A Practical Introduction to the New RDA Toolkit

This preconference to the 2018 ALA Annual Conference in New Orleans was held on Friday, June 22. The event sold out, with 100 people attending.

White sheet cake with Resource Description & Access (RDA) logo
Preconference participants celebrated the rollout of the beta RDA Toolkit with cake and champagne.

The preconference was the first opportunity for public questions and comments about the beta version of the restructure and redesign of the Resource Description & Access (RDA) Toolkit, which was released on June 13, 2018. The beta Toolkit can be accessed through a button at the original (current) Toolkit and is available to those with current Toolkit subscriptions. A free 30-day trial subscription to RDA Toolkit includes the beta version as well as the original Toolkit.

Preconference presentations were recorded, and the recordings as well as the slides are posted on the presentations page of the RDA Steering Committee (RSC) website.

The preconference began with a talk by Gordon Dunsire, chair of RSC, titled “From Big Bang to Beta: An Overview of the 3R Project.” This talk set the stage for the day’s events, providing background information about the purpose, the processes, and the outcomes.

James Hennelly (ALA Digital Reference) followed with a demonstration of the beta Toolkit, focusing on the structure and functionality. A pre-recorded version of Hennelly’s presentation is available with audio and video on the RDA Toolkit blog. A handout “Where to find examples in the beta Toolkit” was also provided.

Kate James, RDA Examples Editor, talked about the “Basics of Attributes and Relationships,” describing the change from relationship designators to relationship elements including changes to some element labels. She also demonstrated the new Relationship Matrix. A “Where Did It Go?” handout was provided as a finding aid to assist catalogers.

After lunch Kathy Glennan, chair-elect of the RDA Steering Committee, illustrated “Using the new Toolkit: Creating a Personal Name ‘Authority Record.’” Glennan used a single real example to walk through the choices for name of person, preferred name of person, and variant name of person, choices which then were transformed into an authorized access point for person with variant access points.

Dunsire returned to the podium to provide more detail on the new Timespan entity by using a specific question raised on RDA-L in “Dates, approximately.”

Clément Oury (Data, Network, and Standards Department, ISSN International Centre) talked about “Diachronic works: future development from the ISSN International Centre perspective.” His presentation focused on the new approach to diachronic works (a work that is planned to be embodied over time) as an implementation of IFLA Library Reference Model (LRM) modeling, and discussed issues surrounding the collocation of serials and the development of clustering techniques.

Deborah Fritz, chair of the RSC’s Aggregates Working Group, spoke on “The treatment of aggregates and serials in the new Toolkit.” She shared definitions, showed the places in the beta Toolkit where more information can be found, and provided details on the new elements in Toolkit that identify and relate aggregates.

Hennelly and Dunsire concluded the presentations by describing next steps for beta site content and functionality. The highest priority is stabilizing the English text of RDA so that it can be released to policy statement writers and translators. The beta Toolkit will be continuously updated, so instructions may change, but a September release is also planned.

The rollout of the beta Toolkit was celebrated at the end of the day with cake and champagne.

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