Tuesday, June 14, 2011

RDA is a go (conditionally)

The Library of Congress, the National Agricultural Library, and the National Library of Medicine have issued an executive summary statement from their Executives on the Report and Recommendations of the U.S. RDA Test Coordinating Committee on the implementation of RDA—Resource Description & Access at http://www.nlm.nih.gov/tsd/cataloging/RDA_report_executive_summary.pdf

The cover statement by the executives of LC, NAL, and NLM is available at: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/tsd/cataloging/RDA_Executives_statement.pdf

The official statement is:

“We endorse the report, with the conditions articulated by the committee. Even though there are many in the library community who would like to see a single “yes” or “no” response to the question should we implement RDA, the reality is that any standard is complicated and will take time to develop. We also recognize that the library world cannot operate in a vacuum. The entire bibliographic framework will have to change along the lines recommended in the report of the Working Group on the Future of Bibliographic Control. The implementation of RDA is one important piece, but there are many others that must be dealt with simultaneously. We especially note the need to address the question of the MARC standard, suggested by many of the participants in the RDA test. As part of addressing the conditions identified, LC will have a small number of staff members who participated in the test resume applying RDA in the interim. This will allow LC to prepare for training, documentation, and other preparatory tasks related to the further development and implementation of RDA.

The conditions identified by the Test Coordinating Committee must be addressed immediately, and we believe that the Committee should continue in an oversight role to ensure that the conditions are met. We have discussed the Committee’s recommendations with the Library of Congress Working Group on the Future of Bibliographic Control. We will continue to work closely with the Working Group on the Future of Bibliographic Control to think about the overall direction of bibliographic control and the changes that are necessary to assure that libraries are in the best position to deliver twenty-first century services to users.

We believe that the long-term benefits of adopting RDA will be worth the short-term anxieties and costs. The Test Coordinating Committee quite rightly noted the economic and organizational realities that cause every librarian to ask if this is the time to make a dramatic change in cataloging. Our collective answer is that libraries must create linkages to all other information resources in this Web environment. We must begin now. Indefinite delay in implementation simply means a delay in our effective relationships with the broader information community.”