Free FRBR/RDA Cataloging Tool + Online Catalogue
we are glad to introduce the new version of AlKindi (http://alkindi.ideo-cairo.org
), the online catalogue of IDEO (Dominican Institute for Oriental Studies, Cairo).
IDEO is a research institute specialised in the texts of the first millennium of Arabic and Islamic culture (7th‒16th centuries). Our collection gathers 125,000 monographs and 1,800 journals. We believe that the value of such a catalog stems not only from the quantity of documents it describes but also from the quality of its metadata: we have 20,000 records of classical Arabic works from the first Hijri millennium and 14,000 authority records of the same period.
The new version of AlKindi is natively built on FRBR/RDA. Since no FRBR/RDA cataloging tool existed on the market, we have developed our own software suite AlKindi, with which we work since November 2013, as well as an OPAC that was released on March 30, 2015. The cataloging tool can be freely tried on this website: http://cs-demo.ideo-cairo.org/
(login: ideo, password: ideo).
We are also willing to distribute it as a freeware. Please contact us if you are considering adopting it. We believe it can also be used as a pedagogical tool to train catalogers to FRBR/RDA.
Our practical experience in the field has led us to take the decision to drop the Unimarc frame for cataloging. Implementing the FRBR/RDA standards genuinely was more efficient than adding fields to Unimarc records. However, we intend to develop in the near future an exportation/importation tool in the Unimarc format. Our database is structured according to the different FRBR entities (Work, Expression, Manifestation, Item, Authority) and we have full freedom to connect these entities together, either “vertically” from the Work to the Items, or “horizontally” at each level, according to the RDA relationship designators. All authorities (except geographical matters and concepts) have been merged in one table (persons, families, corporate bodies, meetings) and they can be connected to each of the four levels, Work, Expression, Manifestation and Item.
The data migration was an extremely laborious process and has generated a great amount of duplicates, especially at the level of Works, in the case of the existence of more than one Manifestation of the same Work. The Expression level is probably the most difficult one to identify, and we have decided to postpone the systematic reduction of duplicates at that level to a later phase.
Today, two years after the data migration our database contains 187,552 Work records (including 20,000 records from the Classical Arabic heritage); 190,922 Expression records; 191,971 Manifestation records; and 84,213 Item records (piece-analytical Manifestations do not have items). We estimate that 12% of the Manifestation records are part of a complex WEMI (as opposed to a simple WEMI, where there is only one record at each level). When all Work duplicates will have been treated, we estimate that this percentage may approach 20%, but this will probably take a few more years to achieve.
Designing the OPAC was also a real challenge due to the enormous amount of data now available at all levels and due to the factorisation of the information at higher levels. In clear, data which is encoded at higher levels is relevant to all subsidiary levels and should be displayed. For example, at the level of the Work, it is relevant to display the Item’s call number. But below a Work, there can be more than one Expression, below one Expression, more than one Manifestation, and below one Manifestation, more than one Item. And these levels can be connected. The challenge was to present relevant information in a synthetic way. There is obviously a lot of work still to do. For example, we have decided so far to only display detailed pages for the Work and Manifestation records. The information of the two other levels, Expression and Item, are visible on these two main levels. But this will certainly evolve in the future.
Please visit our catalogue here: http://alkindi.ideo-cairo.org
It is available in three languages: English, Arabic and French.
Thank you for your attention. We hope to hear your feedback,
René-Vincent du Grandlaunay, Director of IDEO’s Library
Jean Druel, IDEO’s Director