Good morning and thank you to everyone for making yesterday's discussions so wide-ranging and lively. We're hoping to have another day of RDA talk today but first please find below a summary of what was covered yesterday. Following this email, we will post the topics for discussion this morning.




The e-forum today looked at planning and preparation for implementing RDA in the morning before moving on to training issues in the afternoon. This is just a brief summary of the discussions during the first day.


The CIG e-forum got started with initial introductions and then considered RDA implementation plans. Several contributors reported that their institutions had already implemented RDA or were in the process of doing so over the next three months to two years. Some implementations have focussed on particular types of material, such as monographs in the first instance, with implementation for other material types such as serials being planned to take place subsequently. Several contributors reported that, although they have not fully yet implemented RDA, they have begun accepting RDA records from external sources. Many contributors also stated that they are continuing to accept AACR records from external sources where no RDA equivalent is available.  


The e-forum moved on to discuss who was involved in the decision making process for implementing RDA. Several contributors reported that this required consultation with senior management; cataloguing team members need to be kept up to date on developments over time and system staff where necessary. Justifications of the need for implementation included the argument that  alternatives to RDA records are sometimes no longer available from deriving sources.  Several responders commented that RDA implementation was important in the context of linked data developments. A lack of staff time and competing projects such as retrospective conversion programmes were cited as being obstacles to RDA implementation.


The morning session closed with a consideration of systems issues in relation to RDA implementation. This addressed both the configuration of library management systems and RDA Toolkit subscription. As regards LMS configuration, some challenges have arisen in terms of displaying the 264 and 33X fields, and likewise the 1XX/7XX $e and 700-730 $i subfields.  The incompatibility of 245 $h with RDA  has also sometimes caused problems in terms of record display. Conversion of name headings from AACR to RDA is a further consideration. Many of these issues may be addressed by reconfiguring existing systems but, where this is not feasible, they may only be resolved as part of a system migration. LMS suppliers may also provide automated fixes to support the retrospective amendment of bibliographic data and conversion of headings in line with RDA. The full practical benefit of certain fields such as the 33X will only be realised once a significant accumulation of RDA data has taken place. A hybrid environment now exists in which both RDA and AACR records exist alongside each other on many catalogues.


The level of RDA Toolkit subscription varies widely between institutions, depending on the number of staff who require access. Several responders reported that a limited number of Toolkit licenses had been purchased for purposes of reference, or that access was limited to cataloguing staff. Many reported that they had taken advantage of trial RDA Toolkit subscriptions. Budgetary constraints are a limiting factor on subscribing to the RDA Toolkit. Print and e-book versions of the Toolkit are available as well as the online alternative. However, the online version is updated more frequently and it includes ancillary content such as workflows and mappings which are not provided with other versions.  


The e-forum’s afternoon session considered matters of RDA training. Several contributors reported that their training had consisted of a general introduction to staff, followed by tailored sessions for individual cataloguers or teams of cataloguers. Some responders added that they had provided FRBR training to cataloguers as well as paraprofessional and non cataloguing staff. However, questions  arose as to whether training paraprofessionals and non cataloguing staff in in RDA’s underlying concepts was a worthwhile exercise. Such training may be desirable for background information, but it is also important to focus training on what is most relevant to the recipient’s role. A general overview of RDA principles, accompanied by examples of application and differences from AACR2, may be all that is required. References to further reading on FRBR could be included in the training  given to paraprofessionals and non cataloguing staff an opportunity to find out more about the subject if they wish to do so. A familiarity with FRBR is most relevant to cataloguers in terms of helping them navigate RDA’s structure and understand its vocabulary.


Before closing the afternoon session, the e-forum discussed the advantages of creating an RDA training environment in order to support practise cataloguing. Creating such an environment as part of an LMS may be a useful means of separating practise data from data on a live catalogue. It can  also be useful in terms of testing LMS configuration.