Conversations with Catalogers in the 21st Century

By Elaine R. Sanchez | Go to book overview

AFTERWORD

    Sheila S. Intner and Susan S. Lazinger

If we were to sum up the dominant feeling running through Conversations with Catalogers in one metaphor, it would be fear of flying. And the metaphorical aircraft would be Resource Description and Access (RDA).

A striking number of the chapters in this varied collection by illustrious catalogers from all over the world reflects the apprehension engendered by the replacement for AACR2. RDA is more theoretical in content than any cataloging code in history, and so controversial that every time it has been due to be published, a cry demanding more testing has arisen from the global cataloging community. Finally scheduled for release in June 2010, the coming of RDA, even among a group of catalogers as knowledgeable and seasoned as the ones writing this book, is causing far more anxiety than anticipation. The plain fact is that most of the authors in Conversations with Catalogers think that the change from AACR2 to RDA is going to be a change for the worse. RDA will be published before Conversations with Catalogers, so time will tell how accurate or significant the issues raised in this current work will be once (or if) the code is adopted.

Why the anxiety? The fears are many and varied. Helen Buhler feels that RDA’s writing is so lacking in clarity that even experienced catalogers have difficulty understanding newly released chapters. That RDA is based on the highly theoretical Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records (FRBR) does not improve its clarity, nor does the “shortage of clearly stated principles,” in a code that was billed as “principle-based.” J. McRee Elrod notes that even though RDA is meant to be general enough for use outside the library community, it is so

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