Saturday, March 29, 2014

RDA: What it is --

A Content Standard

RDA provides instructions on recording the content of records.
  • It does not provide instruction on how a given library system (e.g.) should display the bibliographic information (although there is information about displaying RDA content).
  • Nor does it provide instruction on encoding the information. RDA is schema-neutral. You can use it with any schema, including MARC, or Dublin Core.

More International

RDA is less Anglo-centric than AACR2.  It focuses on user needs, as stressed in the International Cataloguing Principles.

In addition, the agency preparing the description can make choices regarding the:
  • language of additions to access points
  • language of supplied data
  • script and transliteration
  • calendar
  • numeric system

Wider Scope of Resources

RDA also covers the wider scope of resources being acquired in libraries today. It provides for more elements for:
  • non-printed text resources
  • non-text resources
  • unpublished resources

But RDA defers appropriately to the specialist manuals of collaborative communities in situations where more detailed description is wanted than the general view provided by RDA (e.g., music, sound recordings, moving images, electronic resources, cartographic materials).

Authority Data

RDA includes instructions on authority data, based on attributes and relationships in the FRAD model. There were no AACR2 rules for authority data and authority records. RDA doesn’t indicate how authority data should be encoded; but for now, that information will continue to be documented by most libraries in authority records.

Controlled Vocabularies

RDA has many controlled vocabularies. Only a few of the vocabularies are closed (e.g., content type; media type; carrier type; mode of issuance). Most of the vocabularies are open; you can either supply your own term as needed, or suggest a term be added to the vocabulary (or do both).

Libraries may decide to include some of these controlled vocabulary terms in templates; ILS vendors could provide them in drop-down lists.  And so on. 

The RDA vocabularies are now registered on the Web. The existence of those machine-readable controlled vocabularies will allow more machine manipulation of data than is now possible, including the mapping of RDA to other metadata schemes.

[Source: Library of Congress]

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