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From: Reser, Dave <dres-dIraLgj0c3U <at> public.gmane.org>
Subject: Announcing the LC/NAL/NLM RDA Implementation decision
Newsgroups: gmane.education.libraries.autocat
Date: Tuesday 14th June 2011 19:24:01 UTC (over 7 years ago)
(Apologies for cross posting)

The Library of Congress, the National Agricultural Library, and the
National Library of Medicine are pleased to issue a statement from the
Executives of the three libraries regarding the Report and Recommendations
of the U.S. RDA Test Coordinating Committee on the implementation of
RDA-Resource Description & Access.  This statement and the Executive
Summary of the Committee's Report and Recommendations are being issued to
allow interested parties sufficient time to review prior to the upcoming
Annual Conference of the American Library Association in New Orleans, June
23 -28.  The full Report and Recommendations will be available prior the
ALA Annual Conference on the Testing Resource Description and Access Home
Page: http://www.loc.gov/bibliographic-future/rda/

An executive summary of the report is available now at: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/tsd/cataloging/RDA_report_executive_summary.pdf

The cover statement by the executives of LC, NAL, and NLM included below is
also available as a PDF file at:  http://www.nlm.nih.gov/tsd/cataloging/RDA_Executives_statement.pdf

Response of the Library of Congress, the National Agricultural Library, and
the National Library of Medicine to the RDA Test Coordinating Committee

June 13, 2011


When the Working Group on the Future of Bibliographic Control issued its
report, On the Record, on January 9, 2008, it introduced the findings with
these observations:

The future of bibliographic control will be collaborative, decentralized,
international in scope, and Web-based. Its realization will occur in
cooperation with the private sector and with the active collaboration of
library users. Data will be gathered from multiple sources; change will
happen quickly; and bibliographic control will be dynamic, not static. The
underlying technology that makes the future possible and necessary--the
World Wide Web--is now almost two decades old. Libraries must continue the
transition to this future without delay in order to retain their
significance as information providers.

Most of the recommendations in the report call for changes in the current
bibliographic control system that will move libraries toward this desirable
future.  One recommendation--3.2.5--was notable in that it called for a
suspension of work underway on RDA.  The Working Group suggested that
further development work on Resource Description and Access (RDA) be
suspended until a business case had been articulated, benefits
demonstrated, and there had been better testing of FRBR (Functional
Requirements for Bibliographic Records) as it relates to RDA.

Work on RDA had been underway for several years, so a decision to suspend
it could not be made lightly.  In March, Deanna Marcum, Associate Librarian
for Library Services at the Library of Congress, who had commissioned the
Working Group, convened her counterparts from the National Agricultural
Library and the National Library of Medicine to discuss the entire report,
but specifically asked for collaboration on the response to the
recommendation on RDA (3.2.5). After careful deliberation the three
national library executives issued a joint statement on RDA.

The three principals from the three national libraries--Deanna Marcum,
Sheldon Kotzin, and Peter Young--accorded special consideration to RDA, as
it was the only international standard that had been developed, and all
agreed that whatever else one might think about the future of bibliographic
control, it would surely be an international endeavor. They noted "RDA is
an important international initiative that has been underway and is one
that requires continued collaboration with our international partners who
have joined with the United States in a global initiative to update
bibliographic practices to make library resources more accessible and
useful to users."

The Library of Congress, the National Library of Medicine, and the National
Agricultural Library concluded that a thorough and rigorous test of RDA was
needed to answer questions about whether or not it should be further
developed and implemented. The three institutions pledged to design jointly
the test of the tool, to involve a broad spectrum of the user community in
carrying out the test, and to disseminate the results of the test widely.
The test was meant to include an articulation of the business case and a
cost analysis for retraining staff and re-engineering cataloging processes
necessitated by a new code.

They also agreed to an optimistic resolution that if there were a decision
to implement RDA, implementation would not occur before the end of 2009.
They did not fully appreciate how involved the development of a reliable
test methodology would be, and the unavoidable delays that would occur in
issuing RDA.

