Vendor Interview -- Softlink

Our series of vendor interviews continues with Softlink, a developer of integerated library solutions including Oliver and Liberty. Dion Dias of Softlink responded to 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?

DD: The majority of RDA fields are supported in currently released versions of Oliver and Liberty. In the upcoming general release this support will be extended to include all changes in these updates.

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?

DD: The current versions of Oliver and Liberty can be configured to display some 33x tag information in the public OPAC interface. All MARC data can be reviewed and edited within the MARC cataloguing interface.

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?

DD: Indexing and filtering are currently available for some of the 33x tags. We are reviewing further product changes to leverage the data contained in these data fields.

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?

DD: Oliver and Liberty support both MARC and non-MARC encodings in cataloguing. At this stage no changes to the non-MARC encodings have been necessary to support RDA fields. We will respond to industry standards as they develop in this area.

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?

DD: We have no plans to discontinue support for AACR2 as we expect it will continue to be an important standard for the foreseeable future.

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?

DD: We don’t have any special concerns about mixed AACR2 and RDA records at the present time.

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?

DD: We don’t currently support this functionality but will respond based on client demand for it.

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)?

DD: MARC will continue to be a dominant encoding standard for the foreseeable future. Softlink has a large number of Australian school customers who will continue to use SCIS MARC as a primary means of importing catalogue data. We perceive no special issues in moving away from MARC other than those involved in having to support a new encoding standard.