This week we interviewed Todd Walker, Principal Developer at Follett Software Company. Follett specializes in K-12 learning management systems, including the Destiny Library Management ILS.
Question 1: 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?
TW: With the upcoming release of Destiny v10.0 in Winter of 2011, we will be current up through update 11 of MARC21.
Question 2: 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?
TW: Destiny v10.0 will display 33X tag information on title details for all users.
Question 3: 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?
TW: At this point in time, the new RDA fields will not be used for filtering or indexing. After the Winter 2011 release of Destiny v10.0, we plan to regroup around the search functionality to determine what the best use for these fields will be for the K-12 community.
Question 4: 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?
TW: Destiny is MARC only at this point in time, with no plans to change that in the forseeable future. A focus group is looking into what changes, if any, might be required. Unfortunately, there is no timeline for this.
Question 5: 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?
TW: No, due to heavy budget constraints in many K-12 school districts, we believe that many will not have the financial wherewithal to pay someone to upgrade their existing data. Any implementation of RDA from our standpoint will have to be 100% backward compatible with AACR2 for quite a while.
Question 6: 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?
TW: Lots! But one of the wonderful things about agile development is the ability to identify issues quickly and correct them.
Question 7: 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?
TW: Not at this time, and we have no immediate plans (next 6-9 months) to address this. I believe that the WEMI structure will need to become a part of our product to some degree, but no timeline has been set.
Question 8: Some have said that the benefits of RDA cannot be fully realized while MARC remains the dominant encoding standard. If RDA is fully implemented, 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)?
TW: MARC will need to be viable as long as a substantial percentage of the user base is dependent on it. In the K-12 market, I believe that budget constraints will force many districts to weigh the cost of migrating their existing data against the benefits, and many will hold off if there is no easily provable benefit.
I have heard various librarians state that MARC is dead. In my personal opinion, MARC is not dead. At this point in time, MARC is a caterpillar spinning its cocoon. I’m not sure what it’s going to look like when it’s done, but I know it’s going be made of the same parts, it’s going to look different and I fervently hope it can fly!