Resource Description and Access: A Proposal on the Decision to Implement a New Cataloging Standard for a Public Library
by Loretta Staal
August 12, 2010
Change is nothing new to libraries and library catalogs. As long as libraries have existed, they have been challenged with constantly evolving formats and newly emerging technologies. To keep up with and adapt to this state of constant change, a reexamination, or even a shaking up, of current practice and philosophy has to periodically take place. The description and organization of library collections has undergone major modifications throughout the history of librarianship. Codes and rules have been developed and rewritten to stay current with the goals of libraries. And central to the mission of librarianship is the focus on the user and his or her ability to access a library’s collection. Resource Description and Access (RDA) is the new cataloging standard developed to support the various digital formats in which information is delivered. RDA is also capable of supporting the emerging technologies that are yet unknown. Continue reading “On the Transistion to Resource Description and Access (RDA)”
RDA-L. (2010). Electronic mailing list retrieved June 18, 2010 from: http://www.rda-jsc.org/rdadiscuss.html
Electronic mailing lists and forums are excellent tools for getting the most up-to-date information about a topic and learning how others are dealing with some of the issues related to RDA. From the website: “RDA-L is an electronic forum for discussion of RDA. The purpose of this listserv is to facilitate informal discussion on RDA : Resource Description and Access. This listserv is an initiative of the Joint Steering Committee for Development of RDA (JSC) and is hosted by Library and Archives Canada.” This list is straight from the source and includes discussion from the major developers behind RDA. As RDA moves closer to going live, the discussions are mostly about the technological support, pricing, and learning opportunities. Subscribing to RDA-L is recommended for anyone involved in the implementation of RDA in their library.
Connors, D. (2008). A ghost in the catalog: The gradual obsolescence of the main entry. The Serials Librarian, 55(1/2), 85-97. doi: 10.1080/03615260801970790
This article debates the need for the use of main entry heading in cataloging today, especially with the transition of cataloging to Resource Description and Access (RDA) and Functional Requirements of Bibliographic Records (FRBR). To argue the point that the main entry heading is no longer necessary, the author provides a historical background of cataloging covering the last two centuries. Several notable catalogers of the past are introduced and the reader is reminded of the principles that have guided librarians and catalogs throughout history, particularly those of Charles Ammi Cutter’s. Arguments both for keeping and abandoning the main entry are given. Connors states that with the OPAC and online technology, the main entry and main entry heading have both ceased to be necessary, that these attributes were useful only for printed catalog cards. He also writes that the arguments for retaining the main entry do not hold up–that with the online environment, multiple access points for finding information achieve all of Cutter’s objectives. In the end, Connors expresses a certain amount of frustration that even though the much of the literature is beginning to prove that the main entry heading is not necessary, the new RDA guidelines still contain these as “ghosts” with the renaming of the main entry and added entries to primary and secondary access points. He warns that if real and necessary changes are not made, catalogers and metadata creators will begin to use other schemas that meet their needs. This is a topic that is very much in need of more study.