OCLC-CAT Post to All Catalogers

This call to catalogers came through OCLC-Cat listserv the other day. It is an appeal to adopt certain practices on RDA and the RDA test. Though this is not an entirely new opinion about whether to adopt RDA or not, its approach is. For that reason, I have quoted it here. With that in mind, this is an informational post without my opinions.

To all catalogers,


We have found ourselves in an unenviable position of opposing the work that supposedly has been authorized by agencies representing our interests. I might compare it to a military coup d’état. I mean here the RDA “test” and its implications on the cataloging world at large. After extensive discussions on the PCC, OCLC cataloging e-mail lists with opinions from the British Library, Australia and North America, we can safely conclude that there is a broad consensus against principles of RDA and the way RDA “test”

has been imposed on the cataloging world.


Therefore, I suggest the following memorandum to be implemented by catalogers throughout the world in response to the “RDA coup d’état”:


November 2010 Memorandum Against RDA Test


We instruct the OCLC to do the following:


Immediately suspend coding the test RDA records as acceptable records

and recode them as substandard records with a code “RDA” (no PCC, LC,

etc. coding should be allowed on these records). The encoding level

for these records should be “K”, which usually triggers a full review

of the record by highly trained technical assistants or professional

catalogers. The LC records should be coded as level “7”.

The RDA test records should be treated the same way as records coded

with Spanish, French, German, etc. codes. This would allow catalogers

to create parallel records for 040 English records according to

existing and widely accepted AACR2 rules.

Under no circumstances should RDA testers be allowed to create

conflicting NAF or SAF records in LCNAF or LCSAF. This has already

created a great deal of confusion and has been universally rejected

by catalogers involved in the discussion.


We instruct agencies responsible for the RDA test to instruct its testers to follow above mentioned rules as a way to avoid workflow complications and growing confusion in libraries around the world.


We understand that the RDA test is just a test and in no way is an indicative to a future cataloging procedures and rules that would replace universally accepted AACR2 rules.


Wojciech Siemaszkiewicz

New York Public Library

Library Services Center

31-11 Thompson Ave.

Long Island City, N.Y. 11101

(917) 229-9603

e-mail: wsiemaszkiewicz@nypl.org


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