Wednesday, August 12, 2009

For Catalogers: - My thoughts on RDA (Resource Description and Access) the new AACR2

American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference, Chicago July 9-July 15 - Report on Pre-conference RDA , FRBR and FRAD : Making the Connection

For catalogers and others with an interest in information organization and access RDA (Resource Description and Access) is the new set of cataloging rules/standards which will replace Anglo American Cataloging Rules AACR2. RDA is based on the FRBR (Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records) and FRAD (Functional Requirements for Authority Data) conceptual models. RDA was developed to simplify the patron’s task in finding, identifying, selecting and obtaining the resources they need in the library’s catalog.

Some perceived advantages of RDA for Cataloging:
· Although RDA is built on some of the key principles of AACR2, it has been described as a more comprehensive set of instructions and guidelines for describing all types of resources – traditional as well as digital and web based resources. Rules for cataloging digital and web based resources were not adequately covered by AACR2. For example, if cataloging Internet resources using the current AACR2 rules a cataloger would need to consult at least 3 chapters in describing this resource. RDA was developed specifically for libraries operating in a digital environment. (A comparison of AACR2 and RDA is adequately covered by Tom Delsey, editor of RDA at the ALCTS sponsored session Look before you Leap: Taking RDA for a Test Drive

· RDA is based on the FRBR conceptual model which emphasizes the relationship between a person’s work, the expression and manifestation of this work and the work’s physical copy (item). This enhances the clustering of bibliographic records to allow for better displays in library catalogs. For example, users will be able to view all the different editions, translations and physical formats of books and other resources in one macro/summary level cataloging record. OCLC provides one example of a catalog which has been FRBR-ized. Another is OCLC Fiction finder

· RDA is compatible with the MARC21 format. This compatibility is beneficial for catalogers as there will be no need to re-catalog older bibliographic or authority records. New fields have been added to the MARC format to accommodate RDA rules for description of digital and web resources: Field 336 (use to described content such as cartographic dataset, cartographic image); Field 337 (used to describe media such as microform, audio); Field 338 (used to describe Carrier type such as audio disc, microform cartridge).

· RDA was developed with input and suggestions from groups within and outside the library community. This allows for the standard to be readily adapted for use by information communities other than libraries. For example, organizations which use and support Dublin Core elements and the ONIX standard (publishing community) in creating metadata can easily adapt RDA to meet their needs.

· RDA emphasizes the rule “take what information you see on the resource you are cataloging”. This is advantageous for automating cataloging workflows. Technical Services departments in libraries can create workflows which utilize automatic machine–capture or harvesting of metadata already embedded in the resource. This is a time saver and can be viewed as more efficient as less time will be spent by catalogers on editing these machine-generated records.

· RDA is being developed as an online, web-based tool with no immediate plans for a print version. As an online product it offers the following advantages:

·The interface can be easily customized to fit specific workflows and to catalog specific types of materials. Additionally, documents with local cataloging rules, policies and procedures can be easily integrated into RDA online.

· RDA will display the current rules and guidelines and the old AACR2 rules simultaneously in a single viewing pane.

· Catalogers can add personal notes and highlight rules useful to their workflow using a personal login.

RDA has not been officially released as a paid for product. October 2009 is the schedule date for testing by different library types in the US. The distribution date for the online product is 2010.

Here is the testing timeline as described by the Library of Congress:
· Test Days 1 through 90: Test partners use this three-month period to become familiar with the content of RDA and with navigating RDA Online.
· Test Days 91 through 180: Test partners produce records in the test and share them with the US National Libraries RDA Test Steering Committee.
· Post-Test Days 1-90: The US National Libraries RDA Test Steering Committee analyzes the results of the test and prepares its report to the management of the three national libraries.
· After Post-Test Day 91: The report is shared with the US library community.
To view more information about the proposed methodology for testing RDA visit

For more information on RDA visit

For an overview of RDA with screen shots of the current version, and to view RDA in VTLS ILS system visit the following URL link to the ALCTS RDA Implementation Task Force session “Look Before You Leap: Taking RDA For a Test-Drive”

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference, Chicago July 9-July 15 - Report

I attended the annual ALA 2009 conference in Chicago July 10-July 12. The conference wiki is available at:

Here is a summary of some of the sessions I attended:

Saturday , July 11, Workflow Tools for Automating Metadata Creation and Maintenance
Many academic libraries are recognizing that digitization is a value-added way of increasing visibility of unique and special collections to local and global communities. As libraries embark on these digital projects, staffs at all levels are mindful of the costs involved and are searching for ways to maintain cost effective projects. This session provided examples of work flows in current digital projects where tools such as macros have been used to automate the creation and maintenance of data.

