FRBR and RDA disappointing (WAS: introductions, round umpteen)

Posting to RadCat

On 12/12/2013 12:54 AM, Frances, Melodie wrote:

I had hoped that RDA would be more based in practice, as in, here are our problems, here’s how we can now fix them, isn’t this exciting? Instead we are bogged down with things like ‘is this unmediated text?’ instead of ‘you need ‘xx’ to be able to view this.

Of course, I agree. I actually gave a paper a couple of weeks ago here where I talked a bit about the development of RDA and mentioned AACR3. I quoted:

The new edition of AACR is envisioned as providing the basis for improved user access to all media in an online search environment. It is being designed with a view to compatibility with other standards for resource description and retrieval and for use worldwide both by libraries and by other information agencies. The intent is to produce a new edition that will be easier and more efficient for cataloguers to use and interpret, both in a printed format and in an enhanced electronic form.”
AACR3: Resource Description and Access. Part I. Description. Background to the December 2004 Draft

I mentioned how I liked this original idea, focusing on access. But then with RDA it became:

1. The guidelines and instructions in RDA will be designed to:

  • Provide a consistent, flexible and extensible framework for both the technical and content description of all types of resources and all types of content.
  • Be compatible with internationally established principles, models, and standards.
  • Be usable primarily within the library community, but be capable of adaptation to meet the specific needs of other communities.

2. Descriptions and access points produced through the application of RDA guidelines and instructions will:

  • Enable users to find, identify, select, and obtain resources appropriate to their information needs.
  • Be compatible with those descriptions and access points devised using AACR2, and present in existing catalogues and databases.
  • Be independent of the format, medium or system used to store or communicate the data.
  • Be readily adaptable to newly-emerging database structures.

3. RDA will be developed as a resource description standard that is:

  • Optimised for use as an online tool (although a print edition will also be published).
  • Written in plain English, and able to be used in other language communities.
  • Easy and efficient to use, both as a working tool and for training purposes.

That is, the goals became quite different from AACR3, focusing on description, and access is mentioned only through the FRBR user tasks (find, identify, select, and obtain). I didn’t spend a lot of time on this in my talk but I felt it was important to point out.

Maybe I should put it online.