. It’s very important that RDA and AACR2 records can coexist in the same databases. I don’t think anyone is contemplating any mass migration of the millions of AACR2 records out there!
The most important change is the move towards a full set of clearly defined data elements. At the moment to create usable catalogue records in a shared environment requires an encoding format and data that is not part of AACR2 It also means that decisions about how data is accessed and displayed are separate decisions from the intial recording of the data. What the cataloguer records doesn’t have to be what the user sees. The way data is indexed and displayed should change over time, but the core data should be able to remain stable over time.
This is a simple example of the assumptions our existing standards make about who is looking at the information. AACR2 doesn’t cover recording language because it’s “obvious”. The MARC format contains instructions about additional data elements needed to process catalogue records and this also ties AACR2 to one main encoding format RDA includes language as a data element
Here are some examples of relationships that exist between 3 works and a person. These relationships can be displayed in any number of ways, if they have been recorded as part of a resource description.
We know Jane Austen didn’t write Jane Austen Book Club or Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, but the existing catalogue record doesn’t make this relationship explicit. The explanation of the relationship is recorded in notes that people can read but its not machine readable which is why we get these kinds of lists at the moment. This is not a flaw in the Trove system, it’s a gap in the catalogue data. RDA relationship designators will make it possible for discovery layer and federated search systems such as Trove to be more accurate.
Open Library already makes use of catalogue record data, but this kind of rearrangement will be much easier with the relationship data RDA will provide.
The first point has been covered in the sample records shown on previous slides. RDA records will look a little different from AACR2 records, the most obvious difference being the lack of abbreviations.
National Library has contacted all New Zealand-based vendors to alert them to the changes in the MARC21 format associated with RDA implementation. The larger vendors based offshore have mostly been contacted by the RDA developers or others more closely associated with RDA and are informed about the changes.
There is no rush at this stage.
Based on the survey on RDA training needs conducted earlier this year. There are commercial trainers who currently provide cataloguing training in New Zealand and these trainers might offer RDA as part of their programmes. National Library of NZ cataloguers are in contact with the National Library of Australia cataloguers regarding their training and implementation plans. Train-the-trainer courses is one possible option. However training is available, the survey results were very clear, that people would like short-ish course, 1-2 days, to be held near their libraries and with online backup materials available.
RDA Coming (not so) soon to a catalogue near YOU Chris Todd National Library of New Zealand
When will it change? Not so soon 2 nd quarter 2012? International implementation of RDA July – Sept. 2011? National Library of Australia, Library and Archives Canada and British Library implementation decision June 2011 Library of Congress implementation decision March 2011 US National Libraries test results complete October 2010 RDA records in OCLC WorldCat June 2010 US National Libraries test started June 2010 RDA published