Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Metadata Update #7 - RDA clarity

I finally decided to stop getting the Auto-Cat Listserv for the time being and went to the digest version of the OCLC listserv.  Wow!  This is so much better.  I got the OCLC digest this morning and all of the complaining and carrying on is essentially filtered out.  What I would like to pass along is a little bit of clarity about Day One for RDA from OCLC.  This is a direct quote from the head of the Metadta Services Department and chair of the Program for Cooperative Cataloguing (PCC), Linda Barnhard bout what Day One "means":

This means that for authority records:

·Saturday, March 30, 2013 is the last day that new AACR2 authority
records will be permitted in the LC/NACO Authority File.

·Beginning Sunday, March 31, 2013, all new authority records entering
the LC/NACO Authority File must be coded RDA.

This means that for bibliographic records:

·Beginning Sunday, March 31, 2013, all access points on bibliographic
records coded "pcc" must be RDA, even if the bibliographic description
follows AACR2.

·There is no set date for PCC institutions to begin contributing RDA
bibliographic records.  PCC continues to believe that institutions can
set their own timetable for this transition.

More information on NACO RDA training and record review will be coming
soon on PCCLIST.  As soon as catalogers are trained on NACO RDA
authority work, they may begin contributing those records to the LC/NACO
Authority File, even before March 31, 2013.  NACO training will be
general training, and will focus on the differences between AACR2 and
RDA heading and reference construction, and on the new fields that can
be added to authority records.  It will not cover specialized areas,
such as music, law, series, and complicated uniform titles such as the
Bible, Koran, etc.  Some NACO Funnel Coordinators may wish to plan
specialized training sessions in these areas to assure satisfactory
understanding and record review prior to the March 31, 2013
implementation date.

Information from the Acceptable Headings Implementation Task Groupwill
alsocontinue to be posted on PCCLIST; this group is overseeing the
changes to the authority file in  preparation for RDA, including the
marking of all headings that are currently not acceptable under RDA. 
Their website
provides a wealth of information.  The PCC Day One FAQ
has been updated to reflect this new information.

Yay Linda!  There is so much confusion about this on the listservs.  It is basically what I remembered hearing at ALA but as soon as the discussions started up, I started to doubt myself.

So, what does this mean?  I think that it means two things.  The first is that any library that works with an authority vendor needs to talk to that vendor and see what their plans are.  The second is that libraries need to focus on learning RDA as it applies to the access points.  Yes, we need to learn all of the background and theory.  We need to understand RDA as a whole.  But, I think that it also means that in our practice, we can direct our energies towards learning how to apply RDA to our access points first.  Details of description can come later.  At, yes, it is ok to mix RDA and AACR2 coding in records as long as the access points are RDA.  This makes sense.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Metadata Update #6 - The Current Buzz

There's been so much buzz on the listservs for the last two to three weeks that it has been hard for me to keep up with it all and for me to find something that might be useful to share with everyone.

So, why don't I talk a bit about what the buzz has all been about?  It seems that the announcement of day one for the implementation of RDA as March 13th 2013 has started a lot of controversy.  It is almost as though people thought that RDA would go away and it doesn't appear to be.  Now there is a lot of "freaking out".  I haven't been able to read all of what people have written on the issue.  In fact, I think that I might have read about a 10th of it but I feel that it's enough for me to understand what all the buzz is about.  Here is my summary:

1)  A lot of people don't like RDA for a variety of reasons and don't want to have to learn or use it.
2)  There seems to be a lot of confusion about what RDA implementation means.
3)  Many people distrust LC, OCLC, and cataloguing vendors.  They feel that RDA and the RDA Toolkit are somehow tools for taking the power and ability to catalogue out of the hands of the library.  They don't like how the RDA test was conducted and they don't like it that a small group of people are pushing their agenda (whatever that is) in the process of promoting RDA.
4)  There is a sense of paranoia in terms of RDA signaling the end of cataloging positions and traditional libraries.

Just to get a sense of the discussion, here's a little snippet from one discussion:

I do not think that ???? gets what the "nightmare" is around him. Just take a look at unemployment and lack of jobs.

Our nightmare is that in 2016 there might not be any catalogers around as we will outsource everything and accept publishers data as it is. There will be only small maintenance units in libraries to clean up tape loads that are coming in. On the other hand, our catalogs will have pictures and lots of links to Amazon, Google and others thus becoming a giant advertising source for these businesses. 

