OPENING STATEMENT:As people have progressed throughout the years, we have seen many advances in manydifferent fields. The medical field has advanced through vaccinations and stem-cellresearch. The field of education has progressed from learning through lecture tolearning through differentiation. We have also seen amazing advances in technologythrough cell phones, laptops and IPods. Why then, should the field of librarian sciencebe any different? To truly move from “librarians” to information professionals, we toomust advance. To do this we must leave behind the AACR2R and move to RDA orResource Description and Access as a way of cataloging our materials. That is why,ladies and gentlemen of the jury, you must find AACR2R GUILTY of not being preparedfor the 21st century.WEAKNESSES OF AACR2R:Though there are many to choose from, I am going to point out to you threeweaknesses in the current system: 1.Catalogers are left to their own judgment with littlesupport. 2. There is language that is inconsistent and confusing. 3. It is neitherprepared for nor adapting well to materials in the 21st century.1. In her article “Taking a Look at the Draft RDA”, Intner (2009), describes the conceptknown as “cataloger’s judgment.” It is defined as “cataloging rules that are possible tointerpret without outside assistance” (p.16). AACR2R does little to aid in the judgmentof the cataloger. One area in which it falls short is the transcription of errors intocatalog records. It gives a long winded explanation, but no examples. Exhibit A slide: (Example from article)Other times they are asked to deal with decisions that have nothing to do withcataloging. In her 2008 article, “RDA: Progress or Problems” Intner says that somecatalogers, instead of cataloging are, “determining the scale of a map…or figuring outthe shortest form of a publishers name that could be understood internationally” (p.14).2. Much of the language used in AACR2R is more than 30 years old and is confusing.The instructions are indirect and give more explanation into reasoning behind anauthor’s intent. It is not direct, explicit, nor to the point. Another linguistic issue is whatIntner (2008), calls “British-isms”. Instead of saying “period” as we would in AmericanEnglish, the AACR2R term is “full stop.” This vocabulary has to be learned before acataloger can do their job correctly. Other terms with hidden meaning such as "titlesproper," "corporate bodies," "multiple bibliographic identities," (Intner, 2008, p.14)have to be simplified and understood. Exhibit B slide: (Pseudonym example)
3. One of the biggest problems with AACR2R is that we are in a time of technologicalchange and advances. It has not prepared itself for new formats and instead ofanticipating changes and allowing for growth, it, according to Oliver 2007, “is reactive, inthe sense of reacting to change after the change has happened” (p.250). In trying toreact to these changes, their rules for new formats such as websites and e-journals wereinconsistent and illogical. Because of these problems, people began to re-evaluateAACR2R and in 1997 held a conference in Toronto, the International Conference on thePrinciples & Future Development of AACR. After realizing a revision would not beenough because, as Oliver states, there were fundamental problems with the wayAACR2 was organized, they knew they needed a new direction completely. Thus, RDAor resource description and access was born.WHAT IS RDA? (Slide)RDA , or resource description and access is the new cataloging standard that will replaceAACR2R later this year. According to its website, rdaonline.org, “RDA goes beyond inthat it provides guidelines on cataloging digital resources and a stronger emphasis onhelping users find, identify, select, and obtain the information they want”It consists of several parts including the introduction, description chapter, relationshipchapters, and authority control, and appendices. It is also directly aligned with FRBR orthe Function Requirements for Bibliographic Records. (Adamich, 2008, p. 68). RDA alsoaddresses unclear terms, will reduce discrepancies in descriptions, and “address thecataloging of digital resources, three dimensional objects, visual materials, manuscripts,and archives more effectively” (Adamich, 2008, p.68).RDA is also more efficient than AACR2R because it will cover materials in multiplelanguages that can be used world wide, not just in the United States. RDA guidelines areworking to get away from, as Seikel (2009) states, “the anglocentricty of AACR2” (p.747),and instead promote international use.Most importantly, RDA is geared towards the future of library science, or focus on theuser rather than the item. In her 2007 article, “Changing to RDA” Oliver states that,“RDA focuses on users and the information they need. The guidelines are based onprinciples that guide, not rules that constrict. The goal is to facilitate the process ofresource description by following a logical decision process. The standard is designed tobe easy to use and to generate records that contain data that is relevant and importantto users” (p.250).
CLOSING STATEMENT:Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I have given you three reasons why AACR2R hasoutlived it’s usefulness: 1.Catalogers are left to their own judgment with little support.2. There is language that is inconsistent and confusing. 3. It is neither prepared for noradapting well to materials in the 21st century. I have also pointed out how RDA is abetter choice for our catalogers and better prepared for new formats that may comeabout in the future. As librarians it has always been up to us to pave the way to what isnew. Librarians are the facilitators to the gateway of the future. You have no otheroptions but to find the AACR2R guilty, and be ready to move to RDA.
CROSS XIsn’t it true that much of AACR2R is repetitive? (Intner, 2008, p.14) Yes. While each format group has a chapter dedicated to it describing its rules, many simply tell the cataloger to go back to chapter 1.How exactly does AACR2R plan to deal with new formats of items needing to becataloged in the upcoming years? (Oliver, 2007,p.250) Because AACR2R has little room for expansion, the plan is to move to RDA.Are AACR2R’s rules general enough to allow for the incorporation of materials in new orelectronic formats? (Adamich, 2008, p.67) No, and in fact they are quite the opposite. The rules are very specific and don’t bend to the requirements new formats demand.Isn’t it true that RDA is better prepared for the cataloging of new resources? - Yes, especially in school libraries. It is specifically incorporating new formats such as streaming videos and online document formats (PDF, XML, etc) brought about in the 21st century. Prosecution Direct Exam of Angela Christina Rawlings (Nicole Penley) Librarian and AACR2R/RDA expertCan you please state your name for the record? (Staci) - Angela Christina Rawlings (Nicole)Ms. Rawlings, why are you hear today? (Staci)
- To discuss the faults in AACR2 and give a solution to the problem. (Nicole)You are expert on AACR2R and RDA correct? (Staci) - Yes (Nicole)What is AACR2R? (Staci) - Anglo- American Cataloging Rules, second edition revised (Nicole)Does AACR2R have any faults? (Staci) - Yes. (Nicole)Isn’t it true that much of AACR2R is repetitive? (Staci) - Yes. While each format group has a chapter dedicated to it describing its own rules, many simply tell the cataloger to go back and reread chapter 1. (Nicole)Are AACR2R’s rules general enough to allow for the incorporation of materials in new orelectronic formats? (Staci) - No. In fact they are quite the opposite. The rules are very specific and don’t bend to the requirements new formats demand. (Nicole)Isn’t it true that RDA is better prepared for the cataloging of new resources? (Staci) - Yes, especially in school libraries. It is specifically incorporating new formats such as websites, streaming videos, blogs, and online document formats (PDF, XML, etc) brought about in the 21st century. (Nicole)
How exactly does AACR2R plan to deal with new formats of items needing to be cataloged inthe upcoming years? (Staci) - It doesn’t. AACR2R was created before the conception of many of our new technologies and formats of materials. Because they left no room for the expansion of these new formats, and because the rigid rules do not allow for further expansion, the plan is to move to RDA. (Nicole)