Jay Smith | 18 Jan 19:44 2013

Re: Hybrid records in RDA

Thanks to Ann Williams for asking these questions about RDA.  I'm particularly concerned that OCLC will
make illegitimate changes to transcribed fields in AACR2 records, with the results that she describes: 
that they will no longer match the records in local catalogs (at least those cataloged according to only 1
set of rules).  Further, permitting non-transcribed data elements (those where the cataloger followed
certain rules for abbreviating terms and inserting Latin "et al." and "S.l." as required) to be changed to
RDA-speak would create a higher degree of hybridization than was allowed when AACR2 headings were
imposed on older records.

My hackles instantly rise when I see an explanation beginning, "You already have hybrid records in your
catalog...."  This, unfortunately, is not a good answer to concerns about what may happen to the body of
records that follows AACR2 and seemed to fit our needs until just this second when RDA came along.

I am still waiting for a nationally accepted display standard that would give us some reason to make the
changes that RDA proposes, or other changes that may occur to us in the years to come.  There is no reason, for
example, why such a structure could not convert *on the fly* such terms as et al. and S.l. without
disturbing the underlying data.  Once we have agreed on what information we want to display, and how we
should do it, we may have a clearer idea what data to record and how to code it.

Jay Towne Smith
Senior Cataloger
San Francisco Public Library


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