This thread has already been ably commented on by multiple people, but I'd
just like to summarize what I believe are the main points.
Mr. Randall, Mr. Arakawa and other RDA proponents believe that RDA is
accepted worldwide. They seem to feel that testing it trumps all other
considerations of bibliographic access, given their insistence on using RDA
forms of names that have already existent differentiated AACR2 name
However, we have seen even from our admittedly small European sample of one
(Mr. Moore of the British Library), that the same concerns about wilfully
ignoring existing authority records are also held in Europe. We who are
questioning the RDA test are therefore not a provincial group of cavemen,
but professional catalogers and NACO/authorities maintainers with valid
concerns about the quality of international library databases, and the
damage to international recall of items that the RDA test (and, by
extension, the adoption of RDA rules, if this is not addressed) will
create, if it is not mandated that RDA catalogers use existing authority
names when found.
As Ms. Turner has correctly pointed out: "the important thing about an
authority record is that it standardizes headings (with the help of
automation) not that it meets some platonic ideal of what a heading should
look like." By insisting on creating a platonic RDA form of a name instead
of an already existing heading, RDA testers are compromising the integrity
of the authority file, and thus not benefitting the patron in any way. It
is, as Mr. Tribby states, "irresponsible" at best. It would lead to, as Mr.
Moore asserts, ""cataloguing workflows across the world collapsing under
the strain of the additional Authority Control resources required." And,
frankly, many of the RDA name changes I've seen are not significantly
different from the AACR2 forms; thus the international cost of wilfully
ignoring existing authority records is not worth the supposed benefit of
using the name form that an individual cataloger prefers. As Mr. Creider
has mentioned, many libraries continued to use "AACR2-compatible headings"
after AACR2 was established--why then, in a TEST, can't RDA catalogers do
the same with AACR2 headings, especially in cases where the differences
I hope that the Coordinating Committee is monitoring these discussions, and
will take our concerns seriously. If they don't address this issue, I fear
that the authority file will fall into irreparable disarray, and that the
true goals of cataloging (no matter the rule set)--accuracy and
recall--will be lost.
Deborah Tomaras, NACO Coordinator
Western European Languages Team
New York Public Library
Library Services Center
31-11 Thomson Ave.
Long Island City, N.Y. 11101
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