Resource Description and Access is going to be a web-based tool, and from the demo I saw a few months ago it could be really good. Unfortunately right now rdaonline.org is only giving away enormous PDFs of print versions. This simple HTML version of RDA has the whole thing in a much easier to read format. You can search the rules for words like manifestation. This is a really good, and fast, hack.
The full draft of Resource Description and Access (RDA), the new set of cataloguing rules, is available. You can download the whole thing from the “constituency review” page. I don’t know how long RDA is … but the table of contents is 74 pages. You might also want to look at thing like RDA Core Elements and FRBR User Tasks (57 KB PDF),
I’m going to look at some of this but let’s be honest, I’m not going to read every word of it. I’m interested in the FRBR side of it, especially how relationships are identified and recorded, but I’m not a cataloguer or a masochist. To keep up with what the cataloguers are saying you’ll want to read Planet Cataloguing, which will soon be abuzz with RDA chatter.
Owen Stephens’s FRBRing RDA leads out of a lengthy discussion on the RDA-L mailing list possibly beginning with Kevin Randall’s FRBR User Tasks (was Alternatirves to AACR2/MARC21?). The thread breaks partway, so you’ll have to poke around the archives to find it all.
Secondly, I think FRBR and FRAD are OK, but I’m not sure they are really robust enough to base real world resource description on them. There are inconsistencies between FRBR and FRAD – see the discussion about ‘people’ from the DC-RDA listserv earlier this year. I think some of the things FRBR says about what counts as a separate Work are odd – e.g. two films of the same play are different works. I realise that others would disagree with me on this – which is fine, but seems an inevitable consequence of trying to apply a conceptual model in this way. Others have expressed their issues with the FRBR model in more detail and more eloquently than me – notably the work that Martha Yee has done.
Diane Hillmann’s slides from her talk Facing Forward: The Challenges Facing Cataloging and Catalogers (2.4 MB PPT) are good reading. She covers what’s going on with RDA and how all this stuff (including FRBR) will work for the Semantic Web. Lots of examples and illustrations help to make it clear. It’ll be quite a change when cataloguers don’t enter a name, they enter a URI.
I didn’t get to the pre-IFLA conference about Resource Description and Access, but now I can see what I missed: the presentations are up on the Joint Steering Committee web site.
Gordon Dunsire’s RDA Vocabularies and Concepts (114 KB PDF) will be of particular interest to people interested in RDF, the Semantic Web, SKOS, etc. Have a look.
My colleague Tim Knight posted his impressions of the event on the York University cataloguers’ blog after he got back.
As seen on Cataloging Futures, two Library of Congress webcasts of Barbara Tillett (who works there, she’s chief of the Cataloging Policy and Support Office) talking about Resource Description and Access:
- Resource Description and Access: Background / Overview (67 minutes, recorded 14 May 2008): “RDA (Resource Description and Access), the next generation cataloging code designed for the digital environment, is under development. This presentation provides background on its development and a general overview of the conceptual models, international principles, and structure of this new code.”
- Cataloging Principles and RDA: Resource Description and Access (49 minutes, recorded 10 June 2008): “The second in a series on RDA: Resource Description and Access, the next generation cataloging code designed for the digital environment. This presentation deals with the cataloging principles that have influenced the development of RDA; the challenges they present to the international sharing of bibliographic and authority data; and the challenges they present to the developers of RDA.”
Worth following LC webcasts aimed at librarians and archivists. Tim “Mr. LibraryThing” Spalding, the Zotero dudes, Erik Hatcher of Solr renown, David Weinberger, Jennifer Bowen, Deanna Marcum, Karen Coyle, hey, even my former library school dean Brian Cantwell Smith, they’re all there.
Now time for a bit of geekery so I keep up some Planet Code4Lib cred.
I’d rather listen to these talks than watch them, so I’ll do what I did with the WoGroFuBiCo webcast: use a couple of Unix programs to convert a RealAudio video to MP3. Here’s what I’ll do to listen to the Zotero talk with Dan Cohen and Trevor Owens:
First, I’ll look in the launch in a new window link for the
video src link:
rtsp://rmserv1.loc.gov/avloc03/070611ssc1330.rm URL. Those
rtsp links are what I want. They may be linked directly on the page.
