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. The medical field has advanced through vaccinations and stem-cell research. The field of education has progressed from learning through lecture to learning through differentiation. We have also seen amazing advances in technology through cell phones, laptops and IPods. Why then, should the field of librarian science be any different? To truly move from “librarians” to information professionals, we too must advance. To do this we must leave behind the AACR2R and move to RDA or Resource Description and Access as a way of cataloging our materials. That is why, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, you must find AACR2R GUILTY of not being prepared for the 21st century. WEAKNESSES OF AACR2R: Though there are many to choose from, I am going to point out to you three weaknesses in the current system: 1.Catalogers are left to their own judgment with little support. 2. There is language that is inconsistent and confusing. 3. It is neither prepared for nor adapting well to materials in the 21st century. 1. In her article “Taking a Look at the Draft RDA”, Intner (2009), describes the concept known as “cataloger’s judgment.” It is defined as “cataloging rules that are possible to interpret without outside assistance” (p.16). AACR2R does little to aid in the judgment of the cataloger. One area in which it falls short is the transcription of errors into catalog records. It gives a long winded explanation, but no examples. Exhibit A slide: (Example from article) Other times they are asked to deal with decisions that have nothing to do with cataloging. In her 2008 article, “RDA: Progress or Problems” Intner says that some catalogers, instead of cataloging are, “determining the scale of a map…or figuring out the shortest form of a publisher's name that could be understood internationally” (p. 14).
2. Much of the language used in AACR2R is more than 30 years old and is confusing. The instructions are indirect and give more explanation into reasoning behind an author’s intent. It is not direct, explicit, nor to the point. Another linguistic issue is what Intner (2008), calls “British-isms”. Instead of saying “period” as we would in American English, the AACR2R term is “full stop.” This vocabulary has to be learned before a cataloger can do their job correctly. Other terms with hidden meaning such as "titles proper," "corporate bodies," "multiple bibliographic identities," (Intner, 2008, p.14) have to be simplified and understood. Exhibit B slide: (Pseudonym example)
3. One of the biggest problems with AACR2R is that we are in a time of technological change and advances. It has not prepared itself for new formats and instead of anticipating changes and allowing for growth, it, according to Oliver 2007, “is reactive, in the sense of reacting to change after the change has happened” (p.250). In trying to react to these changes, their rules for new formats such as websites and e-journals were inconsistent and illogical. Because of these problems, people began to re-evaluate AACR2R and in 1997 held a conference in Toronto, the International Conference on the Principles & Future Development of AACR. After realizing a revision would not be enough because, as Oliver states, there were fundamental problems with the way AACR2 was organized, they knew they needed a new direction completely. Thus, RDA or resource description and access was born.
WHAT IS RDA? (Slide) RDA , or resource description and access is the new cataloging standard that will replace AACR2R later this year. According to its website, rdaonline.org, “RDA goes beyond in that it provides guidelines on cataloging digital resources and a stronger emphasis on helping users find, identify, select, and obtain the information they want” It consists of several parts including the introduction, description chapter, relationship chapters, and authority control, and appendices. It is also directly aligned with FRBR or the Function Requirements for Bibliographic Records. (Adamich, 2008, p. 68). RDA also addresses unclear terms, will reduce discrepancies in descriptions, and “address the cataloging of digital resources, three dimensional objects, visual materials, manuscripts, and archives more effectively” (Adamich, 2008, p.68). RDA is also more efficient than AACR2R because it will cover materials in multiple languages that can be used world wide, not just in the United States. RDA guidelines are working to get away from, as Seikel (2009) states, “the anglocentricty of AACR2” (p.747), and instead promote international use. Most importantly, RDA is geared towards the future of library science, or focus on the user rather than the item. In her 2007 article, “Changing to RDA” Oliver states that, “RDA focuses on users and the information they need. The guidelines are based on principles that guide, not rules that constrict. The goal is to facilitate the process of resource description by following a logical decision process. The standard is designed to be easy to use and to generate records that contain data that is relevant and important to users” (p.250).
CLOSING STATEMENT: Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I have given you three reasons why AACR2R has outlived it’s usefulness: 1.Catalogers are left to their own judgment with little support. 2. There is language that is inconsistent and confusing. 3. It is neither prepared for nor adapting well to materials in the 21st century. I have also pointed out how RDA is a better choice for our catalogers and better prepared for new formats that may come about in the future. As librarians it has always been up to us to pave the way to what is new. Librarians are the facilitators to the gateway of the future. You have no other options but to find the AACR2R guilty, and be ready to move to RDA.
CROSS X Isn’t it true that much of AACR2R is repetitive? (Intner, 2008, p.14) Yes. While each format group has a chapter dedicated to it describing its rules, many simply tell the cataloger to go back to chapter 1. How exactly does AACR2R plan to deal with new formats of items needing to be cataloged in the upcoming years? (Oliver, 2007,p.250) Because AACR2R has little room for expansion, the plan is to move to RDA. Are AACR2R’s rules general enough to allow for the incorporation of materials in new or electronic formats? (Adamich, 2008, p.67) No, and in fact they are quite the opposite. The rules are very specific and don’t bend to the requirements new formats demand.
Isn’t it true that RDA is better prepared for the cataloging of new resources? Yes, especially in school libraries. It is specifically incorporating new formats such as streaming videos and online document formats (PDF, XML, etc) brought about in the 21st century.
Prosecution Direct Exam of Angela Christina Rawlings (Nicole Penley) Librarian and AACR2R/RDA expert
Can you please state your name for the record? (Staci) - Angela Christina Rawlings (Nicole)
Ms. Rawlings, why are you hear today? (Staci)
- To discuss the faults in AACR2 and give a solution to the problem. (Nicole)
You are expert on AACR2R and RDA correct? (Staci) - Yes (Nicole)
What is AACR2R? (Staci) - Anglo- American Cataloging Rules, second edition revised (Nicole)
Does AACR2R have any faults? (Staci) - Yes. (Nicole)
Isn’t it true that much of AACR2R is repetitive? (Staci)
Yes. While each format group has a chapter dedicated to it describing its own rules, many simply tell the cataloger to go back and reread chapter 1. (Nicole)
Are AACR2R’s rules general enough to allow for the incorporation of materials in new or electronic formats? (Staci)
No. In fact they are quite the opposite. The rules are very specific and don’t bend to the requirements new formats demand. (Nicole)
Isn’t it true that RDA is better prepared for the cataloging of new resources? (Staci)
Yes, especially in school libraries. It is specifically incorporating new formats such as websites, streaming videos, blogs, and online document formats (PDF, XML, etc) brought about in the 21st century. (Nicole)
How exactly does AACR2R plan to deal with new formats of items needing to be cataloged in the upcoming years? (Staci)
It doesn’t. AACR2R was created before the conception of many of our new technologies and formats of materials. Because they left no room for the expansion of these new formats, and because the rigid rules do not allow for further expansion, the plan is to move to RDA. (Nicole)
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