Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Re: [RDA-L] Announcing the LC/NAL/NLM RDA Implementation decision

On 15/06/2011 07:56, Bernhard Eversberg wrote:
<snip>
The report does indeed answer the question if the test records are a worthwhile improvement  over AACR2 records:

"Business case—  [on page 4]
The test revealed that there is little discernible immediate benefit in implementing RDA alone. The adoption of RDA will not result in significant cost savings in metadata creation. There will be inevitable and significant costs in training. Immediate economic benefit, however, cannot be the sole determining factor in the RDA business case. It must be determined if there are significant future enhancements to the metadata environment made possible by RDA and if those benefits, long term, outweigh implementation costs. The recommendations are framed to make this determination prior to implementation."

And this, I think, is maybe the most important section in the report.RDA *might* provide significant enhancements over AACR2, but the test records don't show that.
</snip>

Very astute! This is indeed the most important part. It seems as if this is the first real mention--that I have seen anyway--of a business case for RDA. And it appears they can't make one. To be honest, this should have been among the first tasks before undertaking anything real. The business world understands how this develops: if you devote massive amounts of work and resources to a project, and it is decided only later that it's not worth it, it becomes far more difficult to drop the project because the decision becomes politically charged: it means that devoting the work and resources were not justified in the first place, and that is *very difficult* to admit. This is how I read http://www.nlm.nih.gov/tsd/cataloging/RDA_Executives_statement.pdf [p. 1]: "Work on RDA had been underway for several years, so a decision to suspend it could not be made lightly." Therefore, if work had not been going on, it would have been easier to suspend it. That's why you do the business case as early as possible in a project.

The subtext to this report is also the lack of any alternatives mentioned, therefore the library community is seen as being left with the choice of accepting RDA, no matter what the outcomes may be, or staying still, spinning our wheels in the mud of the past. Are those two choices really all we have? There absolutely must be another alternative!

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