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Thoughts on the Feb 8, 2010 RDA Webinar

February 17th, 2010

On February 8, 2010, ALA Publishing presented a free webinar on the RDA Toolkit.  You can watch the webinar yourself here.

RDA (Resource Description and Access) is the proposed new rules intended to replace AACR2.  The RDA Toolkit is the online interface to the RDA rules, and is expected to be available in June of 2010.

The bulk of the presentation consisted of a demonstration of the Toolkit – giving a preview of what we can expect to see and what kind of functionality will be available.  A very brief set of screenshots is available here.

The online rules will allow easy navigation between the sections needed at any point during cataloging, via links to other points in RDA rules.  It is expected that there will also be external links to OCLC information, MARC documentation, and talks are apparently in progress to have links to ILS (integrated library system- Millennium is an ILS) vendor information – the specifics of what that will entail are not yet clear.

RDA Toolkit will not be available on Cataloger’s Desktop, though there are currently discussions with the Library of Congress to work out a pricing agreement to purchase both resources as well as to possibly provide some degree of integration between the tools.

There will be a searchable AACR2 which will allow look-up of an AACR2 rule with links to the corresponding rule in RDA, there will be a FRBR (Functional Requirements of Bibliographic Records) based drill-down menu with links to corresponding RDA rules, as well as mappings of RDA rules to the appropriate MARC fields.

There have been many delays in the publication of RDA, and many questions that have come up throughout the process of developing both the rules and the Toolkit.  Some of these questions were addressed in the webinar.

Pricing has been one of the major concerns, particularly of smaller libraries, and the recent announcement of the pricing structure has done little to allay the fears of smaller libraries about their ability to afford the RDA Toolkit.

The pricing structure is as follows:

Base price-$325 for one user at a time, unlimited number of registered users.
Additional concurrent users:
2-9     $55
10-19  $50
20+     $45

For those libraries who are part of a consortium (such as LCLS), it was confirmed that there will be special consortial pricing, though the specifics have not yet been determined.

There will also be an open-access period, where libraries can try the new interface at no charge, from the time of the release in June until August 31.  This open-access will require registration.

In the question and answer period, it was made clear that there are currently no plans for a print version of RDA, as the RDA Toolkit is designed to be used as an online tool, and using a print version would not be ideal.  It appears that printing a copy from the online version will be permissible, though any copy printed will be for personal use only.

There was a question about training, and it appears that the only training being offered by ALA Publishing will be online webinars on how to use the Toolkit.  Training on cataloging will be left to other institutions to arrange and implement.

rdaonline.org will be updated as more pricing information becomes available, and will soon include  FAQs to address some common questions.

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