In-Person Training: Testimonial from CILIP SW

As the UK has a roadmap to ease lockdown, so in-person training can resume, I’m grateful to have received this testimonial from Catherine Chorley for some RDA training for CILIP SW in 2019.

“Anne led a training workshop on cataloguing using RDA standards for members of the CILIP South West Member Network in April 2019. As Chair of the Member Network’s Committee, I specifically sought Anne’s service …

The interest in this event was vast, and there were many email enquiries both preceding and following the event about the possibility of a repeat event, or for Anne to provide her training other regional member networks. This was largely due to Anne’s accessible and approachable teaching style, together with the comprehensive programme she put together to give attendees an introduction to cataloguing and the use of MARC/RDA.

What was evident was the great deal of care and forethought that had gone into the preparation for the event, with different cataloguing examples and exercises having been chosen to address a diversity of cataloguing quandaries and challenges.

From feedback gathered after the event, it was evident that attendees appreciated the opportunity to learn from Anne’s expertise … Comments mentioned being able to understand RDA as a direct result of the training, and the value of training in a frequently-neglected area of librarianship in many practitioners’ workplaces. Attendees also valued the depth of Anne’s teaching – they valued the knowledge about the rationale underpinning cataloguing and classification protocols and found this helped them in applying the theory in practice. This was further aided by the blend of theory teaching and practical application that Anne provided throughout the day …

In answer to the feedback question on what was enjoyable about the event, one attendee succinctly remarked, ‘All of it!’.”

Many thanks to Catherine for her kind words, and to the CILIP SW participants for a really fun day in Bristol. I hope to be able to get back to the South West when the world opens up again!

Catherine’s full testimonial is available on linkedin (scroll down to “Recommendations”).

Event Report: Ahava Cohen on Internationalising RDA

As a background to a fascinating discussion on the Internationalising of RDA, Ahava shared that she fell in love with RDA as a student, but Hebrew language materials were not covered. Over the course of her PhD, she talked to RDA decision-makers and realised that until she started asking them about it, Hebrew hadn’t been on their radar.

Rather than seeing this lack of awareness as off-putting, Ahava realised that there was an opportunity – within the Israeli and Hebrew cataloguing communities and within the RDA cataloguing community. She’s now the Head of Hebrew Cataloguing at the National Library of Israel and the Chair of Eurig (the European RDA Interest Group), and its back-up delegate to the RSC (RDA Steering Committee).

The RSC has a page on its website dedicated to its Internationalization Principles, which opens with the paragraph:

The RDA Board’s vision for RDA is a global standard enabling discovery of content. Despite ongoing revisions to remove the Anglo-American focus present in the original RDA Toolkit, the Board acknowledges that this perspective remains in some elements and instructions. The Board is committed to improving the international focus of RDA.

It struck me listening to the rest of Ahava’s seminar just how much we owe her for her dedication to engaging with the wider RDA community, not just with regard to the languages in which she catalogues herself (Hebrew, Arabic, Cyrillic (Russian, Ukranian), and English), but in working to open out discussion beyond the groups who have traditionally engaged with RDA (and before it the Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules).

One of the key surprises to some attendees at our seminar was that RDA triples (based in turn on RDF triples) do not equate to the structure of some languages, including Hebrew. So whenever we see a presentation that discusses subject, predicate and object (the three forms of triples) as intuitive, we should be aware that they are only intuitive for some, not all, language groups.

Other interesting examples included the measuring of timespans (midnight-midnight vs. nightfall to nightfall); capitalization (not all languages have capital letters), tribal names, and the numbering of leaves and pages. Ahava gave the example of the form Talmud leaf 1A, leaf 1B and so on, which is exactly the sequence any scholar in the field would expect it to be given, where RDA would give preference to a number of pages.

There are also issues around language “ownership.” Who “owns” French? France or Quebec?

If you are interested in these issues, you might like to read the report Ahava prepared for the RSC on Western and Christian Bias in RDA. If you are active in cataloguing and have encountered examples of bias, you might contribute to this ongoing survey Ahava is running.

As Violet Fox said to Ahava on Twitter after her seminar, “Thank you for sharing your efforts so far. I’m glad to have you leading this important work!”

Dr Ahava Cohen on Internationalising RDA

Ahava Cohen

Our final General Seminar of 2020 will be led by Dr Ahava Cohen, on Internationalising RDA.

