Report of the AALL Representative to the American Library Association,
Association for Library Collections and Technical Services,
Cataloging and Classification Section: Description and Access (CC:DA)
ALA Midwinter Meeting, Dallas, Texas, January 2012
ALA Annual Conference, Anaheim, California, June 2012
Harvard Law School Library
hostage [at] law.harvard.edu
1 August 2012
Primary contact (at ALA): Peter Rolla, chair
The work of CC:DA continued to be focused on RDA (Resource Description & Access) in the past year. RDA is a new cataloging code designed to replace AACR2. The RDA Toolkit was released two years ago. It is an online, subscription-based resource that contains the text of RDA as well as the RDA element set, various mappings, workflows, and related resources. Some libraries have begun applying RDA on at least a partial basis, and the three national libraries in the U.S. (LC, NLM, NAL) announced this spring that enough progress had been made on the improvements they demanded a year ago that they can implement RDA in March 2013. Among those improvements is rewording the text of RDA for greater clarity and readability. Several chapters have been done already and should be published in the RDA Toolkit later this year. Another condition for adopting RDA was the development of a new bibliographic framework to replace the MARC format, which was identified as a requirement to take full advantage of RDA. The Library of Congress is leading an effort called the Bibliographic Framework Transition Initiative to accomplish this goal and has hired an outside consultant to develop an initial model.
CC:DA continues to study proposals for revisions to RDA. The AALL proposal concerning the rules for certain place names, which was first introduced in 2010, has continued to undergo review by the committee; it is close to getting final approval and being sent on to the Joint Steering Committee for Development of RDA (JSC). The AALL representative also served on a couple of CC:DA task forces, including one to review the use of the Chicago Manual of Style in RDA and one to revise the document Building International Descriptive Cataloging Standards.
There are some issues in RDA that still concern law librarians. One of the big changes introduced in RDA has to do with the entry of treaties. Many multilateral treaties that were entered under title according to AACR2 will be entered under the first-named signatory to the treaty under RDA. Although this is consistent with the treatment of other works in RDA (if treaties can be considered collaborations between various signatories), the result is troubling to law catalogers. In addition, it is not always easy to determine the first-named signatory, nor are the sources consistent. The continued use of the uniform titles (or, as they are now known, "preferred titles") "Laws, etc." and "Treaties, etc." has been questioned. The law cataloging community has not come to a consensus about whether to pursue changes to RDA in these areas.