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From Kevin Randall:

>Personally, I feel that the likely outcome next spring will be that RDA *will* be implemented.  It's not that I think the test is a sham

I fully agree with Kevin on half of that. As to the other half, I think it's open to interpretation and may well turn on one's definition of "sham."

>The value in the RDA test will be in finding out how well the guidelines work, how well the new records play with others, what options are better than others, and just overall what would be the best way to implement RDA.

This I agree with entirely, the same with this:

>Once we know what's what, the authority records and related bib records can be updated as necessary.

As to this, however:

>There has been a lot of publicity about the RDA test, so most library cataloging units should be aware of it and take whatever steps they need to accomodate it.

I think some of us may be amazed at how many players in the cataloging world will be completely unprepared for RDA and how many will claim that they were not made aware of what changes were coming or when. It's not that there hasn't been plenty of notice, but I think pariticipants on this and other cataloging-oriented lists may overestimate how broad participation is in the discussions undertaken online. I hope I'm wrong, but I still remember the introduction of subfield v in 6XX fields. Many catalogers were surprised by it while those who had worked on the proposal rightly pointed out that they had tried to publicize what they were proposing and repeatedly asked for input. RDA is a much bigger issue, but that hardly means that everybody who should be paying attention is, or even has the time or inclination to do so. We could debate whether this disinclination is a failing in any and all catalogers who may possess it, but I think it does exist.

>And I fear that implementation will be horribly costly

I think this is an under-appreciated problem that will be addressed loudly when implementation occurs.

>This may be an inconvenience for a while.

I think this is a vast understatement, but inevitable with any meaningful change.

>But at a time when some people are decrying the lack of research into FRBR and other things, it would be a shame not to take this opportunity to honestly test out RDA.

It's not the FRBR part of RDA for which I have the most serious misgivings. It's the installation of what should be display issues as rules concerning how information is presented in records and the failure to make the rules clearer and easier to understand. Until that happens we will continue to have problems presenting our metadata and making it play well with the rest of the world.


Mike Tribby
Senior Cataloger
Quality Books Inc.
The Best of America's Independent Presses

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