Archive for the ‘international cataloguing’ 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.

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