News from the front: briefings from RDA test participants

ALA program organized by ALCTS at Midwinter Conference 2011

RDA testing has been completed. In this session, a group of test participants shared their experience in an informal panel discussion. Representatives from academic, museum, school libraries, ILS vendors and LIS faculty testers presented lively and informative discussion of their individual experiences and issues encountered during testing, as well as the insights they gained.

Beacher Wiggins, the Director for Cataloguing in the Library of Congress, gave a brief update on the status of the testing of RDA by the national libraries and other testing participants. The test just finished two weeks before the ALA midwinter conference 2011. 7000 RDA records have been created in the Library of Congress catalogue. MARC 21 was still be used to represent the data. The informal online survey to RDA testers were just closed in Jan. 6, 2011. At ALA Annual conference 2011 in New Orleans, decision will be made either RDA will be adopted, or will be adopted but at a later time, or only some fields will be adopted. No matter what the decision will be, it is for sure that mixed data from AACR2 and RDA will appear in the future.

Christopher Cronin, the Director of Metadata and Cataloguing Services in the University of Chicago Library, shared their test plan and experience. In their test plan, they decided:

  • Who would be involved in the test
  • How much staff time would be spent
  • What RDA elements should be tested

Original and copy cataloguers for a variety of formats as well as cataloguing department heads participated in the test. Christopher listed how many hours were spent on:

  • Preparing ILS
  • Creating records
  • Displaying records
  • Reviewing LC and PCC rules and local policy
  • Training staff
  • Library-wide presentation
  • Testers meetings
  • Post-test analysis

Six RDA elements were tested:

  • Other title information (RDA 2.3.4)
  • Copyright date (RDA 2.11)
  • ISSN of series (RDA 2.12.8)
  • ISSN of subseries (RDA 2.12.16)
  • Media type (RDA 3.2)
  • Source consulted (RDA 29.6)

They totally created 1283 RDA records, including 617 monographs, 598 maps, 23 serials, 19 sound recordings, etc. as well as 800 authority records and 18 Dublin core records.

What they liked about RDA:

  • 37X in authority records
  • Expression of relations
  • Getting rid of abbreviations
  • Treatment of reproductions
  • No rule of three

What they disliked about RDA:

  • Changing established headings (comparing with AACR2)
  • Copyright date in 260$c
  • 33X fields in bibliographic records (utility of this data was unrealized in MARC and their system)
  • Navigating within search result was difficult because RDA Toolkit was lack of indexing.

Christopher concluded that RDA had minimal impact on original-cataloguing as long as they followed the national standards but had large impact on copy-cataloguing because decisions had to made on whether accepting the importing RDA records as-is, whether accepting sometimes or all the time, whether correcting poor copies (coded RDA but missing core elements), and whether upgrading AACR2 records to RDA records, etc.

Christopher and his colleagues were going to continue the test and the post-test analysis. They would train cataloguers to create RDA authority records, review the survey from participating cataloguers, review created records, evaluate policy decisions and evaluate impact on authority processing.

Maritta Coppieters, the Vice President at Backstage Library Works reported their RDA test. Their cataloguers created both AACR2 records and RDA records for the same items in order to compare the results. Maritta showed her concerns from the point of a library service provider.

  • Assumption: RDA is more expensive in their business than AACR2 because
      • There are so many options, so they will have to cater for different requirements from different institutions.
      • Relaxed restrictions means more different metadatada will be input into records.
      • Upgrading AACR2 records to RDA records or not?
  • Reality: RDA will slow down cataloguing because
      • Lack of tools, examples and templates
      • Difficulty of search and organization of RDA Toolkit

Panel speakers from other participating institutes briefly shared their experience including Penny Baker, the Collections Management Librarian at Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, MA, Richark Hasenyager, Director of Library Services for the North East Independent School District, San Antonio, TX, Sylvia Hall-Ellis, Associate Professor, Library and Information Science Program, University of Denver, etc.

Basically, all the speakers showed positive attitude to RDA and agreed that testers were able to work on RDA rules, especially those with no or less cataloguing experience. The most challenging issues were RDA Toolkit was ambivalent to navigate and the RDA terminology was lack of annotation so it was hard to understand.

At the Q & A session, Beather warned the audience to be caution in thinking of converting their local records from AACR2 to RDA because OCLC has the master records.

As results from testing will not be available at this point, results did not be discussed during the panel. The working group will start to analyze the test data and will present the result at ALA Annual Conference 2011.

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2 Responses to News from the front: briefings from RDA test participants

  1. Bernhard Eversberg says:

    Test records (some 12.000 of them) can be browsed and searched (inofficially) here:

  2. Pingback: 改用RDA不是世界末日 » 编目精灵III

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