Unless you are part of that rare and unusual breed know as catalogers, you may have missed that a minor revolution is about to occur in your library, the introduction of RDA, Resource Description and Access. Whilst I am not a cataloger, I have had to get my head around RDA from a support perspective.
The Library of Congress, Australian National Library and National Library of NZ will all adopt RDA in the first half of 2013. RDA is the next stage in the evolution of library cataloging in the western world. Although the actual changes bought about by RDA are relatively easy to implement in a library management system, the conceptual changes that form the foundation of RDA are a little more ethereal.
Rather than cataloging the item at hand and creating a separate record for each and every item, RDA sees a single work and a number of versions or instances of that work. For example, instead of a separate record for each different form of the work ‘Hamlet’ which requires a patron to scroll through many search results to find the audio book version they were looking for, a catalog that is RDA’d should return a single result with the option to then see different versions (audio, print, movie, ebook, online article etc) of the work. RDA is supposed to be more user focused.
Although AACR2 still forms the foundation, RDA should be more ‘user friendly’. Latin abbreviations are no longer used, publication details are used as they appear on the work rather than being abbreviated are examples of how records will change.
RDA is aimed at an internet connected world where many of a library’s items exist only in cyber space. Where do you stick the barcode?
There are no major changes needed in the OPAC but hopefully patrons will notice that a greater depth of information can be gleaned from search results.
Of course Koha is ‘RDA ready’. What about you?