Monday, March 19, 2012

"RDA: End of the World Postponed?" by Kevin M. Randall

Kevin Randall, an RDA proponent and the Principal Serials Cataloger at Northwestern University, provides an overview of some of the major issues surrounding Resource Description and Access in his article, "RDA: End of the World Postponed?" In the article, Randall tackles questions such as:
  • Why should we switch to RDA if the records aren't really much different from AACR2 records? Can't we just fix AACR2?
  • What's all this about FRBR, and why are we rushing into it blindly?
  • Are we putting the rules cart before the format horse?
  • We finally got continuing resources, now where did they go?
  • Have we abandoned ISBD?
  • Isn't the U.S. RDA test really just for show? Isn't implementation a foregone conclusion?
  • That was then, this is now . . . what's the future?
If you've grown weary of following all the RDA discussions on various discussion lists, this article will help catch you up on some of the current debates. As catalogers well know, cataloging rules are all too often blamed for the shortcomings of OPACs, so I want to note one particular quote that I wish all reference librarians and library administrators would read:
"... the cataloger’s work could be aided to an extreme degree by truly suitable and modern cataloging
interfaces. (For many years complaints about the difficulty and expense of cataloging have been largely misplaced. The problems have far less to do with the cataloging rules and the MARC format than they have to do with an electronic cataloging interface that after four decades still holds onto its original basic concept: read a book of cataloging rules, and apply those rules in filling out a MARC tag workform)"--P. 339.

Randall, Kevin M. "RDA: End of the World Postponed?" Serials Librarian 61, no. 3-4 (Oct. 2011): 334-345. doi:10.1080/0361526X.2011.617297

[Note: My apologies to readers and to Mr. Randall for the lateness of this posting. I had been relying on an RSS feed for information on new articles, but never received notice of this one. It wasn't until I saw a citation to the article in the NASIG Newsletter that I discovered the omission.]