It has been quite some time since my last post. During that time, I have been extremely busy at work as well as dealing with private matters. Also during this time, I have been following not only the RDA listserv but also the public-id listserv and any buzz around RDA.
There are several recurring issues that I wanted to highlight from what I have been reading.
1. Do I need to take a course on RDA?
- The profession of cataloging is in a period of flux. Even if you don’t need to become a RDA expert, it is always a good idea to understand what RDA is in general. If possible, I would try to find a course that doesn’t require a registration fee. Also, I would suggest only taking only one or two courses to become familiar with RDA, unless your administrators have already made the decision to adopt RDA as a new content standard.
2. Where can I find information on RDA and is it useful information?
- There is a great deal of free information available on the web when it comes to RDA. There are webinars, PowerPoint presentations, articles, blogs, and e-forums. A Google search will bring a lot of materials. However, the first and easiest place to start is the Library of Congress. For the RDA National Test, the Library of Congress is making available their training materials, policies, and decisions. Furthermore, Dr. Barbara Tillett has given many talks on RDA that are freely available through LC’s website. You will need RealPlayer for these webcasts. One of the webcasts is also in Spanish. Another good resource the ALA Annual 2010 Wiki site. Many of the presentations from ALA Annual on RDA are freely available.
3. Is RDA a done deal?
- RDA is NOT a done deal. The decision to move forward with RDA as a new content standard will be made next April 2011 once the National Test has been completed. According to the Library of Congress: “The three libraries agreed to make a joint decision on whether or not to implement RDA, based on the results of a test of both RDA and the Web product. The goal of the test is to assure the operational, technical, and economic feasibility of RDA.” I think we also have to remember that there are still chapters missing from the RDA text. RDA is still very much an unfinished text that needs to be updated.
4. Should I adopt RDA and go through the process of selling it to my administrators?
- RDA is not a national content standard as of yet. Some of the testing libraries, like the University of Chicago, say that they will adopt RDA if the three national libraries make the decision to do so. The testing period is a perfect time to “wait and see” as well as become informed about RDA.
5. Should I buy a license for the RDA Toolkit?
- The three national libraries and their RDA National Test partners have free access to the RDA Toolkit during the testing period. This is one of the advantages to being a test library. And it should be said that one of the goals of the test is to give feedback on the Toolkit itself. If you’re not a test library, it’s good to remember that the draft is still freely available online at: http://www.rdatoolkit.org/constituencyreview. From what I have been able to tell, not many changes have been made from this draft and the RDA text that comes as part of the RDA Toolkit. Especially when many libraries have been hit with budget cuts, reading the draft online is a good alternative.
6. What about the RDA-listserv?
- There is a listserv for discussions on RDA. To subscribe, send an email to LISTSERV@LISTSERV.LAC-BAC.GC.CA with the command (paste it!): SUBSCRIBE RDA-L. I subscribed to this listserv as it first rolled out. I have to say that the discussions have not been as helpful as I would have liked. Some of the interactions remind me of AUTOCAT. Now, if this doesn’t bother you, definitely sign up. As for myself, I have found that one great place to interact about RDA thus far is the discussion currently taking place on the ALCTS e-forum. This e-forum is topic driven and deals with the concrete and day-to-day activities of technical services. For more information, go to: http://lists.ala.org/wws/info/alcts-eforum.
7. What’s it like to catalog using RDA? Does it take more time? Is it really easier?
- The answer to these and such questions will hopefully be published in April at the end of the National RDA Test. It is the object of the test to answer questions such as these in addition to seeing how easy it is to use the RDA Toolkit.
Let the record creation begin this October 1st!