Carole Myles: December 2011 Archives
During two OCLC "Cataloging Efficiencies that Make a Difference" member meetings held on consecutive days at the Gutman Library, Harvard University and the Boston Public Library, two excellent RDA presentations were delivered. The presenters had been RDA testers in 2010 and brought a wealth of practical experience to the audience. The talks focused on where they had been but, more importantly, what all catalogers can do in 2012 to prepare for the RDA adoption in January, 2013.
Here are a few of their ideas to get started. First is to get out of the holding pattern. RDA is here to stay. Don't know where to turn? As one speaker advised, check out the list of RDA testers, select one that is comparable to your institution and contact them for questions or advice.
Second, training or overviews can be found for free on the Library of Congress website, including the training at Georgia Public Library Cataloging Summit last August. Also, OCLC's Good Practices for Great Outcomes portal has several free RDA presentations; check out Jeanne Piascik's RDA presentation from last February or Chris Cronin's presentation. And, the OCLC website has RDA-related resources in print and recordings, including a great starting point on the topic of FRBR.
Third, read up on the subject in the latest professional literature. An article on the experiences of RDA testers was recently published in a special issue of Cataloging & Classification Quarterly 49(7/8).
Fourth, as one speaker suggested, you don't need to jump into RDA all at once. Create an implementation plan that emphasizes testing it out for three months as a pilot.
After hearing the speakers talk about RDA in a common sense approach, most participants felt better about making the change. So start now to prepare for RDA.
At OCLC's "Cataloging Efficiencies That Make a Difference" event held recently at the Gutman Library, Harvard University, Eric Childress commented during his keynote that today's libraries have "fuzzy boundaries." One librarian later commented that he found the concept "thought provoking," but wondered if Eric considered this a "positive thing" for libraries. I decided to follow up to find out his thoughts about this comment.
Eric confirmed that the "fuzzy" library affects both the collection and the staffing within a library. Collections now consist of a variety of resources: licensed content, free resources on the web, electronic devices, etc. Therefore, what libraries own is not nearly as clean as it used to be. The "fuzzy" library can also move beyond the boundaries of one institution. For one example of collaboration between libraries, visit the 2CUL website of Cornell and Columbia, an effort to combine library resources of both institutions. For more "fuzziness," would their collection count as one or two collections after they are combined? Also, in the past, staff could rely on their duties to remain steady with not much fluctuation in job expectations. Today change is the one thing staff can rely on. Staff is being asked to do more with less, and take on additional responsibilities not previously outlined in job descriptions, which sometimes blurs the lines within organizational structures. With more fluid roles, this is a probably a good thing for staff, but in many cases there are no clearly defined expectations, which can be unsettling. With change, there is more fuzziness for the future, but more opportunity for all.
Diane Baden, Head of Monographic Services at Boston College's O'Neill Library,spoke recently at the "Cataloging Efficiencies that Make a Difference" event at Harvard University's Gutman Library. Her presentation titled, Piloting E-Books Why, How, Who, and other Questions, hinted that her presentation would leave participants with more questions than answers. Diane covered the O'Neil Library's pilot e-book project that was strategically funded to study the effects of incorporating e-books into their collection. What they eventually tested during the pilot included purchasing individual titles through GOBI and packages with some major publishers, using trials to assess e-books, using patron-driven acquisition (PDA) through ebrary, and digital-driven acquisition (DDA) through YBP. As the pilot progressed, they learned that this is a market in the state of flux, and libraries and vendors are learning from each other as the market develops. And, libraries owe it to vendors to offer guidance on good practices for this developing market.
At the end of the pilot, several issues hadn't been resolved including a collection development policy, budget allocations, and digital rights management. In the next year assessment will be a key goal for the task force. At this point, it's not clear who's using their e-book collections and why and, like with serials packages, whether a package is a good value versus one-off purchasing.
As for cataloging staff, the long-term implications of purchasing fewer materials could bode well for them, allowing them time to perform functions that have been neglected in the past. At the same time, new job functions may require continuing education/training.