Tag Archives: RDA

Blog on RDA

The rise of more RDA resources on the web remind me that the “deadline” is fast approaching. Don’t some still use the phrase Retirement Day Approaching? The other day a colleague told me that one of her staff members would use this phrase all the time. The only problem was that this person won’t be able to retire by mid next year. The happy ending to this story is that this person has fully embraced RDA and is leading the training charge in their office. Whether you are for or against RDA, I find that there are a number of resources out there. Resource Description and Access Blog by Salman Haider is one of those new resources. Quite simply, it is a blog about RDA. In other words, it attempts to bring under one roof resources about RDA. For the moment, it links out to the RDA Toolkit, and the schedule of webinars to help you learn about and to use the RDA Toolkit. It also provides links to the LC training materials and external working groups on RDA. If you don’t know where to start, this is as good a place as any. But beware, you won’t find any “content” so to speak. There’s no link to RDA itself. Also, content in RDA land tends to be updating rather quickly; sections are being corrected and/or added….still. Make sure you check the currency of any links and the content. Also sign up for webinars now so that you can understand if these resources listed in this blog are slightly dated or just what you need.


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NETSL At Burlington, VT

The New England Library Association recently held its annual conference in cooperation with the Vermont Library Association, entitled “Navigating the New Normal”, Oct. 2-3, 2011. NETSL, the New England Technical Services Librarians, sponsored three programs this year: Mysterius The Unfathomable: RDA Cataloging at the Clark, The Miscelleny Collection at Tufts, The Future is On Demand: Just In Time and Patron Driven. The materials can be found at NELA’s page for conference materials. All of NETSL’s programs took place on Monday at 8:30, 11:30, and 1:30.

  1. “Mysterius the Unfathomable: RDA Cataloging at the Clark”, Presented by Christopher Geissler and Penny Baker.
The Clark Art Institute was one of the formal test participants of the official RDA Test held by the 3 national libraries: the Library of Congress, the National Library of Medicine, National Agricultural Library. For a complete list of the participants, see http://www.loc.gov/bibliographic-future/rda/test-partners.html. During this presentation, the presenters shared their experience of the RDA test. The presentation began with a short introduction on the “birth” of RDA, which believe it or not has an article page on Wikipedia. Then, the presenters talked about how they prepared for and completed the test. It concluded with their general impressions on RDA. The Clark began preparing early for the test. Staff came together informally to work on the draft of RDA and get a sense of what would change or not. Then, staff meet formally at a one day formal training from the Library of Congress. Training continued informally and formally. As a test partner, Clark had access to “Basecamp”, a content management system that facilitated communication between formal testers. Not all the staff participated in the test. However, those that did found that many of the surrogates sent for the test were not the type of items that the Clark would normally catalog. It was really at the end of the test where staff played with RDA records for unusual items like a salami. Yes, that’s right, a salami! The record in RDA for this salami can be seen if you click here. Unfortunately, the presenters said that the salami itself has gone missing. In short, Clark staff involved in the formal RDA test noticed several things. There were more changes to authority records than bibliographic. Results from the surveys indicated that people found that the RDA records don’t look much different from the AACR2 ones. The lack of GMD didn’t seem to bother anyone. Consequently, the Clark continues to do originally cataloging in RDA and receive feedback from Judith Kuhagen on their authority records.
  1. “The Miscellany Collection”, Presented by Alex May and Alicia Morris.
The Miscellany Collecton at Tische Library, Tufts University, is a small digital collection built in part by Alex May, a recent graduate from Simmons College. Beginning with 3 records, Alex presented how he created a popular digital collection. With skills such as xml, RDF, xslt, HTML, CSS, he was able to get a small collection on the web and indexed through Google. As the project advanced, it was an opportunity for the department at Tische Library to re-evaluate the role of technical services. This is where Alicia Morris, the head of the department, presented that technical services can no longer be a “backroom operation”. Technical services needs to gains these skills like xml, xslt, html, metadata schemas, etc. Technical services also needs to collaborate with other units in the library and in their community. Otherwise Technical Services will die. This was one of the more interesting presentations thanks to Alicia’s comments and Alex’s detailed explanation on the Miscellany Collection.
  1. “The Future is On Demand: Just-in-Time and Patron Driven”, Presented by Laura Crain.
Laura presented St. Michael’s College experience with patron driven acquisitions. The PDA program was initiated in 2008. It was found that their users prefer print rather than eBooks. Laura added that this might be different now in 2011 if a new survey would be taken. The PDA program was started with a service called MyiLibrary. Recently, Ebrary’s eBook service was added. The advantage is that eBooks are either purchased or rented depending on the model of the services and the contract negotiated. The PDA program has definitely affected collection development, which is now based on circulation statistics. The advantages are that users can find more books, there’s more space, and the process is transparent. The disadvantages are that content doesn’t always stay in the library, not collecting materials for prosperity, no sharing of eBooks and econtent. Laura explained that even though their users prefer print materials, they are increasing the number of eBooks available through MyiLibrary and Ebrary. The focus is now oriented towards what patrons what and less on what the library feels these patrons want.
The most popular program was the one on PDA. The most interesting program was the presentation by Alicia Morris. Her comments on the need to revamp technical services from a backroom operation to one that collaborates with fellow colleagues and users was a positive and welcomed message.

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New Statement from OCLC on RDA

Thanks to Mike Reynolds who posted this to the RDA listserv.

OCLC has issued the following statement (from their news of the day on Connexion Client).

” With the release of the U.S. RDA test results, OCLC is beginning a process to
determine how best to proceed in the integration of RDA practices into WorldCat.
The current OCLC policy statement on RDA cataloging, which has been in effect
since the publication of RDA in June 2010, is located here:  http://www.oclc.org/us/en/rda/policy.htm.
Later this year, OCLC will issue a discussion paper regarding the possible
future of bibliographic records with mixed practices in WorldCat. The purpose
will be to generate the widest possible discussion among OCLC members in order
to work toward a consensus about policies that will work best for the cataloging
community and for library users. With a U.S. implementation date for RDA of no
sooner than January 2013, there is time to consider what best practices might
help to carry cooperative cataloging into the long term future. In the meantime,
OCLC requests that libraries continue to abide by the policies outlined in the
current policy statement. Please do not edit master records to change them from
RDA to AACR2 or from AACR2 to RDA unless permitted under the policies set forth.”


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Kelley McGrath on RDA and MARC

Kelley recently posted on the Internet this PDF entitled “Will RDA Kill MARC” (http://pages.uoregon.edu/kelleym/KM_MWpresentation.pdf) (from ALA MidWinter 2011). This is a straightforward and easy to follow presentation on the limitations of MARC21, some of the benefits of RDA, and its shortcomings as well. Kelley gives us the added bonus of including her notes to each one of her slides. As a result, it’s easy to follow along and get a good sense of where’s she’s going. If you don’t know much about RDA or have been following along for some time, this is a good presentation to stop and read.

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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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Tom Delsy on youtube

Recently I found these 3 YouTube videos of Tom Delsy speaking about MARC21, RDA, FRBR, and FRAD. This is a presentation that Tom did in Germany in 2009. It’s a nice introduction to the connection between these in 3 parts.



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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!

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