Archive for the ‘cigx’ Tag

RDA at CIG: some rough notes

I seem to have let *cough* several weeks pass since I promised to write up more of my notes from the CIG conference in Exeter. Shame on me, I’ve been short of computer time and short of time at work to post this kind of thing. To start keeping my promises, here are some fairly rough notes on all things to do with RDA that came up during the conference. Be warned, there are a lot of acronyms coming in this post! A lot of the RDA stuff came up in discussions or questions so will not be reflected in the presentations on the conference website.

First there was a fairly informal talk from Alan Poulter, the new CILIP representative on JSC. He stated that, as an academic, he is very independent and happy to raise any issues, concerns or questions that people may have. He is keen to act as a real rep by gathering questions, comments and contributions. He is aiming to set up a website, maybe a wiki, to allow people to do this more interactively. He has had very little comment so far.

The questions discussed what will happen if some libraries adopt RDA and others don’t. Alan Poulter said this was something the library community has experienced before.

There was a question “If FRBR is the question, to what extent is RDA the answer?”, which Alan Danskin (CIG Chair and BL rep on JSC) answered basically saying it’s a move in the right direction. There was a chicken-egg situation where the cataloguing rules and the encoding (MARC) need to reflect FRBR, so the decision was taken to start with the rules which will allow the rest of the necessary changes to take place. He was at pains to say that moving to RDA will not be as big a shift (in the first instance) as the shift from AACR to AACR2. Very few headings will change. In future library systems, more work can be done at the expression level  and a FRBRised future is more attainable if this effort is shared. Someone else asked why we still didn’t have separation of description/display/coding in RDA but Alan Danskin felt that RDA did manage this separation (despite the fact that we’ll initially be implementing it in MARC) and that there is mapping to MODS as well as ISBD, etc.

Alan Danskin reported on the results of CIG’s RDA in the UK survey [Powerpoint presentation available online]. 78 responses, primarily academic libraries but a mix of other types. CIG feel the survey showed a generally low level of understanding about RDA, there is quite a lot of basic work to do on awareness and understanding. Feedback from BL staff also confirms that there is a big issues understanding the FRBR model, work-expression-manifestation-item, etc. Alan said that quite a few respondents to the survey were unclear what was meant by the questions on “percentage of materials catalogued in-house” and on authority creation.

 The survey also reveals a high level of concern about how non-professional cataloguers are going to handle RDA, it needs to be made straightforward.

CIG is planning to contact those respondents who offered help with training (venues, trainers, etc). They are currently looking at LC’s training materials and tailoring them to the UK audience. They aim to encourage discussion on the CIG website, invite new members to join the RDA Task & Finish Group, which aims to plan modules, delivery options and prepare training materials. CIG is aiming to make training available at as reasonable a price as possible. They are investigating free access, not charging for content at all just venue, catering, etc. They are investigating the Open University’s Moodle online course software with a view to developing something online which would be more accessible and reduce costs.

Alan Danskin confirmed that the BL are planning to make a decision about implementation next year. Interestingly, he said the BL has money in its budget for training and that it has been discussed with management how this will affect key performance indicators, though there were comments from the audience that this certainly will not be the case in other institutions (neither budget nor flexibility in KPIs).

 If the BL decide to implement RDA, they will have local policies to deal with RDA’s options and alternative rules, etc. They will probably follow most of the LCPS but not all, so there will be BL policies which will be added to the RDA Toolkit in time (with a link icon appearing next to the relevant RDA rule).

Also on a related note, during the Standards Forum Alan Danskin was talking about various MARBI proposals and said something in what he described as an “incautious moment” about MARC being at the end of its useful life. He said some of the recent changes highlight this as you find yourself working around the format to achieve what you need to achieve. When pressed on this, he said any predictions of the death of MARC should be taken with a degree of caution but that as long as we’re using MARC then we’re not talking the same language as everyone else. We need a schema based on a set of data elements (eg ISBD or RDA elements) that could be turned into XML. When linked data was mentioned, he pointed out that there was still a lot of stuff that had no URI to enable it to become linked data. The whole issue of MARC/encoding generally was a recurrent feature of tea break discussions and general chat, in fact.

Terry Willan from Talis commented that the information supply chain with all its interdependencies is a real problem, so many libraries buy in most of their cataloguing and the international infrastructure for bibliographic information is the real nut to crack. Maybe the only way to move away from MARC is a bottom up approach, starting small scale and gradually gaining traction. However, MARC is a very severe restriction on RDA.

Alan agreed that one of the difficulties everyone has with RDA is that it needs to be backwards compatible, so for example chapters 6, 9-11 have lots of elements to describe attributes of an entity (title of work, date of birth of person) but that this information then has to also be put into a string for a heading.

Someone asked whether there might be libraries which go for a “partial” implementation of RDA. Alan actually mentioned the example of what France was describing at the EURIG seminar (a “French profile” which only adopted certain “acceptable” parts of RDA) and said that if a library is not using the core set of RDA elements, then it is not RDA. It’s not good for the re-use of records. He also alluded to the issue of hybrid records, where they have been updated to RDA to some extent so that they are neither AACR2 nor RDA. He raised the question of a heading changing to RDA, what then becomes of the AACR2 records in the database which use that heading?

In a general discussion on the final morning, there was a distinct lack of enthusiasm when the question was asked how many people had looked at RDA Toolkit for more than 30 minutes. It is perhaps confirmation of what Barbara Tillett described as a “muted response” in the UK that only Cambridge University and the British Library had taken out a subscription to the RDA Toolkit for this year. Not really surprising given the cost and uncertainty about implementation/implications during 2010-11. LSE reported that they had explored the Toolkit quite extensively during the open access period and used the opportunity to create some sample records.


CIG Conference: report to follow

This week, I spent three very enjoyable days on the Exeter University campus at the Cataloguing & Indexing Group (CIG) conference. It was an extremely interesting and useful programme with lots of great conversations and discussions. I have lots of notes to write up and things to mull over so I intend to do that in a series of blog posts.

However, I’m off on holiday for a week and so won’t have a chance to do it for a while. In the meantime, I wanted to point anyone with an interest to the conference website (presentations should appear there soon). I couldn’t livetweet in the conference room itself (no wifi signal) but there were several of us tweeting from the conference, or adding our tweets since we got back so have a look at the hashtag #cigx for more information. I’ve tried to set up a twapperkeeper archive for that hashtag, but am not sure if it’s working yet.

The high points (apart from meeting lots of lovely people and the fantastic food) were a morning spent looking at how Japanese business methods (LEAN Kaizen, Six Sigma) can be applied to technical services workflows – or actually any workflows for those of you in libraries too small to have separate departments – with examples from the experiences of University of Warwick, University of Aberdeen and the British Library. Also a programme designed to look at the “wisdom of the crowd” in assigning LCSH. There were also discussions of RDA which I’m going to come back to in a separate post, as well as retrospective cataloguing projects. There was actually such a lot of useful content that I will definitely need several posts to cover it all. So, there’s some cataloguing goodness coming to this blog very shortly. Once I’ve had my holiday.

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