RDA records already in WorldCat

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.


7 thoughts on “RDA records already in WorldCat”

  1. Hi Jonathan,

    You can search for RDA records in Worldcat using a command line search, dx:rda. Unfortunately, I believe the only indication that a record is cataloged according to RDA is in the 040 $e (which should say rda). If the record is cataloged using ISBD punctuation, then the leader 18 would say “i,” but this is not required for a record to be RDA-compliant (although I believe for the national test OCLC is requesting that).

    Thanks as always for keeping our systems up to date!

  2. Thanks. Chris, do I have access to a WorldCat command line search? If this is something I can use, can you help me get set up to use it? I am not familiar with the cataloger back-end tools, the only worldcat I use is worldcat.org, but I think it would behoove me to become so.

  3. Good question! I tried to find a way to do a command line search on FirstSearch but it doesn’t seem to have that capability. I’ll keep looking and let you know what I find.

  4. It looks like you can do command line searching in FirstSearch, under “Expert” searching. I tried doing dx:rda there and got a load of results, but none of the ones I looked at (maybe 6 or 7 records) appeared to be cataloged according to RDA. What’s even more confusing is that the dx search (description conventions, index of 040 $e) should only work in Connexion, according to OCLC (http://www.oclc.org/au/en/support/documentation/worldcat/searching/searchworldcatindexes/default.htm#descriptionconventions). I’m curious what exactly I’m retrieving in FirstSearch by searching dx:rda. I’m no FirstSearch expert, so this might be clear to someone who is.

  5. Okay, thanks Chris, sounds like I was right that I (and most other library developers) don’t have access to any tool that will show us the RDA records in worldcat.

  6. Using FirstSearch does indeed pull up all RDA records, but only way to tell that they are is by eyeballing the description–spelled out abbreviations, use of the copyright symbol, and such. The much-ballyhooed Content/Media/Carrier Types don’t appear in the display. Of course, if you’re trying to look at the MARC record, you can’t do that through FirstSearch; that’s where Connexion (Client or Browser) comes in.

    As far as Leader/18 (Desc) is concerned, the majority of RDA records will include an “i” here. There may be the occasional “c” or “blank.” Any RDA records I come across with an “a” I report to OCLC.

  7. You can look at RDA records in the Library of Congress catalog: click on “Basic Search,” then select “Expert Search” and type: 040e rda

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