Friday, February 19, 2010

The RDA Toolkit

Last week, I attended a Webinar on RDA given by Troy Linker, Publisher of the American Library Association's digital reference materials.

I'm not going to get into a discussion of whether or not we need RDA, if it goes too far or not far enough, or even if it's too expensive. I am going to talk about how the product works. Simply put, it's very 2.0.

I understand why there are no plans to publish the "document" in print format: it's not meant to be used that way. I also understand why it has no index: because it's keyword searchable.

Everything is hyperlinked, expandable/collapsible, and you can add your own notes. The entire text of AACR2 is included in the Toolkit. If you know the number of a specific rule in AACR2 (I don't know many of them, but a lot of catalogers do), you can go to the AACR2 section, locate the rule number and click on the blue RDA button next to it to be brought to the corresonding sections in RDA.

The specifics of the Toolkit are difficult to describe. It's not actually linear; it's really a website with hyperlinks that lead to the various places a person might want to go - like the corresponding MARC tag. If you want to look only at the rules, you can hide the examples and retrieve them later. If you want to clarify how your library uses a specific rule, you can add a bookmark. You can also integrate the rules with your library's workflow, eliminating the need for a procedures manual (which many libraries don't have, but should).

There's been a lot of discussion on the AUTOCAT list about the price of the Toolkit. When it is released sometime in June 2010, there will be a free trial through August 31. Anyone who wants to use it can, but will have to register. The reason for registration is so that if you add notes and/or take advantage of the ability to add your workflow, you will not lose them when you subscribe to RDA.

The webinars (held February 8 and 9) are both available for viewing. Regardless of how you feel about RDA, I recommend viewing at least the tour (there's also discussion about the history of RDA, pricing, etc). As someone who immediately abandoned the print versions of OCLC's Bibliographic Formats and Standards and Library of Congress Subject Headings as soon as she learned about the online versions, I think I could have fun with the RDA Toolkit.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Oh, Those Notes

Yes, there is a correct order for notes, according to AACR2. Or in MARC-speak 5XX fields. Although if you look at a dozen or so bibliographic records, you probably wouldn't know what the order is.

AACR2 prescribes a specific order; it's given in the Note Area (X.7) of each section. If you think of the bibliographic record, the notes follow the same pattern. You begin with the title, then subtitle, statement of responsibility, edition, place of publication, publisher, date, extent of item, etc. Any notes having to do with the entire item come first (Scope, Language, System Requirements), then notes about the title (e.g. Source of title), subtitle, statement of responsibility, edition, place of publication, publisher, date, extent of item, etc.

However, when MARC tags were assigned to these various notes, they were not assigned in numerical order. Therefore, the Systems Requirement note is 538 and the Language note is 546 even though they are the first notes. For a videorecording, the note about Cast (Actors; 511) comes before the note about Credits (Cinematographer; 508).

In creating original bib records on OCLC, some catalogers list notes according to AACR2 rules in which case the MARC tags are in no discernable order. Other catalogers don't know about AACR2 order and create notes in numerical MARC order. When downloading a bib record from OCLC, some ILSs shuffle the MARC tags into numerical order even if that's not the way the record was created. No wonder catalogers are confused!

Recently on AUTOCAT, I learned of 2 sites (Penn State and Brigham Young University) that provide guidance for the correct order of notes. I've added them to the cataloger's pages under Sites for Catalogers on the CMRLS website. If you're one of the many people confused about note order, these sites are a great help.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Learning More About RDA

I've seen several notices about an RDA Toolkit Guided Tour so I've registered for the one to be held Tuesday, February 9 at 11:00 EST.

Just in case you haven't seen the information ...

ALA publishing is giving the same presentation we did at ALA midwinter as a Webinar for anyone interested to see a demo of the RDA Toolkit beta site. We will give the same presentation twice at different times of day in hopes of covering as may people as possible.
These are the first of what we hope to be many RDA related webinars.

RDA Toolkit: A Guided Tour!
Join Troy Linker from ALA Publishing for an introductory guided tour of the RDA Toolkit website. If you were at ALA Midwinter in Boston, you may already have taken this tour at the RDA Update Forum, the CC:DA meeting, or on the exhibit floor–but please feel free to join us again.
The webinar will be recorded and posted for anyone that is unable to participate live. Details for accessing the recorded webinar video will be emailed to registries and posted widely.
The tour includes:
• Description of the RDA Toolkit
• Overview of the RDA Toolkit contents at launch and beyond
• Tour of the RDA Toolkit interface including Search, Browse, Bookmarks, Workflows, Maps, and more
• Launch timeline
• Details of the Complimentary Open Access period
• RDA Toolkit pricing for the US
• Linking from external products to the RDA Toolkit
Join us on February 8, – 21:00-22:00 GMT 4:00pm-5pm EST 3:00pm-4pm CST 1:00pm-2pm PST
Join us on February 9, – 16:00-17:00 GMT 11:00am-12pm EST 10:00am-11am CST 8:00am-9am PST

Kind regards,
Troy Linker
Publisher, ALA Digital Reference
American Library Association