RDA: Food for a Cataloger’s Soul
By Gabi Kupitz
Wed, 12/07/2011 - 13:41
How coding feeds my inner gourmand
All things artisan: Cover of the 1887 edition of Johanna Spyri’s Heidis Lehr und Wanderjahre (Heidi's Apprenticeship and Journeyman Years), published by Friedrich Andreas Perthes in Gotha, Germany.
Like many catalogers, I have been dragged to RDA. But, the other day, I had an epiphany. My mind drew a connection between RDA—at least in the way I code the beast (|erda)—and goat cheese.
Just bear with me while I explain.
I first tasted goat cheese in the ’90s, while I was the guest of some fellow bibliophiles I met at a literary conference held on the campus of Trinity College Dublin in Ireland. My colleagues wanted to skip the pubs and eat dinner in a Dublin restaurant. As I scanned the menu, the goat cheese salad (a bed of lettuce greens topped with fried goat cheese and drizzled with a viniagrette) intrigued my foodie sensibilities. I loved to try (within reason) something no one else was interested in, and my bibliophile friends were sticking to lamb, veal, Chicken Kiev (Dinner guest: “Chicken Kiev—that’s not very Irish.” Waiter: “No, but the chicken is.”), and salmon. At first, the goat cheese was a strange new flavor: strong, but not overpowering; a creamy whiteness enrobed by the crunchy outer fried fresh breadcrumb shell; little orbs of tanginess on super fresh greens. It was new and strange and earthy and delicious!
I just knew I had to track down goat cheese when I returned home—to Utah. But where in Utah was I going to find goat cheese that would remind me of what I savored in Dublin, Ireland? I searched high and low. By way of a French colleague, I found Bucheron cheese at the Liberty Heights Fresh Market in Salt Lake City, but while Bucheron is wonderful, it wasn’t the goat cheese I had experienced in Dublin, and so I continued the search.
It wasn’t until the beginning of 2000 that I found goat cheese (from Utah!) in one of my favorite grocery stores right here in Provo. I couldn’t believe my eyes! The package said the cheese was from Erda, Utah. Where in the heck (we say “heck” a lot here in Utah) is Erda? A little bit of research (I do work in an academic library) and I confirmed that Erda, Utah, indeed exists. It’s not exactly Switzerland (although Utah is a high mountain state, but with desert thrown in) and it doesn’t evoke Heidi and Grandfather and Peter and the goats. Still, Erda is home to Shepherds Dairy Products and even has a little road named Heidi Way.
Now to RDA. The other day, when I was coding a record as an RDA record, I typed in the delimiter “e” and “rda” and voila! It looked like erda (|erda), as in Erda!
From now on, whenever I have to create an RDA record, I smile and think back to Dublin and how my goat-cheese thing all got started—and I thank my lucky stars that I had that foodie (and literary) experience. But most of all, through all the drama of whether or not to implement RDA, I can anticipate picking up my favorite plain shepherds chevre (all-natural artisanal goat cheese) because my work fortuitously places a grocery-list reminder before me daily (|erda).
Thank you for helping me make that delicious connection, RDA!
GABI KUPITZ is a librarian at Brigham Young University in Provo.