Vendor Interview -- SkyRiver

Our latest interview is with SkyRiver, provider of a full service bibliographic utility that is compatible with nearly all ILSs. Georgia Fujikawa, Vice President of Operations, answered our questions.

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?

GF: Yes, our system is current and accommodates RDA. As a NACO node we are supporting authority records as well as bibliographic records.

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?

GF: While the SkyRiver database itself has a single display for staff users (not for public view), the new RDA fields may be downloaded to local systems and readily used in both public and admin views there.

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?

GF: Our search interface has incorporated support for RDA from the beginning.

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?

GF: The SkyRiver database is MARC based, but is flexible and adaptable as needed. It currently supports RDA as is. Our cataloging client utilizes a variety of tools and data storage mechanisms to allow additional flexibility for catalogers working with bibliographic records.

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?

GF: We will continue to support the various types of records in use by libraries.

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?

GF: No.

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?

GF: Utilizing data elements of the records we provide faceted searching for catalogers that does not require use of the FRBR structure.

Question 8: 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)?

GF: SkyRiver utilizes a variety of technologies to support the work of libraries. These technologies work equally well within a MARC framework as within other frameworks for data storage and retrieval. While MARC is the transmission standard for bibliographic data we see no decrease in the viability of MARC. Since RDA focuses on cataloging rules within the MARC framework, we are poised to support both AACR2 MARC and RDA MARC as our libraries make choices about which cataloging code to use in their libraries. As libraries move to other structures for storage and transmission, SkyRiver is poised to support these equally well.