Saturday July 11 – Library of Congress and Web 2.0 Technologies
There was a presentation at the LC exhibit booth on how LC has successfully embraced Web 2.0 technologies by integrating collections and services in high volume social networking sites like Flickr, Twitter, FaceBook, You Tube, and Itunes The Library of Congress on iTunes U.
Sunday July 12, OCLC Update Breakfast. Streaming video of this session is available at

· OCLC announced its intention to develop a web-scale cooperative library management system which will rival competing ILS vendors such as "Innovative, Sirsi Dynix, Aleph, and VTLS. This library management system will provide tools for managing library collections through modules such as circulation and delivery, print and licensed acquisitions, and license management. These new services will complement existing OCLC services.

· OCLC has centralized its product and services support functions. Support and service calls will no longer be handled by OCLC service partners such as SOLINET. The telephone number for OCLC support is 1-800 848 5800.

· will soon be launched as the new interface or platform providing access to OCLC content such as FirstSearch, the WorldCat database, ArchiveGrid – database of over 1 million archival collections, CAMIO – a catalog of art museum and images online, and OAISTER – a union catalog of more than 19 million cords of digital resources from more than 1,000 contributors. This new interface will take the form of a single-search box, which can be branded with the library’s logo and placed anywhere on the library’s home page. This search box can be downloaded by users and added to their favorite websites. This product is available free of charge with current OCLC FirstSearch subscription. Access to the current FirstSearch interface will not be discontinued and will be available to OCLC users until 2011.

· WorldCat Local “quick start” will soon be included in subscriptions to the FirstSearch service at no additional charge. Content in WorldCat Local and the new platform can be synchronized and delivered in the same customizable search box. WorldCat Local provides content from three sources: local library resources, content available through a consortia and global content such as what is available via the WorldCat database.

· With the expansion of the FirstSearch package users will have access to CONTENTdm Quickstart –an entry level hosted version of OCLC CONTENTdm Digital Collection Management Software which allows libraries to host 3,000 digital objects free of charge on OCLC server.

· In Feb 2009 OCLC began a pilot project where cataloging members with full level authorizations can enhance WorldCat records (previously there was a limit to the number of fields libraries could edit or enhance). This experiment will end in August 2009. More information is available at

Sunday July 12 Dr. John C. Tyson Award Committee of the Black Caucus of the American Library Program
As a member of the Dr. John C. Tyson Award Committee of the Black Caucus of the American Library Association I helped organized a panel presentation titled "What do I Need to Know? Strategies for Career Growth and Promotion." This panel discussion focused on highlighting career strategies for new and mid-level librarians preparing for promotion and leadership. Three experienced librarians discussed their career path to higher management positions and outlined strategies for advancement for Millennial Librarians.

Steven J. Bell "Hills and Valleys: Moving Strategically On the Long Road of Your Library Career"
Associate University Librarian for Research and Instructional Services Temple University

Jon E. Cawthorne "Know thyself help will follow"
Interim Library Dean
San Diego State University

Virginia L. Cairns "Make the best of what you've
got: creating the opportunities you need to advance your career"
Head, Reference and Instruction Services University of Tennessee, Chattanooga

Sunday July 12 Catalog Use and Usability Studies: What Do They Show and How Should This Evidence Affect Our Decision-Making?
A new report released by OCLC on Online Catalogs what Users and Librarians want suggests that end users want the following from the library online catalog:
· direct links to online content – text and media formats
· evaluative content such as summaries/abstracts, tables of contents and excerpts
· relevant search results
· item and availability information - if the item is available and how to get it
· simple keyword search with an advanced, guided search option.
Karen Calhoun (one of the authors of the report, gave a detailed overview of the findings) in her presentation which is available is available at: