Professional Development

In the '2008 NCLA RTSS' Category...

NCLA RTSS Spring Workshop

Thursday, May 29, 2008 1:49 pm

Since Leslie has already done such a good job of summarizing the keynote address of the RTSS Spring Workshop, I will discuss the next most useful session I attended, “Next Generation Cataloging Standards: RDA + FRBR,” presented by Erin Stalberg, Head of Metadata and Cataloging at North Carolina State University.

RDA, or Resource Description and Access, is the new code being developed as a successor to AACR2. Work began in 2004 on AACR3 with the intension of making the rules more flexible and comprehensive, yet the group working on it soon found that the changes needed were too sweeping to be accommodated in an AACR3, and thus RDA was born. RDA is a content standard, not an encoding standard, and it is intended to be independent of MARC, but compatible with the MARC format.

RDA is to be a new standard for resource description and access designed for the digital world. It is designed to cover all types of resources. Although it is being developed for use in libraries, it is intended to be applicable anywhere. And the code is designed to be compliant with FRBR (Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records, a conceptual model for bibliographic description, not a set of rules).

The Joint Steering Committee for Development of RDA (JSC) is the group responsible for developing the new code, and it includes international representation, although it is heavily represented by the English speaking world (US, UK, Australia, Canada, etc.). The completed version of RDA is expected August 2008, but it is being vetted by a large number of cataloging groups, committees and interest groups in ALA and other organizations.

Stalberg outlined some of the areas of description that will change under RDA (punctuation, where titles are derived from, use of abbreviations, etc.), but I won’t bore the non-catalogers with that info, particularly as the code has not yet been adopted.

The JSC is committed to guaranteeing that RDA-produced records will be compatible with AACR2-produced records, which will thankfully save us from having to retrospectively re-catalog our entire collection. However, this also results in the criticism that if AACR2 records are compatible with RDA records, does RDA really go far enough in re-vamping the catalog code. That is, isn’t RDA then effectively AACR3? Other criticisms include that RDA is too complicated, too confusing and too redundant, and that the code still has too much emphasis on human creation and manipulation of records, not enough on computer-to-computer interchange.

The real takeaway for me from this session was that, as a practical matter, RDA is a long way from affecting actual cataloging practice in libraries. Not only must RDA be approved by the JSC and a huge number of cataloging interest groups in the US and abroad, the MARC format will have to be updated to accommodate RDA, bibliographic utilities (such as OCLC) will have to accommodate a revised MARC format, ILS systems will have to be revised to work with new RDA-compliant records, and catalogers will have to be trained in working with the new rules and attendant format changes. Optimistically, we’re looking at several years (if not longer) before records cataloged according to RDA are in use.

NCLA RTSS: UNC System Pilot Institutional Repository

Wednesday, May 28, 2008 11:16 am

Following Dr. Griffith’s keynote address, summarized by Leslie, I attended the concurrent session on the UNC System Pilot Institutional Repository (IR), which UNC-Greensboro hosts for Appalachian State University, East Carolina University, UNC-G, UNC-Pembroke, and UNC-Wilmington. Presenters were Eleanor Cook (ASU), Stephen Dew (UNC-G), Adina Riggins (UNC-W), and Rob Wolf (UNC-Pembroke). Their discussion included a history of the IR’s development, content and collection policies, copyright concerns, and marketing strategies. After the initial formation in 2006 of a pilot group to create a consortium IR, progress has continued at an expeditious pace. By the spring of 2007, according to Rob Wolf, the group was making content decisions and establishing a timetable. They decided to exclude pre-prints, unfinished works, and data sets, but otherwise to include virtually anything and to rely on policing themselves rather than attempting to anticipate all possible content quandaries. The group considered various platforms, including Digital Commons, EPrints, Fedora, and Content DM, but decided to develop a UNC-G homegrown creation because other products were not set up for a shared IR and were so costly. The homegrown version is fully customizable. Later in 2007 the group met to review content, file types, basic policy guidelines, and metadata standards. They decided on the inclusion of ETDs, Dublin Core metadata, and standard file types for greater accessibility. ETDs are recommended as a “good way to seed your IR,” but they reside in a separate module in order not to “clutter” the search results. Currently, ASU is testing the administrative module, adding elements from an extant faculty publications database, and launching publicity plans to inform faculty of copyright issues. ECU currently has its own IR, “ScholarShip,” but is committed to the joint IR on some level. UNC-G is creating the public module and adding records to the administrative module. UNC-Pembroke plans to market the IR to faculty in the fall, and is testing the administrative module. UNC-W has formed an IR committee for marketing strategies this fall, and is determining the status of ETDs for the IR.

Stephen Dew surveyed the marketing strategies employed in order to advance the IR cause. The Faculty Scholarly Communications Committee at UNC-G for 2007-2008 includes two librarians, eight faculty members representing each school or college, and one representative each from the Office of Research, University Counsel, and Technology Transfer, and Continual Learning. The group has sent out three ARL brochures covering “Author Rights,” “Open Access,” and “Create Change;” created an “Addendum to Publication Agreement” with a cover letter from the Provost; and held two faculty forums. The first one, “Taking Control of your Scholarship: New Trends in Copyright, Patents, and Publishing,” consisted of panelists from the Office of Technology Transfer, University Counsel, and IT; the second forum, “Open Access to Scholarship: Benefits for the Scholar, University and Society,” invited as guest speaker David Shulenburger, of the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges.

Dew has been working with library liaisons to educate them on the issues of scholarly communication. They are encouraged to read selected articles and the ARL/SPARC handouts. He has developed a six-page list of talking points to provide background for discussions with faculty, as well as a one-page IR handout for faculty explaining “how, why, and what. ” Educational meetings for liaisons have focused on specific subjects: the background to scholarly communication issues, the open access movement, author rights and publication addenda, and institutional and disciplinary repositories. In addition, potential early adopters at the University have been identified: highly published scholars, department heads, NIH grant recipients, new faculty and newly tenured faculty, other leaders and opinion-makers, as well as people deemed likely to be enthusiastic about the initiative. Liaisons obtain resumés for each department and identify articles from prospective contributors. They then conduct SHERPA/ROMEO searches for journals and publications (the site lists the permissions usually given as part of publishers’ copyright transfer agreements), contact editors or publisher for those not in SHERPA, and for each article establish what the rights are for contributing to an IR.

Also underway is the development of presentations, including demonstrations of the IR and Google Scholar, that will highlight the advantages of contributing to the IR: how it can showcase scholarship and promote higher citations and a wider readership. Other marketing strategies include IR discussions held by the Provost and Deans with the faculty, campus news articles, library newsletter articles, general campus mailings to faculty, a web page highlighting new contributions and high use articles (indicating hits for the number of times an article has been downloaded), and a blog about new developments. These strategies are well thought out and thorough, and surely will inform the approaches of our own campus-wide Scholarly Communication Committee.


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