Thursday, April 30, 2015

Highlights of the RDA Toolkit update published April 14, 2015

An update to the RDA Toolkit was published on April 14, 2015. LC issued a 10-page summary of the changes, available at:  A list of changes made to LC-PCC policy statements is available at:

Below are some changes that may be of particular interest.

What some of us refer to fondly as the "cascading vortex of horror" has been done away with! That is, "[t]he distribution statement and its sub-elements are no longer required, even if [X of publication not identified] is recorded in one of the sub-elements of the publication statement" (RDA 2.9). Furthermore, "[t]he manufacture statement and its sub-elements are no longer required, even if [X of publication not identified] is recorded in one of the sub-elements of the publication statement, and distribution information is not recorded" (RDA 2.10). The distribution and manufacture statements may be included at the cataloger's discretion.

RDA (Title of the person) has been revised to include abbreviations indicating academic degrees or organizational memberships as "other terms indicative of rank, honour, or office." An example has been added at the renumbered instruction (Other Term of Rank, Honour, or Office; formerly illustrating the use of "Ph. D." as part of the authorized access point for a person.

RDA (formerly "Place Names for Jurisdictions") has been renamed "Terms Indicating Type of Jurisdiction" and sub-instructions and (relating to place names that indicate a type of jurisdiction) have been deleted. This change is characterized as a "clarification" that does not constitute a change in LC/PCC practice.

There is a brand new chapter 23, "General Guidelines on Recording Relationships Between Works and Subjects." This is a short chapter that documents what most libraries already do. There is also the new Appendix M, "Relationship Designators: Subject Relationships." Descriptive relationship terms formerly found in Appendix J (e.g., "Commentary on") have been relocated to Appendix M.

The RDA Index is no longer available in the Toolkit; it was considered too "burdensome" to maintain. Toolkit users will also notice that deleted instructions have been replaced with text that says, "[This instruction has been deleted as a revision to RDA. For further information, see 6JSC/LC/27/Sec final.]." The idea behind using this so-called "deprecated" text instead of actually deleting instructions is to avoid extensive renumbering of the instructions.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Emergency Preparedness

In 2005, not long after a series of strong hurricanes struck the gulf coast, the Heritage Health Index, a National Collections Care Survey, reported that few of the institutions they surveyed have disasters plans. Even when an institution did have a disaster plan in place, it was often out of date. In response to that the Society of American Archivists (SAA) supports the idea of MayDay, a grassroots effort to save archives celebrated annually on May 1.

However, archives are not the only institutions that need to have a current disaster plan on file. Natural disasters as well as equipment failures can lead to a loss of materials in the library. To help any institution prepare for a disaster SAA provides a list of ideas for MayDay activities, though it’s important to remember that these activities don’t have to take place only on May 1. 

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The law library in an information age: it is time to do away with the local online catalog and focus on research guides and digital content

An SSRN paper by Jonathan E. Germann

His premise: It is time libraries stop investing in a local public online catalog, a century old device used to facilitate access to physical holdings within a library. Instead, it is time for libraries to become experts at helping patrons navigate the world of the anti-library by creating original content in the form of subject guides. It is also time for libraries to focus on owning digital resources that can be manipulated by computer algorithms.

Read the paper at

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Preservation Week 2015

Preservation Week is quickly approaching, this year it is the week of April 26 - May 2. Sometimes the preservation activities of an institution are not visible to the users of the library's materials, so this week is a great time to promote the activities your institution is undertaking to ensure continued access to its collections - both analog and digital. 

It's also a great time to take advantage of preservation training. This year ALA is sponsoring 3 FREE webinars on different preservation topics:
  • Moving Image Preservation 101
  • Digital Preservation for Individuals and Small Groups
  • Disaster Response Q&A
There are additional preservation videos available on the ALCTS Preservation play list.