Let’s first encounter head-on the questions from those who ask:
- Examine the current cataloging environment -- and how it continues to evolve
- Perceive how Resource Description and Access (RDA) is an improvement over AACR2 as a tool for that environment
The Cataloging Environment
Catalogs are no longer isolated within the walls of an institution. Bibliographic data from any source can now be integrated into the wider Internet environment. New kinds of links can be made, and new displays can be generated for users from data packaged in new ways -- all of it on a global scale in multiple languages and scripts. These can be called ‘linked data systems.’ We now have the technology to provide global connection anywhere that computers can operate. That includes the digital connections of cell phones or smart phones with Internet connections to link to any user -- any place -- any time.
- It is increasingly Web-based.
- We need to catalog a much wider range of information carriers than we did in the past.
- We need to deal with many more types of content and complexity of content in the resources that we catalog.
- Metadata is now created by a wider range of people, who have a wider range of skill levels -- not only by skilled professional catalogers, but by support staff, non-library staff, vendors, wikipedians, and also publishers. Some of us are using structures other than the MARC format for our records (e.g., using Dublin Core for some digital resources).
The Problems with AACR2
- “It has become increasingly complex”
- “There is no logical structure”
- “It mixes content and carrier data”
- “Hierarchical and other important relationships are not adequately addressed”
- “It reflects an Anglo-American centric viewpoint”
- “It pre-dates the FRBR entity-relationship conceptual model”
- “There is not enough support for the ‘collocation’ function of cataloging”
- “It did not foresee the Internet or the existence of well-formed metadata or vocubularies”