Internationalization of RDA Toolkit During the 3R Project

21 Sep 2020

Internationalization of RDA Toolkit During the 3R Project.

Gordon Dunsire, Technical Team Liaison Officer.

This is an informational report on progress made during the RDA Toolkit Restructure and Redesign (3R) Project to support the internationalization strategy of the RDA Board.

A paper discussion at the October 2020 RDA Steering Committee (RSC) meeting.

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6 Responses to Internationalization of RDA Toolkit During the 3R Project

  1. Thomas Dousa says:

    This comment pertains to the wording of Principle 4 on page 1 of the document.

    The five principles given on page 1 of the document are all couched with the modal verb form “should”, which, in linguistic situations such as the statement of principles, typically indicates obligation or propriety in a situation where the action denoted might or might not be carried out (i.e., “One should respect the rights of others” = “It is right that one should respect the rights of others” [in a situation where it is possible to do or not to do so].” This kind of formulation works very well for Principles 1-3, and 5. For example, Principle 1, “The design and development of the standard should support international adoption”, easily fits this profile, since it can be understood as meaning “In a situation where a standard could be designed and developed in such a way that it either might or might not support international adoption, it is right that the standard support international adoption.”

    However, this formulation doesn’t seem to work quite as well for Principle 4, which reads “Including global perspectives should benefit all parties involved.” This sentence seems rather unnatural to my ear. The inclusion of global perspectives is not something that obligatorily leads to the benefit of all parties involved: including these perspectives is something that simply either proves beneficial or it does not. We are not dealing with obligation here but rather with a calculation that including global perspectives is highly likely to prove beneficial for all parties involved. Needless to say, such a principle is different from a principle stating an obligation or indicating propriety, such as Principle 1 above. For this reason, I suggest amending the wording of Principle 4 to read “Including global perspectives shall benefit all the parties involved.” Such a formulation of the principle indicates confidence that the inclusion of global perspectives is highly likely to have a beneficial effect for all parties without giving the misleading impression that this is a matter of obligation.

  2. Thomas Dousa says:

    In the table listing the features supported by internationalization principles on pages 2-6 of the document, some of the descriptions of features are rendered in normal Roman typeface while others are rendered in Italic typeface but no explanation is given for this variation in typeface. Perhaps the explanatory text prefacing the table could state what distinction, if any, is intended by this variation.

  3. Ryan Tamares says:

    Comment from AALL:

    Agreement on the comment “that the RDA still has Anglo-American focus but that it has been de-emphasized.” However, the example used is Christianity, false because Christianity is not an American religion—false in its assumptions that Christianity is a ‘western’ or Anglo-American belief system.

  4. Gina Solares says:

    In addition to the guiding principles, were there specific goals for internationalization during the 3R Project, and have they been met? The author states that the “3R Project … is now scheduled to finish at the end of 2020” and that “The internationalization … is by no means complete.” However, this report does not include a list of outstanding internationalization tasks. Readers would have a better sense of the extent of the progress made if, in addition to the List of Achievements, the report also included the scope of work remaining.

  5. Kathryn Lybarger says:

    The matrix of which achievements support which principles does seem kind of arbitrary in places. Much of this list does sound like it would make the site easier to maintain in general (including for internationalization aspects), but I don’t always see how it matches up to the principles as marked on the chart. For example, “Guidance on well-formed RDA metadata and conformance to RDA is included in the Toolkit” is said to support Principle 1 (agreed, this would help with support international adoption), but also Principle 4 (how does this include a global perspective?), and Principle 5 (and how does it make integrating that perspective sustainable?).

    In the achievement “User-contributed content can be shared with all Toolkit users as well as ‘local’ users”, why is ‘local’ in quotes? I know that local users may not all be in the same physical location, but local is used throughout the document for similar situations without the scare quotes (local examples, local knowledge, local communities, etc.). Is there another meaning here?

    In the achievement “RDA Reference content is encoded as linked data in several RDF serializations, and in comma-separated variable spreadsheets”, should that be “comma-separated value spreadsheets”?

  6. Thomas Dousa says:

    I agree with Ryan Tamares’s “Comment from IILL” that it is incorrect to equate the Christianity tout court with (Anglo-)American religion tout court. However, one might argue that in the late 19th and early 20th century, when the basis of Anglo-American cataloging was being laid, there was a distinct (Protestant) Christian bias to the treatment of religion that did tinge many of the knowledge organization systems involved in cataloging practice (access point systems, subject headings, classification systems): some of this residual bias may still be present in the greater granularity of detail accorded to the treatment of Christian materials. A more nuanced explanation of the historical reason for the bias in the text would clarify the relationship of the “Christianity” example to the general statement about biases in the Anglo-American cataloging tradition.

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