Two members of the SUNCAT team attended the Aleph Cataloguing Module subgroup meeting at the British Library, St. Pancras on the 28th April. (Aleph is the LMS that SUNCAT runs on.)
It was a very useful day, encompassing a presentation on RDA (Resource Description and Access) and one on the British Library’s batch loading processes.
The discussion following RDA raised many pertinent questions, including how Aleph will handle the changes to the cataloguing rules, which will become more FRBR-ised (FRBR = Function Requirements for Bibliographic Records). How records will be retrospectively converted to work in a FRBR-ised environment remains a question that is currently unanswered. RDA is a drastic change from the current bibliographic description rules; so much of a change that the Library of Congress’ Future of Bibliographic Control Working Group has recommended that work on RDA be suspended until further testing of the FRBR model can be carried out.
The debate provided much food for thought for SUNCAT: for example, how will SUNCAT display records that are following RDA alongside records that are in MARC21?
Regarding the presentation on the British Library’s batch loading processes, it was interesting to note that the British Library converts its data in a similar way to the method used by SUNCAT for processing data from its contributing libraries.
The next meeting will be held in a years’ time. By then, the layout of RDA will be more established, so there should be a better idea of how it will display in different LMS, and how the cataloguing workflow will be altered. The theory is sound; the implementation needs further work.