Aiming for a Robust Metadata Infrastructure

If you were one of the seven hundred or so participants of the recent ALCTS webinar, Aiming for a Robust Metadata Infrastructure for the Future, I hope that like many I’ve spoken to that you were able to multitask during the webinar. Unfortunately, I found this webinar uninformative and certainly not able to illustrate how RDA aims to be robust.

The webinar was a rehash of information already put out by the Library of Congress and various listservs, blogs, and other library information sources. If you took the time to read the final report from the RDA test, basically this had all the information in it and more than what was in the webinar. I would like to say that having this information distributed in a different medium, a webinar with PowerPoint slides, is also helpful. However, I think I was hoping for some new information or more depth into how RDA is robust and in our future given that many of the goals of the test were not met. I learned towards the end of the webinar that another webinar will be given towards the end of summary going into more detail about the test. Perhaps RDA is so robust that new information on how will be changed to meet the goals of the last test is a task that cannot be conveyed in a single webinar.

Besides the lack of information, I was concerned that many of the goals were not meet during the test. I agree that we do need change with how we approach our library data -both the content standard and how we exchange that information. However, with the changes currently underway to improve RDA and the RDA Toolkit, I wanted to know if another test would be preformed to evaluate these changes. I also was worried that by the time that these changes took place, with most likely delays along the way, that what might be robust now could certainly fizzle out in a couple of years. This latter is particularly true given how technology and users change ever so quickly.

There was also some talk about MARC and looking for an alternative. Here again, I agree that MARC doesn’t suite all of our needs for information exchange and sharing. However, we work with systems based on MARC. Is it conceivable in terms of staff, resources, time, and finances to even consider a move to different systems? Library budgets are shrinking. What happens if the alternative for MARC is released at the same time as the new and improved RDA?

From these comments, it could be considered that I highly disliked the webinar. Though there is a ring of truth to that statement, I believe that at least this webinar was able to reach a large crowd. It conveyed, perhaps not new, but current and relevant information on RDA. Did it answer any questions such as: Will there be a second test? If many of the goals were not met, then how can RDA be considered robust? Will RDA be cost effective down the line? What if our future is now and when RDA is released it is already unable to meet the needs of newer technologies and our users? I don’t believe so. But perhaps this will be addressed in the other webinar that was mentioned.

If you were unable to attend this webinar, here is the information where you can access it.

•  Webinar Recording –

You will need to have the Windows Media software on your computer to view the recording.

How to Troubleshoot a Codec Error:

The Codec acts as a patch that allows the recording, which is created with a higher version of Media Player, to play in version 7.
If you receive a Codec Error when playing the recorded file with Windows Media Player, go to the following web page and
download the G2M2 codec file for free:




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