I must apologise for the tardiness of this post, I have been suffering from Critical Technology Failure. Better late than never…
Anne Welsh came to CILIP in the Thames Valley at the beginning of June to discuss RDA and what it will mean for cataloguing in the near future.
Anne started by asking if anyone had yet implemented RDA and I was a little surprised that at least two people said they had. Anne explained that RDA should provide for making the connection between things in a more flexible way, and that its aim is to be better for modern users, because it starts with the ‘work’ as an ideal, of which there many more expressions, resulting in many various items. She told us we should look at Variations FRBR. For further information, here is a helpful presentation by Dr Barbara B. Tillet.
We went on to compare RDA to AACR2 in MARC. Anne explained that AACR2 is geared towards an old, flattened structure, a necessity due to the machine readable tape MARC was developed for. There is not enough room in a MARC record for the modern encoding which we need for the stepped format of FRBR. The next cataloguing systems are likely to be XML structure, as that too is more flexible. Archivists and publishers were later in implementing electronic cataloguing so did not need to conform to MARC records, now libraries do not need to either, and we are increasingly trying to catalogue things other than books, now we may have to account for DVDs, MP3s, webpages, as well as many places making a more to be more cross-collections, i.e. archives and libraries, possibly with galleries in the mix too, it will make data-sharing easier. After all, libraries are the only ones operating in MARC.
Anne herself has been busy writing a follow-up to Welsh and Batley’s Practical cataloguing. Although only published in 2012, we have since seen further drafts of RDA and the roll out of implementation. Cataloguing and decision making in a hybrid environment will be published in December to help guide us through this time of flux. For those that didn’t see it, Facet Publishing recently sent around this list by email, suggesting some further reading on the topic.