Nobody has explained how RDA will help us embrace the brave new world of linked data.   Oh well, it seems that the train has left the station, and we'll have to do the best we can with what we have.   So I'd like to focus on the issue of flexibility when it comes to details such as capitalization and punctuation.

Adam Schiff wrote " Personally, I hope that the PCC will decide to follow the basic instruction in RDA for capitalization, which says to follow the appendix on capitalization.  Which is to continue the capitalization practices that we are now doing in AACR2.  I would not like to see libraries taking the option to follow the capitalization in the manifestation.  In particular, the RDA records created in all caps I find less easy to read and it's like shouting.  I could live with an exception for batchloaded record sets where the library cannot redo the capitalization already present in the records."

In an email, Bob Maxwell wrote " in my opinion the LCPS mischaracterizes the RDA alternative- the 1.7.1 alternative is to either follow a house manual (such as the Chicago Manual) or, IF the data are derived from a digital source (e.g. ONIX information, or cutting and pasting from a source such as Amazon), to ingest the data without revising the capitalization. Neither alternative calls for manually copying the exact capitalization from a title page, as the LCPS allows."

So, we have [at least] three options for capitalization.   I would like for PCC to define "optional" as "at the discretion of the individual cataloger."    We all have our preferences.  Why do we have to argue which preference is better when it comes to details that a user is not going to care about?

Even if PCC decides to lay down the law about capitalization and punctuation, are they going to enforce the law?   Take the final punctuation of the 300 field, as explained in NCSU's RDA documentation:

*	When a Series Area is present, the 300 field terminates with an ISBD full stop (RDA D.1.2.7)
*	The 300 field does not terminate with an ISBD full stop when followed by the Note Area because the prescribed way to begin the Note Area is to begin a new paragraph (RDA D.1.2.8)
*	The 336, 337 and 338 fields are ignored when determining if an ISBD full stop is needed
*	Use abbreviations prescribed in RDA B.7 for terms used for dimensions (e.g. "in.")
*	Metric symbols are not abbreviations; such symbols are not followed by a full stop. (e.g. "cm")

What if at least some Duke catalogers decide that while it is no big deal to have workforms appear with "pages" and "illustrations" as defaults, they aren't going to correlate the final period of the 300 field with the presence of a 4XX field.   We are used to using "cm." and we'll keep right on using "cm."   Will this act of defiance get us kicked out of PCC?   Will other PCC libraries instruct copy catalogers to be sure to check copy for compliance with this rule?

Some time ago, an administrator here at Duke asked me for some information about RDA.   Thinking about it, I boiled my opinion down to two sentences.  "RDA is a distraction from more important issues.  We should work to minimize the distraction."

I am now on the RDA Training Materials Task Group, and I am especially interested in finding materials which will allow catalogers to hit the ground running with RDA, and not spend hours scratching their heads over what option they are "supposed" to follow.   

Comments welcome, as always.   


Amy H. Turner
Monographic Cataloger and Authority Control Coordinator
Duke University Libraries
Durham, NC

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