Kelley McGrath on RDA, MARC, and library metadata futures

Finally got around to reading  (I’ve had it open in a browser tab for weeks) Kelley’s presentation on “Will RDA Kill MARC?”, which from my point of view isn’t really about its title exactly,  so much as it is a meditation on the problems with existing library metadata control in the contemporary machine environment, as well as the factors that constrain us from moving forward.

It’s great! Highly recommended!  Especially to catalogers, I think it may speak in a way that connects with catalogers, being written by a cataloger and all, with some real world examples.

(It’s sort of a slide presentation, but with extensive well-written notes that form a continuous narrative; you can read it like an illustrated essay, unlike most slideshows. Normally I hate trying to read slideshows, but this one is fine.)


3 thoughts on “Kelley McGrath on RDA, MARC, and library metadata futures”

  1. Thanks, Jonathan. I suppose the title is a bit over the top, but the theme was supposed to be “Will RDA Mean the Death of MARC?”

    Ironically, the most telling question from the audience was “Will MARC kill RDA?” And whatever you think of RDA, it’s not really fair to judge it based on what it looks like squeezed into MARC.

  2. I can’t help but wonder about the future of RDA given the problems the paywall creates. Since I’m not inside the paywall, I’m wondering whether RDA helps in any way to relate “library data” to “other data” in a linked data environment – for example, does RDA re-use existing external namespaces for metadata elements, or relate any RDA terms to their equivalents used elsewhere, where applicable? I can’t see the point in continuing to silo library data.

  3. Tom, the part of RDA you are paywalled from doesn’t even HAVE namespaces. It doesn’t even have a formal element set defined. The only formal element sets defined are in the non-paywalled work Diane Hillman, Karen Coyle, et al are doing. Which seem to be split amongst several vocabularies defined somewhere in here: (Diane, Karen, or anyone else, is there any way to link to the complete set of “RDA vocabularies”, or must one link to each of the half a dozen or so seperately? Is there any overview narrative documentation explaining what each one is?)

    I think this work is actually the MOST important part of “RDA”, and it’s not paywalled — but the actual RDA Committee, and the cataloging community in general, seem to have a fairly ambigous/ambivelent relationship to it.

    I do think that the fact that the narrative text of the RDA rules is behind a paywall — is a huge huge problem if you want it to be succesful as an actual inter-operable standard. (It is sadly not the only huge problem, either. The intentions of RDA are noble…)

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