Ahava Cohen leads the Hebrew Cataloguing Department at the National Library of Israel and is in charge of Hebrew policy for Mazal, Israel’s multilingual, multiscript authority database. As such she has a deep interest in making formerly Anglo-American cataloguing codes work for a broader range of languages and cultures. In 2019 she wrote a report for the RSC on the Western and Christian bias of the cataloguing guidelines; the report was accepted as part of the RSC’s focus on removing such biases and internationalising RDA. Ahava will discuss the work involved in identifying bias in cataloguing guidelines and the emotional labour of trying to reconcile the varying needs of language and cultural groups.

Ahava Cohen (Dr. RDA) is chair of the European RDA Interest Group (EURIG) and the backup European Region representative to the RDA Steering Committee (RSC). She graduated with a certificate in LIS in 2013 and her 2019 doctorate focused on the localization of RDA to a country which catalogues in four languages, three of which have yet to benefit from a translation of RDA. Her professional interest lies in balancing international standards with decolonizing and deassimilating the catalogue while maintaining the high production output required by busy cataloguing departments.

Registration: https://beginningcataloguing.teachable.com/p/general-seminar-december/

General Seminar Series Autumn 2020

23 October: Metadata Matters, led by Emma Booth

Emma will draw not only on her experience writing the National Acquisitions Group Quality of Shelf-ready Metadata report but also on her experience as eResources Metadata Specialist at University of Manchester.

If you love (or loathe!) e-resources, cataloguing standards, library management systems, or “marketing” library services to your users (and senior management), join us to hear Emma’s current thoughts on why what we do is vitally important, and to share your own ideas in the discussion.

Emma Booth is e-Resources Metadata Specialist at the University of Manchester Library, and the author of the National Acquisition Group’s report, Quality of Shelf-ready Metadata.

Full details and registration.

Note: Subscribers to October’s Beginning Cataloguing Monthly should remember they have a 50% off coupon code in the newsletter.

19 November: The Unwritten Book, led by Yvonne Lewis

Yvonne Lewis is the longest-serving member of the National Trust’s team of book curators. As such, she has encountered just about every form of evidence of book collecting you can imagine. In this seminar, she’s going to present on John Bankes’s travels in Egypt, Syria and Palestine (c. 1815-17), which he meant to write up but never got round to. Yvonne will discuss his notes, drawings and a lovely set of litho stones held at NT Kingston Lacy.

Yvonne has worked in historic collections since graduating with her MA LIS in 1992. Over the years, she has taught hundreds of people how to catalogue and supervised many work placement students, often providing them with their first introduction to special collections librarianship.

Her research interests include 17th and 18th century private libraries, book ownership, the reading experience, and maps and globes. She has contributed many entries to the English Short Title Catalogue (ESTC) and Incunabula Short Title Catalogue (ISTC) and recently added to her knowledge of Bibliography and Book History by completing an MRes in Book History at the Institute of English Studies, University of London.

You can find out more about Yvonne on her profile page at beginningcataloguing.com

Full details and registration.

Subscribe to Beginning Cataloguing Monthly before Thursday 15 October to receive the subscriber’s 50% off coupon code in the newsletter.

9 December 2020, led by Ahava Cohen

Does RDA represent your culture?

Ahava Cohen leads the Hebrew Cataloguing Department at the National Library of Israel and is in charge of Hebrew policy for Mazal, Israel’s multilingual, multiscript authority database. As such she has a deep interest in making formerly Anglo-American cataloguing codes work for a broader range of languages and cultures. In 2019 she wrote a report for the RSC on the Western and Christian bias of the cataloguing guidelines; the report was accepted as part of the RSC’s focus on removing such biases and internationalising RDA. Ahava will discuss the work involved in identifying bias in cataloguing guidelines and the emotional labour of trying to reconcile the varying needs of language and cultural groups.

Ahava Cohen (Dr. RDA) is chair of the European RDA Interest Group (EURIG) and the backup European Region representative to the RDA Steering Committee (RSC). She graduated with a certificate in LIS in 2013 and her 2019 doctorate focused on the localization of RDA to a country which catalogues in four languages, three of which have yet to benefit from a translation of RDA. Her professional interest lies in balancing international standards with decolonizing and deassimilating the catalogue while maintaining the high production output required by busy cataloguing departments.

Full details and registration.

Book all three seminars for £30 (including VAT)

Open for Booking: Beginning Bibliographic Models

Be a part of our first full online course, and pay half the usual price, at £75 + VAT (£90).

Beginning Bibliographic Models is open for booking now, with the first of four units released on Monday 6 July.

It’s designed to be completed in your own time, with a range of presentations, readings, and learning activities released each Monday in July. There’s a free video introduction available here, alongside an overview of the full curriculum, which is:

Continue reading “Open for Booking: Beginning Bibliographic Models”