Recently in RDA Category

The Library of Congress recently announced that they have devised a long-range training plan for their (now, effectively, certain) move to RDA.

First, a little background. The U.S. RDA Test Coordinating Committee issued last June a report in which they recommended that RDA adoption by the Library of Congress, the National Agricultural Library, and the National Library of Medicine take place "no sooner than January 2013"—and then only if nine conditions are either met or significant movement is made on achieving them.[1] According to Beacher Wiggins (Director, Acquisitions and Bibliographic Access Directorate), a recently published update reveals good progress is being made on matters such as "re-wording" parts of RDA into less elaborate prose and establishing a framework for a successor to the MARC standard.[2] And so with fulfillment of the prerequisites looking favorable, LC personnel have devised a year-long, three-part training plan to bring their cataloging staff up to speed on RDA.

Doubtless the most significant aspect of LC's plan is their target date for RDA implementation: March 31, 2013. This date, as they put it, is "when all catalog records newly created at LC will be produced according to RDA instructions."[3] (Though a "target" date and not a firm deadline, it does give something for the rest of us to hang our hats on.) Their planning document goes into further detail on scheduling, recommended instruction topics, and logistical issues pertinent to LC staff and supervisors; at the same time, it could also serve as a blueprint for local library training.

A reminder that LC has a fairly new webpage that offers one-stop shopping for all of their RDA announcements and materials.

[1] From pages 2–4 of Report and Recommendations of the U.S. RDA Test Coordinating Committee

[2] See the quarterly update on RDA implementation released in January 2012

[3] From page 1 of Long-Range RDA Training Plan for 2012 and Beyond

The Minitex Bibliographic and Technical Services (BATS) unit introduces a new e-mail discussion list dedicated to dialogue and announcements on Resource Description and Access (RDA), the new set of cataloging guidelines likely to succeed AACR2 in early 2013. This list, dubbed mtx-rda, is open to all library staff and other interested parties in the Minitex region (including Wisconsin). Those outside the region may also participate.

To subscribe, point your browser to the following website and fill out the form in the middle of the page:

On the same page you will find a link to the archives as well as a form near the bottom that will give you access to password, subscription, and message delivery options.

This e-mail list functions like many others you may be familiar with:

  • Subject lines for all messages that show up on the list will automatically include the prefix [mtx-rda].
  • Responses to posts are directed to the list by default.
  • Text may be formatted for display, e.g., bold typeface, underlining.
  • Attachments can be applied to messages. But be careful when passing along large files; some local e-mail systems may balk at receiving a multi-megabyte attachment.

The intent behind the mtx-rda list is to provide a regional forum for subscribers to discuss both practical and theoretical matters concerning RDA: rule interpretations, workflow changes, record indexing and display. In the spirit of Minitex's collaborative history, we look forward to an active and engaged community assisting one another in learning and applying this new cataloging code.

Upcoming Minitex RDA Training

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Minitex Bibliographic and Technical Services has scheduled the following webinars on RDA and FRBR/FRAD for August through December of 2011. Further sessions may be added due to demand or by request.

Regrettably, circumstances have forced us to now charge for these cataloging webinars. Compared to other online training courses on RDA and FRBR/FRAD available elsewhere, however, our pricing is very competitive.

FRBR and FRAD: Keys to RDA

FRBR and FRAD, acronyms for the titles of two published studies on the structure and content of library catalogs, promote concepts that underpin the new cataloging code, RDA. Familiarity with these studies—the new perspectives and vocabulary they bring to the table, for instance—will aid the cataloger in understanding RDA. This 2-day, online workshop gives catalogers an overview of FRBR/FRAD, highlighting new terminology and key themes that manifest themselves in RDA cataloging.

  • Summer Series
    • Day 1: Tuesday, August 16, 9:30 AM – 12:00 PM (Central)
    • Day 2: Thursday, August 18, 9:30 AM – 12:00 PM (Central)
  • Fall Series
    • Day 1: Wednesday, November 16, 9:30 AM – 12:00 PM (Central)
    • Day 2: Friday, November 18, 9:30 AM – 12:00 PM (Central)
  • Winter Series
    • Day 1: Monday, December 19, 9:30 AM – 12:00 PM (Central)
    • Day 2: Wednesday, December 21, 9:30 AM – 12:00 PM (Central)

Register for “FRBR and FRAD: Keys to RDA”

RDA for the Solo/Copy Cataloger

With RDA implementation likely in early 2013, now is a good time for catalogers to become familiar with recognizing, reviewing, and creating records based on the new cataloging standard. Directed to small library catalogers and those copy catalogers with basic experience, this 3-day, online workshop describes the fundamentals of RDA cataloging for most formats. Though emphasis will be placed on bibliographic records, there will also be a brief look at what's new for RDA authority records.

