About the U.S. National Libraries Test Plan for RDA
In response to concerns about RDA (Resource Description and Access) raised by the Library of Congress Working Group on the Future of Bibliographic Control, the three U.S. national libraries--the Library of Congress (LC), the National Library of Medicine (NLM) and the National Agricultural Library (NAL)--made a commitment to the further development and completion of RDA. The three libraries agreed to make a joint decision on whether or not to implement RDA, based on the results of a test of both RDA and the Web product. The goal of the test is to assure the operational, technical, and economic feasibility of RDA. Testers will include the three national libraries and the broader U.S. library community.
To this end, the three national libraries have established a Steering Committee that is responsible for overall coordination of the formal testing process among the three national libraries and selected partners, as well as for developing the testing methodologies and training material. In order to manage and coordinate the testing process effectively, the Steering Committee will limit the number of formal test partners to approximately 20. Most test partners will be organizations or libraries; some may be individuals who have volunteered to participate. To ensure that the U.S. cataloging community is represented as completely as possible, the test partners will include consortia, book vendors/jobbers, and library school educators, as well as representatives of archives and public, academic, school, government, and special libraries. System developers and system vendors are also encouraged to participate in the testing and to make use of the RDA records created by the participants. The testing methodologies will be made available on this site, so that any who wish to test RDA in their own environment can do so, even if they are not part of the formal testing plan. This site will offer a mechanism for these additional testers to share their results with the Steering Committee and the community.
The testing period is expected to last approximately six months. It will begin when the online version of RDA is released (currently projected for July 2009 or later). The first three months of the testing period will be devoted to training and practice in using the online tool and becoming familiar with the new text. The second three months will be devoted to the creation of test records. An online survey tool will made available to the test partners to record both quantitative and qualitative information about the record creation process and the resulting records. At the end of the testing period the Steering Committee will take approximately three months to analyze the results of the testing, as well as feedback from others in the U.S. community.
Updates and documentation related to the testing plan will be made available on this site.