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Cataloging and Metadata Management

RDA Information


Identifying RDA records

While there are many differences between RDA and AACR2 records, here are some of the most visible differences between the cataloging standards.

  • RDA records will have always an 040 $e rda and Leader byte 18 is coded “i” rather than “a.”
  • The MARC tag 245 $h -- General Material Designation (GMD) is replaced by three new MARC tags:
    • 336 - Content
    • 337 - Media Type
    • 338 - Carrier Type
  • Abbreviations are rarely used. The cataloger will transcribe exactly what appears on the item in the title, edition, publication, extent and series statement areas of the record.
  • The “rule of three” is gone so you may see a statement of responsibility that lists all authors/editors, etc. on the title page, regardless of the number. If the cataloger chooses the option of transcribing only the first statement of responsibility, then a descriptive phrase like “[and five others]” will be supplied rather than a mark of omission (3 dots) and the Latin abbreviation “et al.”
  • Relator terms ($e) or codes ($4) will be used more extensively with access points.

Note that catalogers will be permitted to update AACR2 records with RDA elements without changing the Leader and 040 coding of the AACR2 record, so over time it will be possible to see records with a mix of styles.

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Preparing for implementation in your library

System and OPAC issues

  • MARC Issues
    • Ensure your library or ILS vendor has implemented all the MARC updates for the new RDA elements
  • Indexes
    • Check if authorized access points containing relationship designators file properly with the headings lacking them
  • Display of content/media/carrier types
    • How will the new content/media/carrier types (33X fields) display?
    • Will they be displayed on brief as well as full record displays?
    • What alternative display options are available, such as icons or alternative text?
    • What is the impact on users if your catalog has a mix of records--some with GMDs and some with the 33X fields?

Cataloging Issues

  • Authorized access points
    • When existing authorized access points are converted nationally to the RDA form, will you convert your records and how?
      • On authority records
      • On bibliographic records
  • What policies will you library have on editing copy records?

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Additional information and training resources

The Library of Congress Resource Description and Access (RDA) page // is a comprehensive portal to the most up-to-date information on RDA documentation, training and implementation plans.

A variety of free RDA and FRBR training is available via the Catalogers Learning Workshop. //

Last Reviewed: June 23, 2015