So, if you read nothing else in my post about ALA Midwinter, please take away this fact: RDA is coming. At several sessions, representatives from the Library of Congress indicated that LC is moving forward with plans to adopt RDA early in 2013. When LC adopts RDA, the other libraries in the US will fall in line behind them, so it’s time to start preparing.
On Saturday, January 21, I attended a meeting of the Copy Cataloging Interest Group, where I heard Barbara Tillett, the Chief of the LC Policy and Standards Division, speak about how LC is training their copy catalogers in RDA with an eye toward a 2013 implementation. She said much of the copy cataloger training material is focused on teaching when it is appropriate to change an AACR2 record to an RDA record, and when it is appropriate to change a master record in OCLC. LC has developed a set of RDA data elements that should always be included in their records, which they call “LC core.” Tillett said that LC will adopt RDA no sooner than January 2013, contingent upon continued progress on the recommendations the National Libraries made this spring regarding changes to RDA. LC decided to return most of the catalogers who participated in the RDA test that wrapped up at the end of 2010 to cataloging using RDA in November, 2011, so that these catalogers could work on training, documentation, and further developing the RDA code itself. LC is making its work on RDA, including its copy cataloger training materials available on their website ( http://www.loc.gov/aba/rda ) The Library of Congress has begun releasing “LC Policy Statements” that explain LC interpretations of RDA rules, and which replace the old LC Rule Interpretations that explained LC decisions on AACR2 rules. The Policy Statements are available for free with RDA Toolkit. Regarding the ongoing development of RDA, Tillett said that there will be monthly minor corrections to RDA (typos and such), with more substantive major updates to RDA issued twice per year. Tillett also spoke of the Bibliographic Framework Transition Initiative, which is working to develop a metadata schema to replace the MARC formats. This group released a background statement and general plan in November 2011. They are in the process of developing a funding proposal and of forming an advisory group with various players in the library metadata field.
On Sunday, January 22, I attended a meeting of the RDA Update Forum, and Beacher Wiggins of LC reaffirmed much of what Barbara Tillett said, but he stated more forcefully that the Library of Congress and the other national libraries are really intent on implementing RDA in 2013. However, he allowed for a little more flexibility in his timeline. He placed the date for RDA implementation in the first quarter of 2013, so anything from January 2 to March 31. Wiggins said that many of his colleagues are pushing for a January 2 date, but he said that, taking into account how deadlines can slip, he would be happy with March 31. Nevertheless, the message was clear, RDA is coming.
Also at the RDA Update Forum, I heard Linda Barnart from the Program for Cooperative Cataloging, who spoke about how the PCC is preparing for the implementation of RDA (she said the key decisions of the PCC can be found at http://www.loc.gov/catdir/pcc ). The PPC is busily developing materials related to the RDA implementation. They have developed a set of Post-RDA Test Guidelines as well as an RDA FAQ. They have been working on guidelines for what they are calling a Day One for RDA authority records, which will be a day (probably after LC adopts RDA) from which all new LC authority records created will be created according to RDA rules instead of AACR2 rules. PCC also has a Task Group on Hybrid Bibliographic Records which has prepared guidelines for harmonizing RDA bib records with pre-RDA bib records. I know I’m sounding like a broken record here, but with all of this infrastructure being built up, make no mistake-RDA is coming.
On to other topics, I also attended an interesting session of the Next Generation Catalog Interest Group, where I heard Jane Burke of Serials Solutions speak about a new product they are developing which is designed to replace the back-end ILS. Burke said that Serials Solutions is looking to separate the discovery aspect of catalogs from their management aspect. Summon, as we already know, is their discovery solution, which is designed to allow for a single search with a unified result set. Serials Solutions is working to develop a webscale management solution which they are calling Intota. Intota is an example of “software as a service” (Burke recommended looking it up in Wikipedia, which I did). Burke argued that the old ILS model was riddled with redundancy, with every library cataloging the same things and everybody doing duplicate data entry (from suppliers to the ILS to campus systems). Intota would be a cloud based service that would provide linked data and networked authority control (changes to LC authority headings would be changed for all member libraries, without the need to make local changes). It seems like an interesting model, and I look forward to hearing more about it.
I attended a number of other meetings, which will be of limited interest to a general audience, but something that was pretty cool was attending my first meeting as a member of the Editorial Board of Serials Review. After almost 20 years of working with serials, it was interesting to be on the other side of the process. We discussed the journal’s move to APA from Chicago style, a new formatting guide for the articles, future topics for articles, submission patterns, etc. It was very interesting.
As usual when I got ALA, I saw several former ZSRers. I roomed with Jim Galbraith, who is still at DePaul University in Chicago. I also visited with Jennifer Roper and Emily Stambaugh, both of whom are expecting baby boys in May (small world!).