Next, run the streaming video through mplayer and strip out the audio and save it to a WAV file, then convert that to a low-fidelity MP3:
$ mplayer rtsp://rmserv1.loc.gov/avloc03/070611ssc1330.rm \ -ao pcm:file=zotero.wav $ lame -b 32 zotero.wav zotero.mp3
If you have
lame you should be able to do the same, but getting them installed is up to you, I’m afraid.
You’ll recall that Resource Description and Access (RDA) is the new set of cataloguing rules that’s being worked on right at this moment and is meant to replace the Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules which, if you live in an English-speaking country or possibly even if you don’t, your library uses as the guide for what to write out about a book or CD or map when it’s making a listing for its catalogue. If you’re in the cataloguing world, you know what a big deal this is, and there’s a lot of debate about what’s going on. If you’re not, well, the rest of this won’t make lot of sense. I’m posting an entry about this because FRBR is fundamental to RDA, so RDA is of interest to the FRBR world.
Tuesday of last week — I know that’s a while ago but I told you I had some catching up to do — Marjorie Bloss (RDA project manager) sent out e-mail: Full Draft of RDA Delayed:
The Co-Publishers of RDA Online (the American Library Association, the Canadian Library Association, and the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals) have reached the conclusion that further time is required to complete the development of the new software that will be used for distributing the full draft of RDA for constituency review.
The full draft was originally scheduled for release on August 4, 2008. Instead, it will now be issued in October 2008. The three month time period allocated for comments on the full draft is unchanged, and in this new schedule will extend from October into January 2009. More specific dates for RDA’s final release will be forthcoming shortly.
Members of the Committee of Principals (CoP) and the Joint Steering Committee for Development of RDA (JSC) agree that the importance of distributing RDA content in a well-developed and tested version of the new software is such that a two-month delay is justified. They concluded that this extension is worthwhile given the ultimate value of the exceptional effort that is going into RDA and feel that the review by constituencies will be enhanced as a result.
All right, so it’s going to be delayed a bit. Not unexpected, perhaps. It’s a huge project. There was discussion of this on the RDA-L mailing list and elsewhere, but I’ll just point out some dependably good commentary and insight from Karen Coyle, who posted RDA Update at ALA and talks about the online RDA service, where instead of reading a book to see what to do a cataloguer can use a web-based system:
The good news is that ALA hired the smartest woman in the world, Nannette Naught, to create the online system and she has actually taken RDA, as we have seen it in its paper-ish form, and turned it into a huge complex of entities and relationships with their related instructions, scope notes and examples. It will be possible to create customized views and workflows within the system, and even add instructions relating to your library. (Since I can’t see the purpose of each library doing this, I’m wondering if there won’t be a market for customizing that ALA can respond to.)
The bad news is that this online subscription service will be the only way to access RDA….
I think the RDA product looks great, and I intend to spend much time with it during the review period — in part because that is probably the last time I will be able to use it. I will be one of the many people who are interested in library data, even working with library data, but because I am not in a traditional institution I will not have access to the cataloging standard. I don’t mind that I won’t have access to the nifty tool designed for catalogers — I don’t need that. I do need to know what the rules are, however, so that I can continue to help people interpret library data.
I work in a library, so I’ll probably have access to the online RDA system, depending on how the subscription model goes and if the cataloguing department gives me an account. It’s understandable that the online service will cost money, but it’s too bad it can’t be provided for free, subsidized by some national libraries or an eccentric millionaire. For-pay and proprietary standards seem old-fashioned to me. If RDA is good, and everyone has access to it, the bibliographic universe would benefit. If the FRBR and FRAD implementations are useful, the FRBR world would have something to build around.
I’m not a cataloguer, but I’m a library geek. A customizable online cataloguing system sounds really interesting. Regardless of what RDA is like, if a cataloguing system can be integrated with local tools and workflows, and if this was tied into a standards-based “discovery layer” or “next-generation catalogue” (as the current lingo goes) then we’d be getting into something really intriguing, with all parts of the online library environment fitting together. I don’t have a vision for what this would look like, but we can see what the online RDA service looks like and have a think about it.