I am not going to venture if the libraries themselves will still be around not to mention OCLC, which might be replaced by a Google bibliographical network that harvests bibliographical data from all possible sources meshing it together into a multimedia show for our entertainment.

Hmm, maybe it is not a nightmare but the bright future I have been hearing from the RDA proponents. 

So, what is this all about?  I don't really know.  But, I can offer my humble opinion.  Having recently finished my MLIS through a U.S. university and also having been at ALA in January, one thing that I am hearing is that there is a lot of stress at libraries in the U.S. right now.  The economy has been bad and it is impacting on libraries.  Their services are in demand but they can't afford to run their libraries.  At the King Library in San Jose librarians have been forced to take "mandatory furloughs" which basically means that their jobs and pay have been cut back from one to two days every two weeks.  However, there are much worse situations elsewhere in San Jose, California and the U.S. in general.  Librarians are being laid off and entire branches are being closed.  This makes a lot of real stress.  So, it's no wonder that it comes out in the listservs. 

The second thing is that AACR2 has been in use for a very long time and there are many cataloguers who are very good at using it.  These cataloguers are also in the last few years of their career.  They have seen a lot of change and really understand the mistakes of the past.  There's no question that the road to developing and implementing RDA has been awkward and bumpy.  It's not surprising if cataloguers who have already been through all the bumps before aren't exactly jumping up and down to think that they'll have to end their careers with another bunch of bumps.  Actually, some of them seem hopping mad, if anything.  What's even worse is the sense that I'm reading in the listservs that the current group working on RDA is not listening to "lessons from the past".  I can understand that frustration.  Yet, it seems to be part of human nature that we, at least in part, need to work through things for ourselves and learn from our own mistakes.  In the meantime the older and more experienced stand on the sidelines and shake their heads and wonder if the human race will ever learn.

The third thing is that people are making some very good points about how the entire library world is not on the same page.  ILS vendors may not be able to support some things that RDA is trying to do.  There is a lot of legacy metadata that folks aren't quite sure what to do with.  LC and OCLC are sometimes sending different messages.  None of this is very surprising either.  RDA is new and there is bound to be a lot of confusion.  It will take a while for it to become mature and for everyone to come to the same level of understanding and agreement that currently exists with AACR2. 

So, I've just brushed off all of the worry and complaining?  I hope not.  I just wanted to put it in perspective.  I think that people are making some good points.  However, there also is a lot of negativity and panic. I'm not sure that the negative energy is helping me personally!  And, taking the time to sort through it all is certainly eating into my productivity.  I think that I might drop out of these listservs for a while.  Folks need a place to vent but it's taking up too much of my time.  I'm still going to work on the metadata updates and hope that people are finding them useful.  I am so far behind in my 23Things assignments, I’m not sure how I’m going to catch up.  It might be a project for this weekend.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Metadata Update #5 - "Legacy"

So as libraries move toward RDA implementation, there seems to be a lot of talk about the AACR2/MARC records in our catalogues already.  What do we do with them?  When do we leave them alone and when do we convert them to RDA.  One of the interesting words that I often hear people use to refer to our existing metadata is "legacy".  Those old AACR2/MARC records are our "legacy" metadata.  It's an interesting term.  It makes it sound like the existing records in our catalogues are the "inheritance" that the next generation of library workers will receive from the cataloguing community.  I like the term.  Rather than saying that MARC and AACR2-based records are bad and need to be replaced, it makes it sound like they are something of value to be passed down through time.  Given the number of "legacy" records in existence, I suspect that even though they may be worked over and remade into new formats from time to time, the core of those original records will be the cataloguing legacy of the work of cataloguers done in about the last 40 or so years. 

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Metadata Update #4: FRBR

Hi Everyone!
So, how do we get ready for RDA?  Well, some of the expert trainers recommend to start out by learning about FRBR.  Here's a link to a video on the topic.  It's a few years old but hopefully it will help to get you thinking about what FRBR is and why it is useful in libraries.

If you can't watch the video, try this Slide show (there are notes at the botton of the screen if you view the slide show in "normal" mode).
This is also a newer presentation.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Metadata Update #3 - RDA Day One Announced!

The Library of Congress announced a couple of days ago that Day One for the implementation of RDA will be March 31, 2013.  Their press release says that they expect that Library and Archives Canada will also, hopefully, have the same target date.
If you want to read more about the plan that LC has for training the remainder of their cataloguers, the information is available in this document: