Past, present and future: developments in British Library cataloguing
- The cataloguing landscape for the British Library is changing at an ever-faster rate. After many years of acquiring and cataloguing its collections in UKMARC on a variety of bespoke unrelated systems, the British Library moved to MARC21 when it migrated from these systems to the Aleph Integrated Library System in 2004. This has facilitated the integration of our workflows and the integrated presentation of our catalogue data to the public via our Web OPAC. The standardisation obtained by MARC21 and the functionality of Aleph have also enabled us to obtain, enhance, and share bibliographic data much more effectively and efficiently, and on a much larger scale than before. We are attempting to enrich our data through a variety of means: - "traditional" means such as upgrading bibliographic records, converting card catalogues, correcting holdings information - Providing new ways to access our data by recently implementing the Ex Libris Primo search interface, investigating access to article-level content, digitisation projects, and so on. Primo will provide access in an integrated way to those collections already on Aleph and to collections which are not able to be represented on Aleph (e.g. manuscripts and recorded sound), and will facilitate the retrieval and display of materials not previously accessible via the Web OPAC (e.g. journal articles). The BL is also participating in the development of RDA: Resource Description and Access. The BL is currently developing plans to evaluate and test RDA in 2009-10, with a view to implementation during 2011. The realisation of benefits from RDA implementation will be constrained by existing system architectures. Our data must be sufficient to support these developments, in terms of record content, relationships between records, and links between the metadata and the actual content. The ever-increasing dependence on records from elsewhere introduces challenges for data interchange, especially as new standards such as RDA and new ways of expressing data (e.g. in XML formats) are implemented. There are interesting times ahead!