Archive for the ‘eurig’ Tag

Getting the international view of RDA at ALA

This is the first of my blog posts reporting on my attendance at ALA Annual in Anaheim in June. I came home with a huge amount of notes, links to follow and new information. Since I got back, I’ve been to RDA meetings, given a FRBR workshop, met with the RDA group in my workplace, started work on our local training needs and had many conversations in real life and online about RDA training and implementation. My experiences at ALA have informed all of this activity. However, a big part of what I wanted to achieve by attending ALA (thanks to the John Campbell Trust conference bursary) was to share what I learned with as many people as possible, so I’m going to do this through a series of blog posts here.

I’ve grouped my notes thematically rather than writing up each session as I attended pretty much everything I could on RDA (and even then there were scheduling clashes which meant I couldn’t get to everything) and there was a certain amount of overlap. I’m also including links to handouts and further information wherever available.

I’m going to start not at the beginning but rather with the ALCTS program RDA Worldwide, because it seems an apt place to start. At ALA, I was an ‘international’ attendee, with a special registration desk, a special orientation and an international reception. It’s rare I get to feel exotic and foreign, so this was all good. In terms of RDA developments – particularly to do with training and general discussion – it can feel that much more is happening in the US than it is in the UK (or in many other parts of the world) and yet RDA is intended to operate in an international arena. This program demonstrated this and provided a welcome look beyond the American or Anglo-American cataloguing world.

Christine Frodl’s talk on the work done in German cataloguing over the last few years to move from national to international standards was quite impressive. In 2009, German cataloguing moved to using MARC21 and they see RDA as part of this internationalisation of their cataloguing practices. From the EURIG meeting in 2010, I knew that Germany was following RDA developments very closely, commenting on proposals and working on a translation. Since then, Moodle training modules have been developed in FRBR, FRAD and basic RDA cataloguing. The German translation will be one of the first non-English language versions loaded into the RDA Toolkit. The German National Library plans to implement RDA in March 2013 along with the Library of Congress and the British Library. The Deutsche Nationalbibliothek is now a JSC member, with Christine their representative, a fact which I managed to miss during her talk but which is a great move given all the work the German cataloguing community have done to contribution to the development of RDA.

Christine also spoke about the work of EURIG, the European RDA Interest Group, which held its inaugural meeting in December 2011 and plan for annual meetings. There is full information of their meetings, technical meetings, recent European survey and membership on their website. EURIG now has 30 members, including the British Library and the National Library of Scotland among the European national libraries and they are making proposals to the JSC. As RDA develops and expands internationally, it strikes me that it will be useful that the UK has representatives in this European forum as well as on the JSC.

Having seen a European perspective, we also heard from Ageo Garcia about RDA in Central and South America. Ageo is working on the crucial Spanish translation of RDA, to be called Recursos, Description, Accés to preserve the acronym. He spoke about the regular meetings and greater cooperation among Latin American countries. Despite the unity of language, the number of countries makes this a similar situation to what is happening in Europe with EURIG where the need for a formalized regular forum for discussion of international cataloguing standards becomes apparent.

Similarly, the situation in China is surprisingly fragmented, as Li Kai of the National Capital Library (and about to start library school at Syracuse University) outlined in his talk about RDA in China. There is a complete division between cataloguers working on Chinese-language material and those working on Western-language material, the books are shelved separately, catalogued according to different rules by different staff. A survey carried out this year shows a fairly low level of awareness of RDA and there are specific problems (Chinese cataloguing rules have no concept of main entry or authorized access at the moment), but there is apparently some interest in linked data, the semantic web. Work on a translation of RDA began in May, though Li Kai had some doubts about the likelihood of RDA being adopted in Chinese cataloguing.

I found the situation of New Zealand, described by Chris Todd, particularly interesting as there are some parallels with the UK situation as I see it. They are not JSC members but have always heavily relied on US and Australian cataloguing in particular, so their national practice is affected by decisions taken abroad. There is a very useful New Zealand Cataloguers’ Wiki which includes a whole section on RDA with their current activity: they are looking at the RDA proposals and commenting on them, looking at the LCPS and the various options/alternatives within RDA to decide what national policy should be. Chris stated that they have held local seminars, workshops and also have a New Zealand email list to keep cataloguers up to date with developments. There is a lack of local trainers for any future RDA training (though Barbara Tillett is planning to visit) but the National Library is committed to supporting training throughout the country.

