Posting to RDA-L
J. McRee Elrod wrote:
But I do think it is fair to say that much of the feedback has not been heeded.
And one of the most important suggestions, from no less than The Library of Congress Working Group on the Future of Bibliographic Control, suggested the suspension of RDA since it doesn’t do what is needed. See: http://www.loc.gov/bibliographic-future/news/lcwg-ontherecord-jan08-final.pdf
I think they summed it up as well as anyone on p. 27-28 [pdf p. 32-33] with a few of my own comments in brackets:
“The Working Group has a number of concerns about the current direction of RDA, concerns that have been echoed by many in the field. Indeed, many of the arguments received by the Working Group for continuing RDA development unabated took the form of “We’ve gone too far to stop” or “That horse has already left the barn,” while very few asserted either improvements that RDA may bring or our need for it.
The business case for moving to RDA has not been made satisfactorily. The financial implications (both actual and opportunity) of RDA adoption and its consequent, potential impact on workflow and supporting systems may prove considerable. Meanwhile, the promised benefits of RDA-such as better accommodation of electronic materials, easier navigation, and more straightforward application-have not been discernible in the drafts seen to date. [Nor is it discernible now–JW] It is unclear how metadata created according to RDA will align with existing metadata, and how well library and related automation systems will or can handle metadata created according to the new standard. There is dissatisfaction at the apparent abandonment of the ISBD structure. There is distress over the opaqueness of the language used, over the organization of the rules, over formatting decisions (such as appearance of examples), and with perceived difficulty in navigation. Many fear that RDA will be more difficult to use and understand than is the current code, and that this, in turn, will lead to problems with education and training, in addition to increasing the likelihood that the code will not be utilized by anyone outside the library community. Finally, although RDA is being based on FRBR principles, FRBR itself is still evolving [and suspicious in its own right–JW].”
I agree completely with this. Have these issues been resolved? Of highest priority now, with the economic problems, is making the business case, which to my own knowledge, has yet to be done.
Perhaps these questions are indeed coming a bit late in the process and while that may be regrettable, for the past several years many of us have been dealing with vastly increased workloads, and I don’t see them decreasing anytime soon. Yet, it is certainly better than not raising these issues at all. Besides, there was this little matter of the economic crash which has changed a lot of assumptions we may have cherished only five years ago.
No matter what, this is not merely a theoretical argument and has to do with the future of our profession and the future of our careers. Libraries are certainly not seen as “forward-looking” by the rest of society. We are faced by many, huge problems that cannot be ignored indefinitely and will be dealt with one way or another. If we mess this up in a big way now, we may lose the credibility we still have.