Vendor Interview -- Innovative Interfaces, Inc. (III)

This is the debut of our vendor interviews. After reviewing results of our user survey, we selected the most requested vendors and sent them a series of questions derived from those our users asked. We hope to publish the intereviews on a regular basis. And we hope that they will prove useful to RDA Toolkit's users, giving them some idea of what to expect from technical service products during the period of transition from AACR2 to RDA.

First up is Innovative Interfaces, Inc., who are best known for their Millennium ILS. The questions were answered by Ken Wells, product manager for III.

Question: Is your cataloging system current with MARC 21 updates 9, 10, and 11, which made changes to MARC to accommodate RDA? If not, do you plan to update, and do you have a timeline for updating? Have you made the changes for both bibliographic and authority records?

KW: Yes, Millennium is current with the latest MARC 21 updates, and can accommodate all RDA field elements in loading, validating, indexing and displaying the new data as the library sees fit, for both authority and bibliographic records. New customer sites are installed with this functionality preconfigured. Existing sites can update their system to add this functionality free of charge using one of our Service Commitments on our customer service portal (CSDirect).

Question: Are your system's displays (public facing and admin) capable of displaying the new RDA fields added to MARC? Are any future changes planned? If so, can you share a timeline?

KW: Yes, the Millennium staff modules and both the WebPAC and Encore public displays are capable of displaying the new RDA fields. Regarding future development, we are currently evaluating what possibilities we have for taking advantage of the new data elements to enhance the way we display and access record data. There is no concrete timeline for the development at this point.

Question: Please describe your system's search interface (including its indexing, filtering, and faceting functions), and how it handles the new RDA fields. Are any future changes planned? If so, can you share a timeline?

KW: Innovative systems currently are capable of indexing the new RDA fields if the library wishes to do so. For future development, we are considering our options for adding filtering and faceting options that leverage the deeper descriptive data available in the RDA fields. There is no concrete timeline for the development at this point.

Question: Does your system support cataloging in encodings other than MARC? If so, have you made any changes to these encodings in order to support RDA? Are any future changes planned? If so, can you share a timeline?

KW: Millennium can support both MARC and Non-MARC encoding in cataloging. RDA, MARC and Non-MARC data can all exist in Millennium’s database simultaneously. No additional changes to Millennium’s Non-MARC functionality has been made to date. After the RDA Test results are published in June, we will have better guidelines for needs around additional developments in this area, and we will respond to meet industry standards.

Question:Libraries are likely to be in a mixed records environment for some time. Do you have any plans to discontinue support to AACR2 records in the foreseeable future?

KW: No, Millennium customers are currently able to use a mix of record formats in our database. AACR2 and RDA data can exist side-by-side in the database to provide maximum flexibility to accommodate any customer that wishes to use our system. We will continue to support both AACR2 and RDA formats in Millennium as well as in the new Sierra Services Platform.

Question: Do you have any display, search, or other concerns about using your system in a mixed record environment where AACR2 and RDA records are co-mingled in the catalog?

KW: No. Millennium customers are currently able to use a mix of record formats in our database. AACR2 and RDA data can exist side-by-side in the database to provide maximum flexibility to accommodate any customer that wishes to use our system. We will continue to support both AACR2 and RDA formats in Millennium as well as in the new Sierra Services Platform. For display purposes, customers can choose which fields they wish to display to the public, regardless of record format.

Question: RDA has an increased focus on record-to-record relationships based on FRBR and adopted the Work-Expression-Manifestation-Item structure. Does your system currently take advantage of this new data and structure to improve the user experience in any way? Are any future user experience improvements based on this data planned? If so, can you share a timeline?

KW: Millennium currently does not have a FRBRized interface, but we are working to enhance the system to take advantage of this new data and structure. There is no concrete timeline for the development at this point.

Question: Some have said that the benefits of RDA cannot be fully realized while MARC remains the dominant encoding standard. If RDA is adopted, how viable do you think MARC will be going forward? What sort of issues would a move away from MARC raise for your product(s)?

KW: Regardless of what the official industry stance is on RDA, we believe that libraries will have a mix of RDA and AACR2 records for the forseeable future, as they currently have a mix of AACR, AACR2 and other record formats. It is our role as a library vendor to ensure that our system can handle all of these formats to allow maximum flexibility for every customer’s needs.

We do believe that if RDA becomes the dominant standard, then the industry as a whole will begin moving in a direction that leans more in favor of that format, and more features and tools will become RDA-focused accordingly.

Where Millennium and Sierra are concerned, both AACR2 and RDA use essentially the same style of data formatting, and the differences arise in how that data is interpreted. So, for the database, there are no issues moving forward with RDA-style encoding. Some issues could arise as libraries move more and more toward a FRBRized approach to catalog structure and an atomized structure of records themselves. By that, I mean if individual records become broken apart into links to descriptive elements (such as subject headings, author headings, etc) rather than having the data rekeyed in every record, then we could end up seeing a more relationship-driven data structure rather than siloed data, record by record, as we have in catalogs now. This kind of change could completely restructure library catalogs, and this would require significant effort on both the part of library vendors and libraries themselves to move in this direction. We do feel that, in time, this will be the nature of library catalogs, joining the structures and formats of other modern, multi-industry data structures.