At the recent RDA Toolkit Virtual User Group webinar, it was mentioned that other sets of “policy statements” will evetually be made available in the Toolkit as the LCPS (soon to be PCC/LC Policy statements) currently are. Given the levels of international interest in and activity on RDA demonstrated at the RDA Worldwide session, this will be extremely useful as national policy statements can be made available, fully integrated with the relevant rule (I know they’re not “rules” but it’s the most straightforward word to use).

Like most people, I imagine, I spend a lot of time thinking about RDA at the micro level: how will it affect our procedures, what decisions will we make on my library about options/alternatives. RDA Worldwide offered a chance to step back from those considerations and get a view of RDA at e macro level, which was very refreshing.

To read another write-up of this session, see Cheryl Tarsala’s blog post. The slides for all the talks (except Ageo Garcia’s) are available online too.

RDA in Europe: or the implementation domino effect

I have already briefly discussed the RDA in Europe seminar I attended last month. However, since the presentations have now been made available online, I wanted to return to add a little bit more detail to that initial report. The seminar covered a huge amount of ground so I’m just going to point to a few of the things I found most interesting or useful and then provide links to the presentations themselves for anyone interested in the full shebang. The most useful links were the ones I gave in my first post, since they link to real examples of how records may look using RDA and comparing differences between AACR2 and RDA for those (like me) who like practical examples.

For those who would like an overview of the reasons behind, history and overall development of RDA, the introductory talk by Alan Danskin (from the British Library chair of the Joint Steering Committee, JSC) is a useful starting point. One of the most interesting points he made was that RDA should be viewed as a floor rather than a ceiling – that cataloguers would be able to add to a record, provide more than is called for in RDA, as long as the record fulfils the basic requirements of RDA.

Providing a kind of bookend talk to Alan’s was Caroline Brazier, who spoke about the need for change in the governance structure that lies behind AACR2 and now RDA. Her presentation gave some helpful diagrams to explain the rather convoluted structure currently in place but this was all created when AACR2 were truly “Anglo-American” and the high level of interest demonstrated by the European countries attending the event show that there will need to be some more to become more inclusive of other countries and constituencies in future.

There is a huge amount of information about the various plans/discussions/activities going on in all the European countries with regard to RDA implementation/investigation/translation. For me, one of the most interesting aspects of the various country talks was learning what cataloguing codes, authority files and encoding systems were used in each country at the moment. The level of enthusiasm for RDA and, perhaps more significantly, for a move away from the national and towards the truly international adoption of standards was very heartening. Whatever may happen with the implementation (or otherwise) of RDA, there is a real appetite now for people to create records that are interoperable, accessible, standardised. It makes me appreciate how far we’ve already moved in this direction in the 12 years since I first started cataloguing – it’s easy to lose sight of that but it is true.

The French cataloguers seem quite sceptical about aspects of the new code and explicitly stated that they feel it is still too anglo-centric. They were particularly unhappy with what they feel is “loose, limited reference to” ISBD. Germany seems to have made the most progress towards a translation of the text of RDA (a major issue for all the European countries as well as Canada) as well as in their move towards possible implementation.

For those who mainly catalogue items in English, then the most useful talks were undoubtedly the ones about implementation in the various English-speaking countries and the overview of the US testing process.

Barbara Tillett of LC spoke about the plans of the various English-speaking countries: Australia (the only country to officialy state they will be adopting RDA), Canada (which requires a full French translation before they would be in a position to implement RDA) and the UK. I learned something new in the discussion of the UK: there had been some general beta testing planned in various UK libraries but now the BL is setting up its own test and will be making the results of this public. Barbara stated that the response in the UK to RDA has been “muted” and that the decision about implementation will not be taken on a national level but rather on an institutional level. Essentially, the BL is waiting to see what happens at LC and then everyone else in the UK is waiting to see what happens at the BL.