  • Summer Series
    • Day 1: Wednesday, August 24, 9:30 AM – 12:00 PM (Central)
    • Day 2: Friday, August 26, 9:30 AM – 12:00 PM (Central)
    • Day 3: Tuesday, August 30, 9:30 AM – 12:00 PM (Central)
  • Fall Series
    • Day 1: Thursday, September 8, 9:30 AM – 12:00 PM (Central)
    • Day 2: Monday, September 12, 9:30 AM – 12:00 PM (Central)
    • Day 3: Wednesday, September 14, 9:30 AM – 12:00 PM (Central)

Register for “RDA for the Solo/Copy Cataloger”

RDA for the Seasoned Copy Cataloger: Print Monographs

Printed textual materials are the focus of this 4-day, online workshop designed for experienced copy catalogers. We will concentrate on using RDA to review and build MARC bibliographic records and address briefly what the new cataloging code brings to MARC authority records.

  • Day 1: Tuesday, September 27, 9:30 AM – 12:00 PM (Central)
  • Day 2: Friday, September 30, 9:30 AM – 12:00 PM (Central)
  • Day 3: Tuesday, October 4, 9:30 AM – 12:00 PM (Central)
  • Day 4: Monday, October 10, 9:30 AM – 12:00 PM (Central)

Register for “RDA for the Seasoned Copy Cataloger: Print Monographs”

RDA for the Seasoned Copy Cataloger: Continuing Resources

As with other formats, continuing resource cataloging will see some changes under RDA. This 4-day, online workshop introduces the new cataloging standard to experienced copy catalogers, aiming particular attention to the descriptive parts of the MARC bibliographic record. RDA-MARC authority record changes will also be touched upon.

  • Day 1: Wednesday, October 19, 9:30 AM – 12:00 PM (Central)
  • Day 2: Monday, October 24, 9:30 AM – 12:00 PM (Central)
  • Day 3: Thursday, October 27, 9:30 AM – 12:00 PM (Central)
  • Day 4: Wednesday, November 2, 9:30 AM – 12:00 PM (Central)

Register for “RDA for the Seasoned Copy Cataloger: Continuing Resources”

RDA for the Seasoned Copy Cataloger: Audiovisual Materials

Experienced copy catalogers of audiovisual materials who have an interest in learning more about RDA are welcome to participate in this 4-day, online workshop. This webinar series will focus on the descriptive portions of RDA-MARC bibliographic records, with a brief tour of changes made to MARC authority records.

  • Day 1: Wednesday, November 9, 9:30 AM – 12:00 PM (Central)
  • Day 2: Monday, November 14, 9:30 AM – 12:00 PM (Central)
  • Day 3: Thursday, November 17, 9:30 AM – 12:00 PM (Central)
  • Day 4: Tuesday, November 22, 9:30 AM – 12:00 PM (Central)

Register for “RDA for the Seasoned Copy Cataloger: Audiovisual Materials”

RDA for the Seasoned Copy Cataloger: Music Materials

Music scores and music sound recordings share the spotlight in this 4-day, online workshop introducing RDA to experienced copy catalogers. Attention will be paid to the descriptive parts of MARC bibliographic records; we will also look at what RDA brings to MARC authority records.

  • Day 1: Thursday, December 1, 9:30 AM - 12:00 PM (Central)
  • Day 2: Tuesday, December 6, 9:30 AM - 12:00 PM (Central)
  • Day 3: Friday, December 9, 9:30 AM - 12:00 PM (Central)
  • Day 4: Wednesday, December 14, 9:30 AM - 12:00 PM (Central)

Register for “RDA for the Seasoned Copy Cataloger: Music Materials”

This was one of the most interesting and informative sessions that I attended at the ALA Annual Conference. I liked it because it directly addressed the next big questions for catalogers: now that RDA has been approved, what will happen to MARC? Will RDA kill MARC?