The RDA Test

The three libraries named staff to work on the test methodology, to carry
out the test, and to make recommendations to the agencies' executives based
on the results. Perhaps the most important decision was that the three
agreed that they would make a joint decision whether or not to adopt RDA.

On June 9, 2008, the members of the U. S. RDA Test Coordinating Committee
met for the first time. The dedication of the members of the group cannot
be adequately described (see below for " List of U.S. RDA Test Coordinating
Committee Members"). They met regularly--sometimes weekly--to develop all
of the criteria that would be used to make a final recommendation. They
enlisted twenty-six partners (including the three national libraries) that
represented many types and sizes of libraries as well as archives, book
vendors, systems developers, library schools, and consortia. They carried
out the test and analyzed the results over a period of several months.


The most challenging task was to turn the test data into a single
recommendation for the three national libraries. There was no clear, easy
answer. RDA presents complicated issues for all libraries. In the final
analysis, the RDA Test Coordinating Committee recommended that the national
libraries adopt RDA with certain conditions and that implementation will
not occur before January 1, 2013.

Statement from the Executives of the Three National Libraries

Simon Liu (NAL), Sheldon Kotzin (NLM), and Deanna Marcum met on May 24,
2011 to review the report and to reach agreement on a response. They agreed
on the great importance of the work the Coordinating Committee had
accomplished, and they expressed deep appreciation for the investment each
member made to the overall effort.

The official statement is:

"We endorse the report, with the conditions articulated by the committee.
Even though there are many in the library community who would like to see a
single "yes" or "no" response to the question should we implement RDA, the
reality is that any standard is complicated and will take time to develop.
We also recognize that the library world cannot operate in a vacuum. The
entire bibliographic framework will have to change along the lines
recommended in the report of the Working Group on the Future of
Bibliographic Control. The implementation of RDA is one important piece,
but there are many others that must be dealt with simultaneously. We
especially note the need to address the question of the MARC standard,
suggested by many of the participants in the RDA test. As part of
addressing the conditions identified, LC will have a small number of staff
members who participated in the test resume applying RDA in the interim. 
This will allow LC to prepare for training, documentation, and other
preparatory tasks related to the further development and implementation of

The conditions identified by the Test Coordinating Committee must be
addressed immediately, and we believe that the Committee should continue in
an oversight role to ensure that the conditions are met.  We have discussed
the Committee's recommendations with the Library of Congress Working Group
on the Future of Bibliographic Control. We will continue to work closely
with the Working Group on the Future of Bibliographic Control to think
about the overall direction of bibliographic control and the changes that
are necessary to assure that libraries are in the best position to deliver
twenty-first century services to users.

We believe that the long-term benefits of adopting RDA will be worth the
short-term anxieties and costs. The Test Coordinating Committee quite
rightly noted the economic and organizational realities that cause every
librarian to ask if this is the time to make a dramatic change in
cataloging. Our collective answer is that libraries must create linkages to
all other information resources in this Web environment. We must begin now.
Indefinite delay in implementation simply means a delay in our effective
relationships with the broader information community."

List of U.S. RDA Test Coordinating Committee Members:  Committee Co-chairs:
 Christopher Cole, National Agricultural  Library, Jennifer Marill,
National Library of Medicine (January 2011--), Diane Boehr,  National
Library of Medicine (Acting:  June 2010-December 2010), Dianne  McCutcheon,
National Library of Medicine (2008-May 2010), Beacher Wiggins, Library  of
Congress; Committee Members:  Barbara Bushman, National Library of
Medicine,  Michael Esman, National Agricultural Library, Judith Kuhagen,
Library of Congress  (December 2010--), Susan R. Morris, Library of
Congress, Regina Romano Reynolds,  Library of Congress, Tina Shrader,
National Agricultural Library, Barbara B. Tillett,  Library of Congress.


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