Day One for RDA implementation is March 31, 2013. Scary, I know. The date sounds so definitive and dread-inducing, as if the stroke of midnight that day will bring chaotic change and the end of AACR2! Of course, this is not the case at all. Many libraries, including the Library of Congress, have been creating RDA records for many months, and after March 31st there will be plenty of libraries that still do AACR2 cataloging. The March 31 date really means that the Library of Congress and a few other major libraries will be cataloging exclusively (or nearly exclusively) in RDA, so you will be seeing a lot more RDA records.
When a recent post to AUTOCAT expressed worry about RDA implementation and asked for advice on how to get started preparing for the change, Mary Mastraccio of Marcive, Inc., responded with some very sound advice (or at least in our view and that of others on AUTOCAT). So with Mastraccios's permission (and a few revisions by her), her good advice follows.
- The first step is to relax; at this stage major workflow changes are not required.
- Make sure your local system is set up to accept new MARC fields. Many tags have been added over the past two years and will continue to be added so you need to be sure your system will accept records with new fields. Use the MARC21 Formats documentation for both bibliographic and authority records. For a list of RDA specific MARC fields see the Library of Congress documentation.
- Routinely check the Library of Congress website which lists RDA news and changes so you can keep up with implementation practices that may impact how you do things in the future.
- For development details, including helpful FAQ’s and presentations, check the website of the Joint Steering Committee for Development of RDA.
- Use the Library of Congress RDA training webinars.
- Find out if there are any planned training sessions available. Check with your systems vendor or local and national library associations. See ALCTS Online Learning website.
- Use RDA Toolkit helps and global workflows and maps (under the Tools tab) available online.
- Determine what you need for your local system and train your staff to recognize, input, and use the new data. If your system will seamlessly pull data from former (AACR2) and current (RDA) records then less conversion cleanup is needed.
- If there are global changes that would improve the usefulness of your library data, find out what can be done, by whom, both in a one-time retrospective conversion project and for on-going cataloging.
- If you get records through any type of MARC record service or authority service you may want or need to make some changes to your profile to be sure you are getting what you need in this new cataloging environment. For example, many libraries previously asked for all relator terms (example: 700$e) to be removed, but ,since relator terms (relationship designators) are used extensively in RDA, it may be a good idea to change that profile option.
- If you are considering getting a new ILS, be sure the system can use all the new fields in RDA and will be able to index names properly, especially people with different relator terms. You will also want to know that any new system is designed to easily extract or convert your MARC data to another format, probably linked web-data.
Mary L. Mastraccio
Cataloging & Authorities Manager