RDA in a Day report by Karl Fairhurst
I was thrilled to learn that I had won a bursary for the RDA in a Day event, not least because I am new to the profession but also new to cataloguing! Cataloguing experience is difficult to come by as a new professional and I saw this as a valuable opportunity to get to grips with my new passion and the new standard before starting a CILIP accredited course in September.
Turning up at CILIP HQ, I was delighted to meet librarians from the BBC, Natural History Museum and Royal Zoological Society. It was interesting to hear how cataloguing fits into their roles and how much of RDA they were already familiar with. With a tea in hand, we were briefed by Alan Danskin and Lesley Firth of the British Library on the day ahead. They detailed how we will create catalogue records using RDA and RIMMF, learn to navigate the RDA toolkit, discuss the FRBR model and understand how RDA and MARC can be used together.
With my head spinning with acronyms, we considered RDA and what it is. RDA stands for Resource Description and Access and has been developed to replace AACR2. This new standard will change how bibliographic data is created and used.
We began with an overview of the “Functional Requirements” family of conceptual models. We learned that RDA is an implementation of two members of the FR family of models, FRBR (Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records) and FRAD (Functional Requirements for Authority Data). There is a third model, Functional Requirements for Subject Authority Data (FRSAD), which has yet to be incorporated into RDA. The FRBR Review Group who maintains these models has recently proposed to reconcile all three. This has led to a new model, the Library Reference Model (LRM).
Alan Danskin described how these models are tools to understand a domain and explore bibliographic relationships. Underlying FRBR and LRM are a set of user tasks:
- FIND, IDENTIFY, SELECT, OBTAIN and [NAVIGATE (related resources)]
This set of user tasks conceptualises a model of searching. We were then introduced to entity relationship modelling and associated terminology.
Three core terms in entity relationship modelling as described by Alan:
A quality or feature regarded as a characteristic or inherent part of someone or something, e.g. Date of a person’s birth
A thing of interest, e.g. a Person
A connection between entities, e.g. Person A is the brother of Person B’
We then explored two further groups of entities. Group 1 Entities consist of Work, Expression, Manifestation, and Item, or WEMI for short. WEMI is the core of the FRBR model. The primary relationships between WEMI are as follows: a work is realised through an expression which is embodied in a manifestation and is exemplified by an item. Diagram 1 illustrates the relationship between Group 1 Entities.Group 2 entities add Person and Corporate Body and RDA adds a third, Family. There are other classes of entities but LRM has sought to reduce this and clarify the relationships between them.
We had an interactive group exercise where we looked at how FRBR and RDA can express complex bibliographic relationships between resources and persons using Game of Thrones as an example. Relationships between the many expressions of the original work, to new works and works that are based on the original showed just how complex this can become and the potential of RDA to express linked data. Diagram 2 below illustrates the bibliographic relationships in the Game of Thrones example.
RDA and MARC 21
Next we looked at the bibliographic format, MARC 21 and its ability to adapt to RDA. MARC21 being fairly old cannot fully express FRBR but has tried to adapt to RDA. Lesley described the British Library’s policies for RDA records. Preference is given to RDA over AACR2 records of equivalent quality. If there is an AACR2 record of better quality, it will be kept but not revised to RDA standard. Legacy record elements that require changes are amended to RDA standard but retain AACR2 coding. Hybrid records are inevitable and are something we will be required to work with and manage. The British Library’s policies on cataloguing standards can be accessed via the following link, http://www.bl.uk/bibliographic/catstandards.html.
After a whirlwind morning of looking at RDA concepts and terminology and integration with bibliographic formats, it was time to practically implement some of these concepts. We were given a demonstration of the RDA toolkit and tasked with answering questions as we explored the toolkit. At first, the structure of the toolkit was a little confusing and followed a chapter – section – chapter structure as shown in Diagram 3. Once I got my head around how to navigate the standard, I found it fairly easy to use as an online tool. It also contained useful resources such as RDA to MARC mappings and examples of full RDA records.RIMMF
Finally, we examined a tool that has been created to assist cataloguers in visualising RDA outside of the constraints of MARC21. RIMMF stands for RDA in Many Metadata Formats. With RIMMF, you can create records representing the Group 1 entities of FRBR and it visually shows you the relationships between these and other entities e.g. person, family or corporate body. It was valuable to see this in a visual format and begin to “think” in RDA. It brought together all the theory and concepts discussed throughout the day. RIMMF can be downloaded for free from the MARC of Quality site, http://www.marcofquality.com/soft/softindex.html.
Alan and Lesley did a fantastic job of fitting a complex topic and training into one day. It was incredibly useful to explore the RDA Toolkit and RIMMF was successful in providing a visual cohesion to the many models and terms discussed. I can confidently say I am now familiar with RDA and I am very grateful to the Cataloguing and Indexing Group committee for providing a bursary to attend this event.