Saturday, September 27, 2008

This week's revalation

Too many interesting things going on, too little time to put them into words that others can read...

Something has been stewing in my head for a long time about RDA, and this week I'm at the OLAC/MOUG joint conference where the topic has come up a bit. RDA is supposed to be "made for the digital world." This is something I can completely get behind. But the drafts I've read (and I admit I gave up on them at some point, so maybe this has changed) don't seem to me that they're actually accomplishing that. It's the right goal, but the products I've seen don't meet it. And then it occurred to me: by "for the digital world" I think what the RDA folks actually mean is "catalog digital stuff" rather than "create data that can be used by machines as well as people." I'm interested in the latter, so that's what I was assuming they were interested in. But I'm now wondering if that assumption was false. If we have this problem with terminology for this long within our own profession, how in the world are we going to communicate effectively with others?

1 comment:

Irvin Flack said...


At the presentations I've been to, it's been pointed out that 'digital' is meant to cover both these meanings, plus the fact that the RDA product will be provided online. Eg, the following is from a presentation by Barbara Tillett:

Designed for the digital environment =
* Developed as a web-based product
* Description and access of all digital resources (and analog)
* Resulting records usable in the digital environment (Internet, Web OPACs, etc.)

I think these are probably in increasing order of difficulty (and priority?) for the JSC.

- Irvin