MARC records created according to RDA vary somewhat from MARC records created according to AACR2. Otherwise, what’s the point of RDA, right? Although in fact they don’t seem to vary very much, which is not neccesarily a bad thing, as they were designed to be somewhat “backwards compatible”. Is the variance enough to require changes in our software that provides search and display over marc records, to take account of RDA? I haven’t had time to figure it out yet. If anyone who actually knows RDA (if such people even exist) has any ideas of things that would have to be changed, please do tell us.
(In a perfect world, the RDA committee would provide a document to systems administrators “things you may have to change.” Because, in fact, it’s awfully confusing to figure out, and sadly RDA at however many hundred pages — and pay-access only to the spec — hasn’t made it any easier).
I had been thinking we still had quite a while until MARC created according to RDA showed up in our actual catalogs. What with hearing about all the testing that was going on at various RDA testing partners, and most everyone else waiting for the result of the testing to decide what to do with RDA.
But it turns out that OCLC allows anyone to add RDA records starting already, in some circumstances, if they choose, and some people have chosen. So if you download a record from OCLC, it might be RDA. We’ve already got a few RDA bibs in our catalog. I have not yet had time to look at them and figure out if they are displaying/searching properly in our interface, but clearly I’ll have to do that at some point. Hopefully at most it will just require tweaks to the rules which, once tweaked, keep working for both AACR2 and RDA records, rather than conflicting rules for AACR2 vs RDA, which would be much harder to implement. (Although I believe it’s possible, as i _think_ you can tell an RDA record from some leader byte or other. If catalogers routinely ignore this as they often have ignored such leader bytes in the past, then we’ll be doomed. )
It would be really neat if you could search Worldcat for RDA records, for the purpose of viewing real world records and testing with interfaces. I think it might be possible to rig something up to let you do that with the worldcat API, but, if it’s possible it would only be with the “access restricted” API, so even if you rigged it up it would be for your local instutions use only, you couldn’t share it, which greatly lessens my interest in trying to do it, if my effort can’t be used to efficiently help others. Oh well. OCLC, you want to provide either a search or even just a big list of RDA records in WorldCat? (You can identify RDA records from some leader byte or other, I believe).
Thanks to Christopher Case , Content Management Librarian here where I work, for keeping track of RDA progress and how it will effect our work, and clueing the rest of us in. I’d not have even discovered this much without his alerts.