My net connection at home has been b0rked so my regular posting habits were interrupted. I’ve fallen behind but will catch up as I can.
The anonymous Scribe posted FRBR and FRAD and RDA, Oh My last Thursday, which was my introduction to some recent discussion I’d missed. Seems that FRBR and FRAD define the Person entity differently. Here’s what they say. First, from FRBR 4.6.1 Attributes of a Person :
“A person may be known by more than one name, or by more than one form of the same name. A bibliographic agency normally selects one of those names as the uniform heading for purposes of consistency in naming and referencing the person. The other names or forms of name may be treated as variant names for the person. In some cases (e.g., in the case of a person who writes under more than one pseudonym, or a person who writes both in an official capacity and as an individual) the bibliographic agency may establish more than one uniform heading for the person.”
And then from FRAD, 3.4 Entity Definitions:
An individual or a persona established or adopted by an individual or group. [FRBR, modified]
Includes real individuals.
Includes personas established or adopted by an individual through the use of more than one name (e.g., the individual’s real name and/or one or more pseudonyms).
Includes personas established or adopted jointly by two or more individuals (e.g., Ellery Queen — joint pseudonym of Frederic Dannay and Manfred B. Lee).
Includes personas established or adopted by a group (e.g., Betty Crocker).
As smarter people than me said on the listserv, if you read these closely, with an eye towards personas (think Mark Twain for Samuel Clemens), you will quickly see that these two standards (which came out of the same institution!) are not similar, and deal with the idea of personas quite differently.
The issue, then, is…RDA is only taking its person definitions from FRAD. For me, this is just another signal that RDA, which is kind of supposed to be based on FRBR, is falling farther and farther away from FRBR, while all the regular librarians out there are still trying to wrap their heads around FRBR in a vain attempt to understanding how RDA will work when it comes out. How gratifying it will be when RDA comes out and all the people who thought they understood what was coming, don’t.
I’m not on that mailing list (though I will be) so I missed it. But I can catch up by browsing the archives of the DC-RDA mailing list. Diane Hillmann’s New RDA Vocabularies available (plus other info) is the first in the thread. Here’s a quote from one of Karen Coyle’s follow-ups:
In libraries we have the case where the *person* element in FRBR is not a real person (I had this as a long discussion on another list), it’s “the preferred name of some entity that uses a form of personal name in its authorship role.” If a dog ever writes a book and calls himself Dewey W. Dog, he will be a FRBR person. Already today, two people writing a book under one name are a FRBR person for the purposes of library metadata, and one person writing under a variety of different names is different persons. Which is why it will be hard to connect library data to, for example, other data using FOAF. Even where the names and email addresses are the same, they aren’t really describing the same thing. This is something I worry about as we contemplate setting library loose on the Web.
An IFLA satellite meeting on RDA is happening on Friday 8 August 2008, in the Château Laurier in Quebec City, one of Canada’s finest hotels. If you’re in town early for the 2008 conference of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions and you want to learn more about where RDA is at, check it out. FRBR will be discussed!
I won’t be there, but I’ll be at the conference proper.
- Outcomes of the Meeting of the Joint Steering Committee for the Development of RDA, 13-22 April 2008. And I thought my meeting Tuesday afternoon was long! Among other things: “The ALA response to the December 2007 draft suggested refinements to the existing organization of RDA. One proposal was that there be a chapter on each of the FRBR Group 1 entities in this order: work, expression, manifestation, and item. The JSC decided to retain the existing organization based on FRBR user tasks.” And: “The JSC will meet from November 9-18 in Ottawa, Canada. At this meeting, the JSC will finalize the text for the first release of RDA.” I haven’t been keeping up with the draft; I’ll wait until November. Those JSC people must be damned busy. I bet they dream about RDA.
- Joint Statement of the Library of Congress, the National Library of Medicine, and the National Agricultural Library on Resource Description and Access (51 KB PDF), with introduction by Deanna Marcum of the Library of Congress, in response to the WoGroFuBiCo report. As they said on The Dead Dog Café Comedy Hour, “Stay calm. Be brave. Wait for the signs.”
- Jenn Riley’s LC Statement on RDA from last week is one of numerous comments on it on blogs.