RDA in harmony with Symphony and is looming on the Horizon

 is the next big thing in the library arena since AACR2, Format Integration, OpenURL, Federated Searching, and Discovery frontends.  FRBR is actually part of that Fab Five but has always taken a back row seat until RDA came about and is now being used as the foundation for RDA.  Resource Description and Access, or RDA for short, is the new metadata description standard that was developed for libraries to accommodate a wider variety of formats.  This new standard is more flexible in describing both print and digital resources.  Data is adaptable to new and emerging database structures and is replacing the rickety AACR2 standard.  This will benefit researchers greatly and improve their discovery experience.  Library users will have better access points to resources being sought. The benefits are focused on the users and researchers trying to find, select, and access the needed resource.  The new standard is being adopted by libraries internationally. 

SirsiDynix is committed to supporting RDA in both the Symphony and Horizon library systems.  We’ve formed a Strategic Partner Program (SPP) around RDA to make sure we capture the needs of our libraries.  We had an overwhelming response to this call for SPP partners!  The SPP program is a continuous feedback and reporting process that essentially puts our libraries in the driver’s seat in shaping the final product or feature. 

We are committed in helping our customers make the transition to this new standard with as little disruption as possible to their daily workflow.  We’ve accomplished this by creating a step by step Mentor video in adding the new RDA tags to their MARC Formats in Symphony.  We’ve created tools for your library to automatically update your formats and maps described in MARC 21 Bibliographic and Authority Updates 9 through 14.  Any new installation of our ILS will have these formats delivered.  Once a library’s catalog formats and tables are updated with the new RDA tags, the catalog will be able to import and export RDA records.  It is important to note that both AACR2 and RDA records can coexist in the same catalog. 

As librarians and paraprofessionals learn to describe their materials and conform to the new standard, SirsiDynix has integrated the RDA Toolkit into the Cataloging modules of Symphony and Horizon.  This is a context-sensitive linking to both the RDA Toolkit and Library of Congress MARC Description pages.  Both these sites will help familiarize the cataloger to the new RDA rules while creating metadata descriptions.  With a click of a mouse, the entire RDA tag definitions are available to the cataloger.

Near-term RDA support will include closed vocabularies for specific RDA tags (i.e. 336, 337, 338) and patron-facing UI’s that will take advantage of the new tags to support a better user experience and discovery of materials.  As we get feedback from our SPP partners, SirsiDynix is committed in supporting RDA in helping libraries achieve excellence in metadata description and access to their resources.


Ranny Lacanienta
Director of Product Strategy