RDA and cataloguing

This first column of 2013 is dedicated to RDA and cataloguing resources, as the British Library, the Library of Congress, Library & Archives Canada, the National Library of Australia and Deutsche Nationalbibliothek, among others, prepare to implement this new standard by 31 March. This historical development will not only have a major impact on cataloguers and cataloguing operations, but also on those working in other areas of technical services (serials, acquisitions, systems), all front line staff dealing with user enquiries and/or the library catalogue, staff responsible for user training and information skills programmes, and senior managers responsible for resource allocation and strategic planning. After years of proposals, drafts, revisions and trials (work on RDA began in 2005, with a full draft ready in November 2008, and a revised draft sent to the publishers in June 2009; it was finally published in the RDA Toolkit in June 2010), libraries that haven’t made implementation plans yet will need to start taking numerous important decisions very soon – this list of relevant cataloguing resources and documentation can be used as a starting point for those in need of an urgent catch up!

Joint Steering Committee for Development of RDA (JSC)




RDA Toolkit


LC Information and Resources in Preparation for RDA


OCLC RDA Resources




CILIP CIG Tools and Resources: RDA


The co-existence of AACR2 and RDA started during the US RDA Test (2010/2011) with the creation and distribution of several thousand RDA bibliographic and authority records. Some of the 24 institutions that took part continued to use RDA and to distribute RDA records after it ended, with OCLC adopting an official policy of co-existence from June 2011, and the Library of Congress resuming partial RDA cataloguing and distribution of RDA records from November 2011, and the British Library from June 2012. From 31 March 2013 all new records created by the national libraries and many others will be in the new standard, and their number will quickly increase. RDA has been designed to be very compatible with AACR2 records and, for libraries implementing it, few immediate changes to existing data will be necessary (with some exceptions including the replacement of General Material Designations and the elimination of abbreviations). Most changes to MARC21 to accommodate RDA (particularly the creation of new fields 336, 337 and 338) were approved in 2011, and most LMS suppliers have included them in their updates: RDA records can be identified by the presence of value “i” in the Descriptive cataloging form (LDR/18), as opposed to “a” for AACR2 records, and value “rda” in Description conventions (040 ‡e). It is worth mentioning in this context that work on a replacement for MARC21 has already started under the Bibliographic Framework Transition Initiative, with MARBI being disbanded after June.

Changes from AACR2 to RDA: a comparison of examples


Library of Congress Announces Its Long-Range RDA Training Plan




MARC21 changes for RDA


Bibliographic Framework Transition Initiative


The national libraries will not assume responsibility for RDA implementation or training for other organisations, but are providing some guidance and documentation, particularly the Library of Congress. Beacher Wiggins, LC Director of Acquisitions & Bibliographic Access, gives an excellent overview in his recent presentation Preparing for Cataloging after AACR2: Planning for RDA Implementation. Other organisations are offering RDA (and FRBR/FRAD/FRSAD – the conceptual model that underpins it) training, from webinars to on site courses, and creating additional material, including CILIP, CIG, ARLIS, commercial trainers, etc. RDA is available as an online subscription to the RDA Toolkit (30 day free trials are available) or in print.

RDA Training Materials


RDA Teaching and Training


Preparing for Cataloging after AACR2: Planning for RDA Implementation


Incorporating RDA practices into WorldCat: A discussion paper




Several new related titles are due for publication in the next few months, including: RDA: Strategies for implementation by Magda El-Sherbini (January 2013), Maxwell’s Handbook for RDA by Robert L. Maxwell (Summer 2013) and RDA and serials cataloguing by Ed Jones (Spring 2013). Practical Cataloguing: AACR, RDA and MARC21 by Anne Welsh and Sue Batley, published earlier this year by Facet, is a good introduction to the new standard. Those of a historical disposition will find both enjoyable and useful to look back to 1981, when AACR2 was implemented, three years after its publication. Arlene G. Taylor gives a fascinating account of her experiences during implementation of AACR in Lessons from Implementation of AACR1 and AACR2. For readers keen to get a glimpse of the future, and some the opportunities and advantages of RDA and functional catalogues, a number of early prototypes of online catalogues based on FRBR are being tested by OCLC and others (Fiction Finder, WorldCat Genres, WorldCat Work Pages, Classify, xISBN).

Facet Publishing: RDA


Lessons from Implementation of AACR1 and AACR2


Fiction Finder


WorldCat Genres


WorldCat Work Pages






Limited materials specific to RDA and art documentation or art libraries are available. The ARLIS Cataloguing and Cataloguing Committee hosted a “Discussion on RDA” on 14 August 2012, an informal meeting to share plans and knowledge among UK art librarians, with a second one planned for April 2013. A report has been compiled by Deborah Lee (Courtauld Institute) and Nicky Ransom (University for the Creative Arts). The Committee has also organised a “FRBR for art librarians” workshop recently, see their website for further events. As part of the Library of Congress RDA training, a detailed presentation and a flowchart for cataloguing exhibition catalogues under the new standard have been made available. These guidelines, and the wider RDA context, are discussed in an informative presentation given by Dan Lipcan (Metropolitan Museum of Art Libraries, and ARLIS/NA liaison to CC:DA) at the ARLIS/NA 2012 Conference, now published in a revised and updated version as “Faith-Based Cataloging: Resource Description and Access and Libraries, Archives, and Museums” (Art Documentation: Journal of the Art Libraries Society of North America, Vol. 31, no. 2, Sept. 2012, pp. 210-218). This is the second issue of Art Doc published by the University of Chicago Press under its agreement with ARLIS/NA, and it’s available online via JSTOR and other platforms.

ARLIS Cataloguing and Classification Committee


RDA Refresher Training at LC: Special Topics ‘Art catalogs’


RDA Refresher Training at LC: Special Topics ‘Art catalogs flowchart’


040 ## $a LAMs $e rda, or, Faith-Based Cataloging: Resource Description and Access and its Implications for Libraries, Archives and Museums


Art Documentation


Best wishes for a happy 2013 (and RDA implementation – or otherwise)!

[Grandal Montero, G. (2013) Resources online: RDA and cataloguing. ARLIS News-sheet,
no. 221, Jan.-Feb., pp. 3-4]


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