Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Re: LC's plans

Posting to RDA-L concerning "Transforming our Bibliographic Framework"

On 05/24/2011 01:27 AM, J. McRee Elrod wrote:
So it would seem both RDA implementation and MARC21 replacement is anticipated, and cataloguing as we know it will change dramatically, if not cease.
I don't know if this really anticipates RDA implementation, but it seems as if MARC's days are really numbered. Quote:
"Spontaneous comments from participants in the US RDA Test show that a broad cross-section of the community feels budgetary pressures but nevertheless considers it necessary to replace MARC 21 in order to reap the full benefit of new and emerging content standards. The Library now seeks to evaluate how its resources for the creation and exchange of metadata are currently being used and how they should be directed in an era of diminishing budgets and heightened expectations in the broader library community."
Once again, this can happen in a huge variety of ways and it can take place in gradual steps, one step can be getting rid of ISO2709 format, which absolutely must happen before much of anything else can change. This should have happened long ago. Once that is done, replacing MARC *could* be almost as painless as when catalogs changed from MARC-8 to UTF encoding where most catalogers never even noticed it!

There was that report Library of Congress study of the North American MARC records marketplace that demonstrated many problems, but still that MARC records were in much demand, that is, by libraries.

Basically however, I think this shows that decision time is approaching. It seems that a serious business case finally is being undertaken for/against the costs and benefits of RDA, plus they seem to be reconsidering the practice of cataloging as we have known it. Certainly our current techniques and methods must change in answer to the changes in the information environment, and although I have met several administrators who initially wanted to just simply get rid of "manual metadata creation" they all changed their opinions to the point that they believed manual methods are still necessary. How important they considered the standards to be were another matter.

One point I applaud in this statement is the realization that the library catalog can no longer be considered outside the rest of the metadata environment, but as part of it and therefore, it must change in ways that will make it more widely useful. The questions I ask are: what kind of standards will we follow and how rigorously will they be enforced?

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