Archive for March, 2010

Welcome to the class!

March 28, 2010

Although I’m still working hard to get things together for the class, I’ve very excited about getting started this week.  A big caveat for all of you to keep in mind: I’ve never taught an online course, and I’ll definitely need your help to ensure that what I’m doing works for you.  Think of this class as a big adventure that we’re all signed up to begin next week.  For you, it will be exposure to the “hidden” side of RDA–the data.  For me, it will be another foray into teaching–this time with a very volatile topic.  I have another blog “Metadata Matters,” and the most recent post contains some of my thoughts about teaching this class.  Feel free to comment there as well as here …

I’ve also created an introductory screencast for the course, which will address some of my expectations, a bit more about what we’ll cover and my approach to the material, and nitty gritty topics like grading. I mention in that screencast that I have a definite point of view (maybe that should be plural?) about RDA, and I want to explain a bit about what that is and where it comes from, before we get started.  I want you to be very aware of the players in this ongoing drama, and the context of their opinions as related to the topics at hand, and it makes sense for me to begin with myself.

I have been an outspoken critic of the initial phases of RDA development, as outlined in the DLib article that Karen Coyle and I wrote in January 2007, which is on your reading list.  When we talk about the major threads of criticism that have followed RDA since it’s inception, you’ll see that the article falls into the “not enough change” camp.  I can honestly say that I still feel that way about the guidance instruction (or textual rules, whichever you prefer).  But, shortly after that article hit the streets, I became the co-chair of the DCMI/RDA Task Group (which I’ll talk about more as we continue), and I’ve been working through the issues of RDA-as-data ever since then. What this means in practice is that I don’t worry much about the textual rules–I let other people worry about that–so I’ll have very little to say about the text except as it relates to the data.  That relationship is a complicated one, and is likely to change over time as RDA is rolled out and used (or not). But I do worry (literally) about the data–the element sets and value vocabularies specifically, and how they’re expressed.  So we’ll be talking about this pretty extensively over the next ten weeks, and I hope you’ll find the journey worthwhile.

Please, please contact me if you have questions, concerns, suggestions, etc.  I’m learning through this course, too, and I hope the steepness of my personal learning curve doesn’t get in your way.

Stay tuned!