RDA Forum: 2017 Annual Conference

The RDA (Resource Description and Access) Forum was held on Saturday, June 24, 2017, with approximately 90 people in attendance.

James Hennelly (Director, RDA Toolkit) and Judy Kuhagen (3R Project Consultant) shared a presentation that updated the group on the RDA Toolkit Restructure and Redesign Project (3R Project). Their presentation is posted on the presentations page of the RDA Steering Committee (RSC) website.

The “redesign” part of the project will significantly improve the user experience of RDA Toolkit. Hennelly noted that it is time for better, smarter design. With more translations and policy statements to come, the current data structure is not sustainable, and current tools and practices are inefficient and unreliable.

The Project will include a restructuring of data and work processes. This aspect of restructuring includes better integration with RDA Reference, moving RDA text into a new structured authoring tool, and an improved environment for RDA translators.

At the same time, the content of RDA will be restructured to implement the IFLA Library Reference Model (LRM). The LRM is an update and consolidation of three earlier conceptual models, and will form the foundational basis of RDA. Five new entities from the LRM will be added to RDA: Nomen, Agent, Collective Agent, Place, and Time-span. All existing RDA entities (except Person) are compatible refinements of LRM. Person is not compatible because LRM excludes non-humans, but RDA will include possibility of access to a non-human name present on manifestations as the “represented name of creator.”

There will be some changes to RDA content in addition to implementing the LRM. The “4-fold path” (four data recording methods) will be explained and incorporated and new elements will be added to RDA.

The RSC asked for feedback on the advisability of adding access points as elements, and on whether the concept of “core” elements should be retained in RDA itself rather than given in application profiles or policy statements.

The likely structure for the redesigned Toolkit will be general chapters to provide guidance followed by twelve entity chapters, each containing its elements. The RSC is considering two views of Toolkit content: a “data dictionary” view of the elements with their related instructions, and an entity set view (called “RDA: Element Set” in the current Toolkit) with a more graphical display.

Work on the 3R Project has been underway since February 2017. The redesigned, restructured Toolkit is expected to be made public in April 2018; in the meantime, RDA English language content is frozen. The current Toolkit site will remain accessible for one year following the release of the redesigned Toolkit.

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