Beacher Wiggins presentation on the US RDA testing process is well worth reading if you have any interest in RDA. Not least because LC have created a vast amount of training material, examples, test files and documentation (linked to on my earlier post) which is publicly available and extremely useful when thinking about the practicalities of RDA. The test starts in October until the end of December. Then the test results will be analysed in the period January-March 2011, with the aim that the US national libraries will make a final decision about implementation in the period April-June 2011 – in time to announce it at the ALA Annual conference.

Possibly the most practical and useful session was the overview of the RDA Toolkit, presented by Troy Linker with Barbara Tillett of LC giving a hands-on demonstration of various features. This talk isn’t available online, sadly. For anyone who has taken out a subscription to the RDA Toolkit for this year (are there many who have? we have one here in Cambridge), here are some of the interesting features:

  • Bookmarks can be added and can be made visible in the main text of RDA (or hidden from view). They are working on sharing bookmarks (either globally or across an institutional subscription) but this is still under development.
  • There is a print function which will allow printing of whole sections of RDA if required
  • The saved search function allows the user to set up a sophisticated set of search parameters in the Advanced Search window (selecting which documents to search, including/excluding examples, searching only certain work/issuance/media/content types or specific RDA instruction numbers) and then name this as a saved search to be retrieved on another occasion (it appears in My Profile).
  • Workflows are worth investigating (Tools>Workflows). These are step-by-step processes for creating records using RDA. Users can create their own (copying and modifying an existing one to edit it if necessary) which can be shared either globally or with all users from the same institution. Good examples are the CONSER standard record workflow and all the workflows submitted by LC staff – extremely useful working documents and something I am thinking about adapting/building on as part of our local training if we end up adopting RDA in my library.
  • As well as the ability to create workflows with links to AACR2 and RDA, there is also the facility to embed links to RDA from Word documents or intranet documentation. Troy admits that the copy & paste function is not very good and makes it difficult to paste chunks of RDA into Word so the “embedding” function is meant to replace that (make of that what you will…).
  • On the RDA Toolkit home page, there is a section on Teaching & Training ( which includes links to webinars and also has a training calendar where everyone is encouraged to their own training events. More information will be added to this training area over time.

Overall it was a really enjoyable one-day seminar, in the beautiful Black Diamond (as the Royal Library building is known) and one of the best things was the opportunity to talk about cataloguing with people from all over Europe. I’m such a geek.


Recommended Daily Allowance: RDA

Please forgive the post title, there are not many puns to be had in cataloguing acronyms. This is a non-23 Things post, and so should possibly come with a health warning for anyone reading who is not a cataloguer!

This weekend I attended the seminar on RDA in Europe: making it happen! (note the chirpy exclamation mark, which pretty much sums up the atmosphere of the whole event). The seminar was organised by JSC, the Joint Steering Committee for Development of RDA and EURIG, the European RDA Interest Group, a body that does not yet officially exist but which elicits a huge amount of interest in Europe and beyond, as evidenced by attendance at Sunday’s event. I’ve been thinking a lot about RDA since the launch of RDA Toolkit and it was a good opportunity to spend some time with other people who are also thinking about it.

Most of the people speaking and attending were moving on the IFLA 2010 in Gothenburg, Sweden. Yes, that’s a note of envy you can detect. For this reason, it might take a while for the slides of the various presentations to appear online (though this has been promised) and so I’m going to wait to write up a proper summary of the event until I can link to slides.

I did want to say that it was a very interesting overview of general interest in and attitudes towards RDA in many different countries in Europe. There was also an extremely useful, detailed summary of the US national libraries’ testing of RDA which begins in October 2010 as well as another chance to look at RDA Toolkit, which has inspired me to go back in with my open-access subscription and play about with it some more.

There is a growing body of training material, example records and other RDA-related documentation online so I’ll link to some of it in lieu of any further summary from me. I’m finding this very helpful in understanding exactly what RDA may mean for our cataloguing practices and workflows.

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