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----- Original Message -----From: Future of Bibliographic Control 
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Sent: Thu May 01 16:08:57 2008
Subject: Letter from Deanna Marcum and Joint Statement on RDA

Re-sending: please use this version.

Please forward the letter and statement below to appropriate listservs.

May 1, 2008

Dear Colleagues,

The Working Group on the Future of Bibliographic Control submitted its
final report, On the Record, to me on January 9, 2008. I have
distributed the document to three groups within the Library of Congress
for analysis and comment. I expect to respond formally to the report in
early June.

On the Record contains more than one hundred recommendations aimed at
the Library of Congress, other specific organizations and entities, and
to the broader library community. In the words of the members of the
Working Group, they envision "a future for bibliographic control that
will be collaborative, decentralized, international in scope, and
Web-based?change will happen quickly, and bibliographic control will be
dynamic, not static." The group urged the readers of the report to view
it as a " 'call to action' that informs and broadens participation in
discussion and debate, conveys a sense of urgency, stimulates
collaboration, and catalyzes thoughtful and deliberative action." The
many recommendations suggest ways in which the necessary systemic change
can take place.

When the Library of Congress issues its response, we will be focusing
on how it will position itself to work in this new, networked, and
collaborative environment, not simply on single recommendations. We
recognize that any cataloging code (AACR2 or the proposed Resource
Description and Access--RDA) is but a part of this environment.

It may seem counterintuitive that we issue a joint statement with our
colleagues from the National Agricultural Library and the National
Library of Medicine on RDA before we issue a full response to On the
Record, but we do so because the international Joint Steering Committee
and the Committee of Principals continue their work, and because so many
librarians are asking about the national libraries' plans to implement
the proposed code.

We are pleased to report that we three libraries have worked together
to establish an approach to the consideration of RDA in the attached
joint statement.

We ask that you bear in mind that it is the entire bibliographic system
that needs to be considered and reworked, and the cataloging code is
only one small piece of the work that lies ahead.


Deanna B. Marcum
Associate Librarian for Library Services
The Library of Congress

Joint Statement of the Library of Congress, the National Library of
Medicine, and the National Agricultural Library on Resource Description
and Access

May 1, 2008

Leaders of the Library of Congress (LC), the National Library of
Medicine (NLM), and the National Agricultural Library (NAL) met on March
10, 2008 to discuss the recommendation from On the Record: the Report of
the Library of Congress Working Group on the Future of Bibliographic
Control to suspend work on RDA.

The group agreed that the Joint Steering Committee for Development of
RDA's work on Resource Description and Access (RDA) is an important
international initiative that has been underway for several years and is
one that requires continued collaboration with our international
partners who have joined with the United States in a global initiative
to update bibliographic practices to make the library resources more
accessible and useful to users. The participants also agreed that their
decisions whether or not to implement this new standard must be made
jointly. Further, participants agreed that LC, NLM, and NAL have
collective leadership responsibilities to assist the U.S. library and
information community to remain relevant and vital in an increasingly
digital future.  Key to this role is providing a broad assessment and
commitment to RDA if they believe this standard will further national
strategic goals for improved bibliographic control and access.

Colleagues from NLM and NAL are most concerned that a systematic review
of RDA has not yet been possible and, given the potential magnitude and
broad impact of the changes, such a review is essential. While draft
chapters of RDA have been available, a clear, concise, and cohesive
understanding of the overall impact of the entire standard is needed.
Until the completion of the rules and the availability of the RDA online
tool, reviewers will not be able fully to assess their impact on:

--Description, access, and navigation practices for a broad array of
users and types of materials

--Current and future electronic carriers and information management
systems to support RDA goals

--Estimated costs for implementation and maintenance during a time of
flat, even reduced, budgets

The three national libraries agreed on the following approach: First,
we jointly commit to further development and completion of RDA.  Second,
following its completion, a decision to implement the rules will be
based upon the positive evaluation of RDA's utility within the library
and information environment, and criteria reflecting the technical,
operational, and financial implications of the new code. This will
include an articulation of the business case for RDA, including benefits
to libraries and end users and cost analyses for retraining staff and
re-engineering cataloging processes.

Together, we will:

--Jointly develop milestones for evaluating how we will implement RDA

--Conduct tests of RDA that determine if each milestone has been
reached; paying particular attention to the benefits and costs of

--Widely distribute analyses of benefits and costs for review by the
U.S. library community

--Consult with the vendor and bibliographic utility communities to
address their concerns about RDA

Included among the tests that will be developed to assist in
formulating implementation decisions:

--Usability testing with cataloging staff, i.e. librarians and
technicians, experienced and newer staff from the three national
libraries in consultation with representatives from the U.S. library
community (including OCLC and library vendors) about its participation
in the process

--Testing of records for a broad array of materials created during
usability studies to determine compatibility with existing record sets
and ensuring records are usable and understandable for our end users

--Testing the feasibility of integrating this new cataloging standard
into all relevant technology systems

The three institutions agreed that these steps will be followed and, if
there is a decision to implement RDA, that the implementation would not
occur before the end of 2009.

The collective resolve is to complete the development of RDA, to
conduct appropriate tests that will inform and involve the broader U.S.
library community as to the utility of the code, and to ensure a product
that is useful, usable, and cost effective.  The Library of Congress
will continue to work with its international colleagues on the Joint
Steering Committee for Development of RDA and the Committee of
Principals and keep them apprised of the evaluation progress and
outcomes as the three national libraries, representing their
constituents, undertake the tests outlined above.

------ End of Forwarded Message