In her presentation Karen Coyle's answer was that MARC will not be killed by RDA; it's about to collapse under its own weight and we can't redeem it. While it was a great invention in its day, MARC has had many long-term problems. To create a MARC record you must follow not only MARC rules but also AACR2 and over the years MARC has become more complicated as we came to use it for more and more formats--first, books, then serials, and so on. MARC can also require the same data to be entered in different fields. (An item's language code should be entered in the 008 and the 041. Some data in the 007 is repeated elsewhere in the same record.) In general, because it has been cobbled together, MARC is not flexible enough to describe the increasingly complicated bibliographic resources that are constantly appearing.

Karen sees the advent of RDA as an opportunity to free our data from the MARC structure. Our goal should be to define data apart from structure and thus enable ourselves to re-use data elements whenever they are needed. With RDA we could code once but display many times. As a first step toward realizing this goal, Karen has taken a do-it-yourself approach. She is creating a database of all the elements currently described by MARC. Her hope is that with this information we will be better able to systematically develop RDA into a flexible means of sharing bibliographic information.

Registration is now open for a series of ALCTS-sponsored webinars on RDA for autumn 2011.

The first webinar examines the report recently issued by the U.S. RDA Test Coordinating Committee--their findings and recommendations on RDA implementation. The remaining sessions introduce viewers to the cataloging of maps, music materials, and legal resources.

Information on registration and fees is available on each of the websites listed above. Register for webinars individually or, for additional savings, all five.

The U.S. RDA Test Coordinating Committee has completed their report of recommendations and commentary based on the results of the U.S. RDA Test that transpired in late 2010. The executive summary has been released, and the bottom line reads, "...the Coordinating Committee recommends that RDA should be implemented by LC, NAL, and NLM no sooner than January 2013." This adoption, in the meantime, is contingent upon the progress made in completing and rectifying nine action items and areas of concern raised by the Committee. The press release concerning this announcement is given below.

The Library of Congress, the National Agricultural Library, and the National Library of Medicine are pleased to issue a statement from the Executives of the three libraries regarding the Report and Recommendations of the U.S. RDA Test Coordinating Committee on the implementation of RDA--Resource Description & Access. This statement and the Executive Summary of the Committee's Report and Recommendations are being issued to allow interested parties sufficient time to review prior to the upcoming Annual Conference of the American Library Association in New Orleans, June 23-28. The full Report and Recommendations will be available prior the ALA Annual Conference on the Testing Resource Description and Access Home Page:

An executive summary of the report is available now at:

The cover statement by the executives of LC, NAL, and NLM included below is also available as a PDF file at:

Response of the Library of Congress, the National Agricultural Library, and the National Library of Medicine to the RDA Test Coordinating Committee

June 13, 2011


When the Working Group on the Future of Bibliographic Control issued its report, On the Record, on January 9, 2008, it introduced the findings with these observations:

The future of bibliographic control will be collaborative, decentralized, international in scope, and Web-based. Its realization will occur in cooperation with the private sector and with the active collaboration of library users. Data will be gathered from multiple sources; change will happen quickly; and bibliographic control will be dynamic, not static. The underlying technology that makes the future possible and necessary--the World Wide Web--is now almost two decades old. Libraries must continue the transition to this future without delay in order to retain their significance as information providers.
Most of the recommendations in the report call for changes in the current bibliographic control system that will move libraries toward this desirable future. One recommendation--3.2.5--was notable in that it called for a suspension of work underway on RDA. The Working Group suggested that further development work on Resource Description and Access (RDA) be suspended until a business case had been articulated, benefits demonstrated, and there had been better testing of FRBR (Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records) as it relates to RDA.

Work on RDA had been underway for several years, so a decision to suspend it could not be made lightly. In March, Deanna Marcum, Associate Librarian for Library Services at the Library of Congress, who had commissioned the Working Group, convened her counterparts from the National Agricultural Library and the National Library of Medicine to discuss the entire report, but specifically asked for collaboration on the response to the recommendation on RDA (3.2.5). After careful deliberation the three national library executives issued a joint statement on RDA.

The three principals from the three national libraries--Deanna Marcum, Sheldon Kotzin, and Peter Young--accorded special consideration to RDA, as it was the only international standard that had been developed, and all agreed that whatever else one might think about the future of bibliographic control, it would surely be an international endeavor. They noted "RDA is an important international initiative that has been underway and is one that requires continued collaboration with our international partners who have joined with the United States in a global initiative to update bibliographic practices to make library resources more accessible and useful to users."

The Library of Congress, the National Library of Medicine, and the National Agricultural Library concluded that a thorough and rigorous test of RDA was needed to answer questions about whether or not it should be further developed and implemented. The three institutions pledged to design jointly the test of the tool, to involve a broad spectrum of the user community in carrying out the test, and to disseminate the results of the test widely. The test was meant to include an articulation of the business case and a cost analysis for retraining staff and re-engineering cataloging processes necessitated by a new code.

