Implementing RDA

ALA TechSource recently posted a post by Patrick Hogan called, Implementing RDA: Call for the Alpha Geeks of Library Metadata.

As we all know, controversy surrounds RDA. But Patrick has taken a more upbeat approach. He suggests a new point of view concerning RDA. He explains that many new technologies have been designed to fulfill a number of tasks. It turns out that sometimes people transform these technologies in ways not envisioned by their original tasks or purposes. Patrick borrows a term from Tim O’Reilly to describe these people: “Alpha Geeks”.
At the core, Patrick is calling out to all the alpha geeks out in library land to transform RDA.

What will you do with RDA that we co-publishers, the Joint Steering Committee, and the Committee of Principals don’t expect?

Of course, this assumes that people will have access to RDA as a final product. Not only will they have access but they will have used it enough in order to identify ways in which to improve upon the technology. This leads to another assumption, namely that RDA is a “technology”. RDA will be offered as an online product. But is it a technology? Another question is the motive behind Patrick’s post. Are Patrick’s comments tainted by the fact that he is blogging from ALA, a major player in RDA? I think that it is in light of these questions that this article is worth a detour, just to see what is being said about RDA and by whom.


One thought on “Implementing RDA

  1. I think some of what Patrick is talking about has already started to happen. The work that the DCMI/RDA Task Group has been doing (full disclosure–I’m the co-chair) in registering the RDA Elements and Vocabularies has begun to spark some interesting thinking about how RDA brings possibilities for linked data to the library sphere. American Libraries reported on a well-attended session on Linked Data at Annual (well-attended particularly since it wasn’t in the program and was held in tough-to-find rooms in the Hilton). That report is here: Given the strong interest, there is talk about doing another program at Midwinter. It’s important to remember that whatever the issues around the access to the guidance instruction, the vocabularies are freely available to anyone (see to take a look).

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