ALA TechSource Logo


curve Home spacer Publications spacer Subscribe spacer Blog spacer About  

Continuing the Conversation: RDA: Designed for Current and Future Environments

Submitted by Daniel A. Freeman on November 10, 2010 - 4:29pm

Earlier today, we held the second session of our three-part workshop, Using RDA: Moving into the Metadata Future. The session, RDA: Designed for Current and Future Environments with Chris Oliver, was a huge success--with more questions than we could answer. The following are some questions for continued discussion. Chris Oliver will be chiming in via comments--please join her.


The following resources for examples were referenced during the presentation

Library of Congress Documentation for the RDA (Resource Description and Access) Test: Examples for RDA - Compared to AACR2

Joint Steering Committee RDA Complete Examples (Bibliographic)/Revised 17 June 2010. 

Below are a few question that Chris will address in comments.

Isn't there always going to be data that is only of importance to those who catalog and manage the data and the object it is associated with? Do patrons need to access ALL DATA? Diane Hillmann suggested in chat that patrons will want their tools to be able to use it. Can you elaborate?

Can libraries that use only minimal-level cataloging make use of RDA?

What is meant by "registration record," e.g. for person?

Can you say more about records from other cultural communities? Will there be equivalents to BIBCO or Conser level records? Or cataloging using Rare Books rules?

What about the translation of regional controlled vocabulary particularly in Spanish?

Comments (10)

Hi Cindy- The slides are

Presentation slides: Would it

Presentation slides: Would it be possible for you to post your presentation slides so they can be printed in handout format?

Presentation slides -- Would

Presentation slides -- Would it be possible for you to post your presentation slides so they can be printed in handout format?

I seem to recall that a few

I seem to recall that a few folks were asking about how they might learn more about XML and RDF. I usually suggest the online tutorials available at the W3 Schools:


They have lots of tutorials for those of you wishing to learn something new.

Underlining and squiggles

Underlining and squiggles appearing on the slides during the webinar.

FYI - scribbles on the slides were not part of the content of the webinar. It wasn't me trying to emphasize a point. Perhaps one of our attendees may not have realized that their doodling was being seen by all.

Would you show RDA 300 (3xx)

Would you show RDA 300 (3xx) fields, i.e., RDA carrier, content, etc.?

Another interesting question that I didn't get a chance to address. I'll answer with an answer first for the long-term and another for the short-term.

As I mentioned, RDA is a content standard. RDA does not instruct on the encoding or display of this data. Once the data is recorded, it could then be mapped to display in different ways. How much one can do depends on the capabilities of one's public catalogue interface. For example, if the data is recorded as content type=text, media type=unmediated, carrier type=volume, this could map to show the type of resource as “Book”. Or it could be mapped to display an icon of a book. Likewise, if the data recorded were content type=moving image, media type=video, carrier type=online resource, it could map to show the type of resource as “streaming video”. Not all communities have to use the same labels. The terminology used to display the information can vary between different communities, so one community may want to take those three types and map it to display as “streaming video”, and another to display it as “streaming media.” A community could decide that only certain types or combination of types would display to the user. The types can also be mapped to a corresponding set of terminology in another language. The underlying principle is consistency in recording the data and flexibility in displaying it.

On day 1, what to do? One advantage of displaying the terminology is that we can begin to engage in a conversation with our public services colleagues about the best way to display the data in the future. During the test, I thought I heard that some libraries are displaying and some are not.

It would be very interesting to know what individual libraries are doing and why. And has anyone started to experiment with mapping various combinations of 33X fields to user-friendly displays or icons?

I think I noticed a question

I think I noticed a question during the chat about the location of the JSC website.

JSC = Joint Steering Committee for Development of RDA (they were formerly called the Joint Steering Committee for Revision of AACR)

Can libraries that use only

Can libraries that use only minimal-level cataloging make use of RDA?

In RDA, there are no "levels of description" as we find in AACR2. Instead a core set of elements have been identified. These elements are the ones that contain data about the attributes and relationships that have the highest value in fulfilling user tasks. The decision about which elements are core is based on the FRBR and FRAD analyses that demonstrate how each attribute and relationship is used to complete user tasks. Core elements are a subset of data elements and cannot support all user tasks in the same way that the full set of RDA elements can. The set of core elements defines a base level, a floor, a minimum, a level below which we should not drop because anything less will jeopardize the user’s ability to fulfill basic tasks.

Any library can choose to use the core set of elements. The core set may be slightly different from what is currently used as minimal level bibliographic information, but that uses the core element set is designed provide sufficient information so that a user can identify the work and identify and select the manifestation that they need.

What is meant by

What is meant by "registration record," e.g. for person?

The diagram I showed was created by Tom Delsey. He used the term "registration record" rather than something like "record for a person" because he was projecting to further uses for such a database structure. Thus the record for the person could be used both as the source of authority data about the creator of a work, but also possibly as a registration record for copyright, licensing, etc. Here is the url for his presentation:

I will discuss one question

I will discuss one question in each comment so that it is easier for others to participate in the thread that interests them.

What about the translation of regional controlled vocabulary particularly in Spanish?

A good question, and one that is also very important to me since I work in a bilingual country. Plans and negotiations for translations are underway, and as I understand, the plan is for the Toolkit to integrate the various languages into the one Toolkit, rather than having parallel Toolkits. I have had the chance to talk with some of the Canadian librarians involved in planning and beginning the French translation of RDA. Your question highlights a very important point - the importance of getting the controlled vocabularies translated well. The controlled vocabularies are also a very good starting point as teams begin to approach the challenging task of translation. When Diane talks about RDA vocabularies next week and the work that has been done at the open metadata registry, you will see that controlled vocabulary terms are assigned URIs and it is quite straightforward to go from the URI to the terminology in the language that is preferred. So one could display the term in English. It will be possible, once the translation work is done, to display the same term in French, German, Spanish, etc. At this point, I'm not aware whether there is a group of libraries, national libraries or other agencies beginning to plan for licensing and translating into Spanish yet.