They also agreed to an optimistic resolution that if there were a decision to implement RDA, implementation would not occur before the end of 2009. They did not fully appreciate how involved the development of a reliable test methodology would be, and the unavoidable delays that would occur in issuing RDA.

The RDA Test

The three libraries named staff to work on the test methodology, to carry out the test, and to make recommendations to the agencies' executives based on the results. Perhaps the most important decision was that the three agreed that they would make a joint decision whether or not to adopt RDA.

On June 9, 2008, the members of the U.S. RDA Test Coordinating Committee met for the first time. The dedication of the members of the group cannot be adequately described (see below for "List of U.S. RDA Test Coordinating Committee Members"). They met regularly--sometimes weekly--to develop all of the criteria that would be used to make a final recommendation. They enlisted twenty-six partners (including the three national libraries) that represented many types and sizes of libraries as well as archives, book vendors, systems developers, library schools, and consortia. They carried out the test and analyzed the results over a period of several months.


The most challenging task was to turn the test data into a single recommendation for the three national libraries. There was no clear, easy answer. RDA presents complicated issues for all libraries. In the final analysis, the RDA Test Coordinating Committee recommended that the national libraries adopt RDA with certain conditions and that implementation will not occur before January 1, 2013.

Statement from the Executives of the Three National Libraries

Simon Liu (NAL), Sheldon Kotzin (NLM), and Deanna Marcum met on May 24, 2011 to review the report and to reach agreement on a response. They agreed on the great importance of the work the Coordinating Committee had accomplished, and they expressed deep appreciation for the investment each member made to the overall effort.

The official statement is:

"We endorse the report, with the conditions articulated by the committee. Even though there are many in the library community who would like to see a single "yes" or "no" response to the question should we implement RDA, the reality is that any standard is complicated and will take time to develop. We also recognize that the library world cannot operate in a vacuum. The entire bibliographic framework will have to change along the lines recommended in the report of the Working Group on the Future of Bibliographic Control. The implementation of RDA is one important piece, but there are many others that must be dealt with simultaneously. We especially note the need to address the question of the MARC standard, suggested by many of the participants in the RDA test. As part of addressing the conditions identified, LC will have a small number of staff members who participated in the test resume applying RDA in the interim. This will allow LC to prepare for training, documentation, and other preparatory tasks related to the further development and implementation of RDA.

The conditions identified by the Test Coordinating Committee must be addressed immediately, and we believe that the Committee should continue in an oversight role to ensure that the conditions are met. We have discussed the Committee's recommendations with the Library of Congress Working Group on the Future of Bibliographic Control. We will continue to work closely with the Working Group on the Future of Bibliographic Control to think about the overall direction of bibliographic control and the changes that are necessary to assure that libraries are in the best position to deliver twenty-first century services to users.

We believe that the long-term benefits of adopting RDA will be worth the short-term anxieties and costs. The Test Coordinating Committee quite rightly noted the economic and organizational realities that cause every librarian to ask if this is the time to make a dramatic change in cataloging. Our collective answer is that libraries must create linkages to all other information resources in this Web environment. We must begin now. Indefinite delay in implementation simply means a delay in our effective relationships with the broader information community."

List of U.S. RDA Test Coordinating Committee Members: Committee Co-chairs: Christopher Cole, National Agricultural Library, Jennifer Marill, National Library of Medicine (January 2011-), Diane Boehr, National Library of Medicine (Acting: June 2010-December 2010), Dianne McCutcheon, National Library of Medicine (2008-May 2010), Beacher Wiggins, Library of Congress; Committee Members: Barbara Bushman, National Library of Medicine, Michael Esman, National Agricultural Library, Judith Kuhagen, Library of Congress (December 2010-), Susan R. Morris, Library of Congress, Regina Romano Reynolds, Library of Congress, Tina Shrader, National Agricultural Library, Barbara B. Tillett, Library of Congress.

FRBR Webinar

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With all the talk lately about RDA, you've likely also heard about FRBR.

FRBR represents a different way of thinking about the sorts of things we catalog and how we express and illustrate relationships between these things. Because it is a highly conceptual approach, it can be hard to wrap your mind around. (Perhaps the Work-Expression-Manifestation-Item model leaves your head spinning?) And RDA represents just one step in the direction of applying FRBR concepts.

