This statement was distributed recently about the RDA test.
The US RDA Test Coordinating Committee is aware of the concerns being raised by some in the community regarding the US RDA testing procedures. The test is nearly three quarters finished, and is scheduled to end on Dec. 31, 2010. It is anticipated that very few new records will be created in the next few weeks as many libraries will stop original record creation once they reach the required goal of 25 original records from their usual work, and others will slow down production as the holidays approach. To do a valid test analysis it is imperative that consistent procedures be followed throughout the test period. No changes will be made to the current testing protocols.
This US RDA testing was specifically designed to determine if the US community should adopt RDA, and the US RDA Test Coordinating Committee and the test design had no preconceived ideas or agenda either for or against RDA. The test partners consist of a variety of types and sizes of libraries. If we are to truly test the new rules, we must include testing authority record creation as well as bibliographic record creation. While we recognized that there would be some temporary effects on name headings in shared databases like OCLC, the test was designed to cause minimal disruption to the cataloging community as a whole. This meant that testers were instructed not to change the 1XX field of any existing AACR2 headings in authority records, but to record the RDA form of the heading in a 7XX field.
This approach will allow the Coordinating Committee to analyze how many RDA headings are likely to be different from AACR2 headings and what that impact is in terms of cost and benefit to the users. While testers were deliberately asked to take a very literal/strict interpretation of the RDA rules when determining a full RDA form of a heading, we recognize that most AACR2 forms are compatible with RDA without adding all possible qualifying information to the heading. We also recognize that wholesale changes to existing headings are undesirable. Analyzing the authority records with 7XX fields will assist the Coordinating Committee in making recommendations to the PCC and the US community as to when existing headings will need updating if RDA were to be adopted.
After December 31, the Library of Congress, National Agricultural Library, and National Library of Medicine will not be creating new RDA bibliographic or authority records until a decision on implementation is made. The joint implementation decision is scheduled to be made no later than June 2011.
Specifically addressing the questions raised by Ms. Tomaras in her message to the Coordinating Committee on December 3:
1. The Coordinating Committee believes that RDA records should contain RDA headings. As stated above, the test policies will not be altered. Given the total number of records in a shared database like OCLC and the proportionally small number of test records being created, the Coordinating Committee believes the temporary negative effects of the test on headings will be minimal and are justified.
PCC decisions about use of headings and coding of records are made by the PCC, not by the US RDA Test Coordinating Committee. The PCC has already issued its statement about practices to follow after the test period ends. The US RDA Test Coordinating Committee was not involved in these decisions. While the US RDA Test Coordinating Committee may make recommendations to the PCC, the PCC is an independent body that may or may not accept the US RDA Test Coordinating Committee’s recommendations.
2. The purpose of the 7XX fields in authority records is two-fold. It allows the US RDA Test Coordinating Committee to identify authority records and analyze how catalogers are interpreting the RDA rules on establishment of access points. It is also a potential way of flipping headings if RDA were to be adopted (or flipping RDA headings to AACR2 if RDA were not adopted, for those RDA headings with AACR2 7XXs in authority records). Who will make the final determination as to which headings do and do not get flipped has not yet been determined. The US RDA Test Coordinating Committee recognizes the financial pressures that all libraries face, and the impact on costs to all agencies is one of the considerations the Committee will take into account in recommending whether or not to adopt RDA.
3. If RDA is not adopted, the presence of the 7XX field will allow OCLC or authority vendors to search for that form of a heading in RDA bibliographic records in databases created during the test and return those headings to the 1XX forms. The OCLC policy preserves the AACR2 form for existing authority records as the authorized form in authority records. The PCC policy for records created by PCC members after the test preserves the AACR2 form in bibliographic and authority records. Libraries using US RDA test records in their local catalogs are free to change the headings locally at any time.
An online survey to provide information to the US RDA Test Coordinating Committee from informal testers and others is available at: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/Q5968DB
RDA records created may be submitted to the Library of Congress. Contact Dave Reser (email@example.com)
Questions or comments about the US RDA test may be sent to the US RDA Test Coordinating Committee via Susan Morris at the Library of Congress (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Questions or comments about the content of RDA may be emailed to LChelp4rda@loc.gov
Questions about the RDA Toolkit may be directed to ALA Editions at http://access.rdatoolkit.org/
Additional information about the US RDA test is available at the US RDA Test Coordinating Committee’s website:http://www.loc.gov/bibliographic-future/rda/
A FAQ and further explanation of the test process is available here: http://www.loc.gov/catdir/cpso/RDAtest/admindoc9.doc