Friday, November 12, 2010

Exciting Updates on RDA

I've taken a few webinars on RDA, both a free one through ALA called RDA Toolkit: What's New Since August and a paid series, Using RDA: Moving into the Metadata Future.  This includes
RDA: Designated for Current and Future Environments and  New Models of Metadata.  There is a third session in that trilogy called RDA Vocabularies in the Semantic Web, which I'll link to when I've taken it.

The greatest part is that on one level this all sounds like total gobbledy gook to me but on another level I really get it, and it's exciting.  
The worst part is that RDA Toolkit is designed for use in a web environment, not a text environment, and so if I want to learn more about it, I have to pay $195 to get a one-user subscription.  The text version is $150, I think.  But it isn't meant to be used and interacted with as text.

There are so many things going on and I'll try to explain as best as I can.
  • RDA is being translated while it's being developed, and is open to any other translations anyone wants to do.  It's being conceived in a semantic web vocabulary and uses more of a digital way of thinking than AACR2 does.  
  • RDA is meant to be used with an XML encoding schema (instead of MARC).  
  • RDA is making MARC go away. So all the questions about RDA and MARC are being answered with roundabout responses because it's like trying to attach street car lines to carriage ruts.  It's two different technologies/languages/philosophies.  The developers would rather you NOT use MARC please thank you very much.  
  • Now is the time to learn XML.  Not because XML is replacing MARC.  But because the first encoding schema will be XML, and the next will be some technology we don't know about yet.  People will develop RDA Wizard tools like MARC Magician or any program where you just pop in AACR2 info into MARC tags.  But knowing XML will help us learn whatever is coming next!
  • If you attend one of these workshops, please stop asking questions about RDA and MARC.  Asking about RDA and AACR2 doesn't help much either: it's time to move on.
  • RDA will change the way we think about information, as we have changed the way that computers interact with information.  It's a very warm relationship, computers and RDA and people.  I'm psyched.

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