So, to get your feet more firmly planted on the foundation that FRBR provides, consider attending the upcoming webinar, sponsored by ALCTS:

FRBR as a Foundation for RDA
Date: December 15, 2010
Time: 1-2 p.m. Central

Description: This webinar will cover the basics of FRBR, including its development and contents. Participants will leave the webinar with an understanding of the entity-relationship model on which FRBR is based, the FRBR entities and relationships, and the FRBR user tasks. The webinar will then address, through an exploration of RDA itself, how FRBR lies at the foundation of RDA's structure, and what implications that might have on future database structures for our catalog descriptions.

Presenter: Robert L. Maxwell, one of the foremost authorities in the cataloging field, is senior librarian and chair of the Special Collections and Formats Catalog Department at the Harold B. Lee Library at Brigham Young University. His most recent book, FRBR : A Guide for the Perplexed, was published in 2008. He has chaired RBMS Bibliographic Standards Committee of ACRL and has served on the Committee on Cataloging: Description and Access (CC:DA) of ALCTS. He is the author of the Highsmith Award-winning Maxwell's Guide to Authority Work and/Maxwell's Guide to AACR2. He holds a MLS from the University of Arizona, JD and MA from Brigham Young University, and PhD in classical languages and literature from the University of Toronto.

To Register, complete the online registration form at for the session you would like to attend.

Registration Fee: NOTE: This is one of four webinars on various aspects of RDA to be presented by ALCTS this fall. Special rates apply.

ALCTS member: $39 each webinar, any 2 webinars for $66 (save $12), all four webinars for $120 (save $36)
Non-member: $49 each webinar, any 2 webinars for $86 (save $12), all four webinars for $160 (save $36)
Group rates: $99 each webinar, any 2 webinars for $178 (save $20), all four webinars for $346 (save $50)

The one-time fee includes unlimited access to the webinar recording.
For questions about registration, contact Tom Ferren, ALA Senior Registration Coordinator at 1-800-545-2433, ext. 4293 or

3 Part Online Workshop on Using RDA

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ALA TechSource announced an online three-part workshop Using RDA: Moving into the Metadata Future. Presenters Karen Coyle, Chris Oliver, and Diane Hillmann will offer a perspective on RDA from the context of metadata models and with an eye toward sharing library data.

Session 1: New Models of Metadata, led by Karen Coyle. October 27, 2010. 1:30 p.m. (Central)

Session 2: RDA: Designed for Current and Future Environments, led by Chris Oliver. November 10, 2010. 1:30 p.m (Central)

Session 3: RDA Vocabularies in the Semantic Web, led by Diane Hillmann. November 17, 2010 1:30 p.m. (Central)

Visit the ALA TechSource Blog for more information about these sessions

Series cost: $135. To purchase access and register go to the ALA Store.

New RDA Webinar for Non-Catalogers!

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RDA for Non-Catalogers: A Gentle Introduction

Implementation of Resource Description and Access (RDA), the new manual of cataloging rules designed to succeed AACR2, has the potential to affect many library activities outside of the cataloging department: from the acquisition of new materials to reference interactions with the catalog user. This brief webinar will introduce participants to RDA, describe how to locate RDA records in OCLC's WorldCat database, and highlight some of the changes the new guidelines may bring to your library catalog.

  • Friday, September 17, 10:00 a.m.--11:00 a.m. (Central)
  • Wednesday, October 13, 10:00 a.m.--11:00 a.m. (Central)
  • Friday, October 22, 2:00 p.m.--3:00 p.m. (Central)
  • Monday, October 25, 10:00 a.m.--11:00 a.m. (Central)
  • Wednesday, October 27, 2:00 p.m.--3:00 p.m. (Central)
  • Friday, October 29, 2:00 p.m.--3:00 p.m. (Central)
  • Thursday, November 4, 10:00 a.m.--11:00 a.m. (Central)
  • Wednesday, November 10, 10:00 a.m.--11:00 a.m. (Central)

And we still have seats available for these early winter sessions of RDA: What It Is, and What It Means to You.

  • Thursday, November 11, 10:00 a.m.--11:30 a.m. (Central)
  • Thursday, December 16, 10:00 a.m.--11:30 a.m. (Central)

Browse all Minitex's upcoming training sessions

View our complete calendar

RDA on Facebook

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There is now a Facebook group for anyone interested in Resource Description and Access (RDA). If you're interested, go to RDA Cafe.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of recent entries in the RDA category.

MARC is the previous category.

Serials is the next category.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.