Monday, July 28, 2014

RDA news

Two recent developments around RDA may be of interest.

RDA conversion of the LC/NACO Authority file, Phase 3

Gary Strawn posted the following announcement concerning plans for phase 3 of the LC/NACO Authority files via several e-mail lists. Permission for re-posting to other lists without prior approval was given.  The RDA phase 3 documents available via the link in Strawn's e-mail provide further detail as to how some of these tasks might be accomplished. Enrichment of authority records using data mined from the textual 670 fields is an interesting possibility.

Following the successful completion of phases 1 and 2 of the conversion of the LC/NACO Authority File for use under RDA, the Program for Cooperative Cataloging has appointed a task group to consider additional changes to the file. This work is to constitute "Phase 3" of the preparation of the LC/NACO Authority File. This task group's final report is due by March 15, 2015; the report is to propose a schedule for performing the work. After receiving this report, PCC will decide how to proceed.

The most important single task to be achieved during Phase 3 is the re-coding as RDA of those AACR2 authority records that bear no indication that the 1XX cannot be used under RDA. The task group is considering other changes that can be made to records in the authority file at the same time. Some of these changes will be related directly to the adoption of RDA; but this is not necessarily the case. Because millions of records will need to be re-issued to achieve the main goal, other clean-up projects that affect a large number of records can be considered.

The task group has so far investigated the following additional tasks (in some cases the investigation is still very much in progress):
* Enhanced generation of the 046 field in authority records for personal names
* Re-formulating older occurrences of the 678 field as 670
* Programmatic switching of terms for relationships, following on changes made to RDA earlier this year
* Programmatic switching of standard terms for music medium of performance, also following changes made to RDA earlier this year; corresponding generation of the 372 field
* Adding ISNIs in the 024 field
* Re-categorize texts used in subfield $c of personal names
* Regularizing the recording of names in the 370 field

Not all of this work will necessarily be held until the primary job of Phase 3 is undertaken. For example, several thousand records with 678 fields have already been adjusted; and changes to music medium of performance will probably be undertaken as soon as the specifications have been approved.

The task group is preparing documents that describe in detail each aspect of its work. Three of these documents (corresponding to the first three bullet points in the above list) are now available for comment. These documents, and the group's charge (including a list of members), can be found at this site:

The group invites discussion on the PCC and/or RDA lists of these documents. The group also actively encourages suggestions for additional automated manipulations that might be made to the LC/NACO authority file as part of this project.

Additional documents will be posted to this site as they are prepared, and discussion of them invited as well. The group has created a Twitter account that will be used to broadcast notifications of new and revised documents: rdaphase3. Interested parties are encouraged to follow that Twitter account, to be up-to-date on the group's activities.

In its work, the task group has uncovered, and expects to continue to uncover, a number of categories of problems that cannot be handled by a program, but could be cleared up by a group of dedicated volunteers. For example, the program that made a preliminary examination of the 370 field identified a large number of fields with subfield $2 reading "naf" or "lcsh" for which no corresponding authority record could be found. Each of these must be reviewed, and an appropriate action taken; but there is far more work to do than the task group can achieve on its own.  All NACO participants--at either the individual or institution level--will be encouraged to assist in the work.  Other likely projects include: authority records for personal names for which the conversion program could not generate an 046 field for one reason or another, but which appear to contain date-shaped information; records whose 100 has only a birth date but whose 670 fields contain a death date. There will no doubt be many more such projects. The task group will announce each clean-up project as it prepares the unnecessarily underlying problem reports and suitable instructions.

RDA toolkit technical committee formed

James Hennelly, Managing editor of ALA Digital References recently announced the formation of an RDA Toolkit Technical Committee via several e-mail lists.  The purpose of the committee is to address "open technical issues related to the application of RDA, RDA Toolkit and the RDA registry.  The full text of the announcement and a membership list for the committee are available via the RDA Toolkit blog.


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