J. McRee Elrod | 15 Jun 03:57 2011
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Suggested RDA improvements

As posted to Autocat ---

Among the suggested improvements to RDA in the national libraries'
announcement are:

*Rewrite the RDA instructions in clear, unambiguous, plain English.

I suggest sending it to Michael Gorman.

*Develop full RDA record examples in MARC and other encoding schema.

MARC21 with RDA examples would be a good beginning, but a massive amount
of work for MARBI.

There is no suggestion concerning this finding by the test group:

"... the overwhelming criticism by the 65% of respondents who had
negative comments focused on the dropping of the general material
designation and its replacement by the media/carrier/content types
whose terminology is difficult to understand."

It seems to me restoring the GMD, based on Jean Riddle Weihs' survey
findings, would be a sensible suggestion.

Work could be done to create clearer carrier/content distinction in
AACR2 GMDs, perhaps with a compound GMD.  The relation of GMD to SMD
(aka unit name) could also be clarified, with more emphasis placed on
exact SMDs as opposed to their just being an alternative as in both
AACR2 and RDA.

These were said to be the advantages of RDA:

*lends itself to easy use in the changing environment in which
libraries and other information producers and users operate 

Not in its MARC incarnation.  No change so far as we can see.

*allows the relationships among entities to be expressed with few or no
 impediments

With 100/700 $4 codes or $e terms not assigned, again little change
can be seen.  Assigning them introduces a host of new problems,
including lack of consistency with legacy records.

*enables greater use and flexibility in the digital environment

We find crosswalks from RDA MARC to be more difficult than crosswalks
from AACR2 MARC.

*better describes formats beyond printed monographs and serials

Not true.  Kits, large print, and equipment are easier to catalogue in
AACR2 than RDA.  Apart from those long DVD statements of
responsibility moving (in test records I saw) from 245/$c to 508 (a
major improvement), little difference was noted for other genre, apart
from the greatly missed GMD.  Moving DVD from 538 to 300 is possible
in AACR2 as well.

*enables the descriptive metadata created to be used in a linked data world

Not yet.  We are still in MARC.  Substitution of links to data, as
opposed to the textual data (e.g., authority 001s in access points) is
as possible with AACR2 MARC as with RDA MARC.  This practice dates
back to 1979 at least.

*supports labeling of data elements for ease of data sharing, within and 
 beyond the library community 

Why label?  An unlabeled ISBD display is the best possible OPAC
display.  Cf. Yee.  The exchange of data as an ISBD record makes
element identification clear.

*is non- or less Anglo-centric

Again, not true.  The substitution of long English phrases for ISBD
abbreviations is very Anglo centric, and rejected by our European and
Asian clients.  Some catalogues have no one "language of the
catalogue".  RDA is much more parochial than AACR2.

*allows existing metadata to be readily re-used

Allowing captured data to be used without enhancement, e,g,, typos not
noted in situ, place of publication jurisdiction not suppled after
city where lacking, and non standardization of capitalization in
transcription, are too high prices to pay for harvesting data.  Using
harvested data requires none of these sacrifices.  It is as easier to
supply typo corrrections and missing jurisdictions in situ than to
create notes; automated means exist to lower case data in all upper
case.

   __       __   J. McRee (Mac) Elrod (mac@...)
  {__  |   /     Special Libraries Cataloguing   HTTP://www.slc.bc.ca/
  ___} |__ \__________________________________________________________

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Gmane