RDA Implementation Time Frame for University Libraries

April 1-September 30, 2013 -- 6-month phase-in period
  • Accept RDA records in edit cataloging, with local exceptions noted below.
  • Continue to perform original cataloging in AACR2.
  • Catalogers learn from online RDA training materials (links at the end of this document) and practice incorporating RDA elements into records, becoming familiar with the RDA Toolkit.
  • NACO requires that new authority records contributed to the LC authority file be in RDA form effective April 1, 2013 -- formal training required.
October 1, 2013 -- changeover to full RDA cataloging
  • Original cataloging and original authority records done in RDA.
  • Continue to accept RDA records in edit cataloging, with local exceptions noted below.
  • As a rule, do not upgrade edit cataloging of AACR2 records to RDA, except for practice purposes (if you change one of our catalog records in this way, change the "Cat form" code in the MARC leader field from "a" to "i").
  • Do not be concerned about "hybrid" records in the catalog. Some early RDA records did not include all the RDA elements. Since there have been multiple sets of cataloging rules over the years, hybrid records existed before RDA, and will continue to exist.

Theoretical Foundations of RDA -- FRBR and WEMI

RDA incorporates Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records (FRBR) principles in the organization of the rules.

Work -- "A distinct intellectual or artistic creation," apart from any individual expression of it. E.g., "Hamlet is a great play" doesn’t refer to any edition or performance or filmed version of the play. A work consists of intellectual or artistic content.

Expression -- The intellectual or artistic realization of a work in the form of alphanumeric or musical notation, sound, image, etc. Example: a handwritten score by a composer; a manuscript of a novel sent to a publisher by the author.

Manifestation -- "The physical embodiment of an expression of a work." Represents all the physical objects that bear the same characteristics, in respect to both intellectual content and physical form. An annotated edition of To Kill a Mockingbird with a particular editor, publisher, and date is a manifestation. The e-book of the same title would be another manifestation. The original, unannotated edition published by Lippincott in 1960 is a third, and so on.

Item -- "A single exemplar or instance of a manifestation." Our library’s copy of a particular edition is an item.

Why do we have to think about the theory?

  • RDA is organized according to WEMI. The instructions separate description of works and expressions from description of manifestations and items, and there is a chapter on recording relationships among the four categories. To know where to look for an RDA rule, we need to understand the definitions.
  • RDA is geared toward future advances in online catalog design that will allow the public interface to highlight relationships between works, expressions and manifestations. For example, information can be entered into catalog records to link various film versions of Hamlet to print or electronic versions of the text. This will involve use of the linking MARC fields (780, 785, etc.) which are currently used only for serials. We are not at the point where our OPAC interface can do this, so with RDA we are getting the organizational framework before we see the results. In fact, there are RDA chapters on recording these relationships that have not yet been issued.

So what's going to change in the records we work with?


The RDA Toolkit is organized by area of the catalog record, not by material type. For example, if you look at Chapter 3, "Describing Carriers," you will find rules for the physical description of books, visual materials, computer files, microfilm, discs, cassettes, etc., including descriptive notes.

An important change in RDA is that we are expected to catalog the item in hand, not describe it in terms of another format of which it may be a reproduction. For example, when cataloging a digital object that originally appeared in print, we would describe it as an online resource, not catalog the print original and then add extra fields for the electronic elements. This is a complete reversal of the way LC, and we, have been cataloging reproductions.

Note: RDA, like AACR2, does not address MARC tagging. However, the USMARC Format for Bibliographic Data includes new MARC fields that were developed in response to RDA and also includes information on coding bibliographic records to RDA standards.

Fixed Field:

  • For AACR2 records, the Desc code is a. For RDA records, it is i. (Note: there are older, pre-AACR2 records in our database and the OCLC database with code i. In these cases, code i stands for ISBD punctuation. There is no separate code for RDA.)
  • You may be required to enter the same year in both Date 1 and Date 2 of the catalog record, due to new rules for giving publication and copyright dates (see below).
  • The use of "u" to indicate unknown centuries, decades, or years in the MARC dates fixed field is discontinued. Record "between 1960 and 1969" or "[196-?]" as 1960, 1969 in the fixed field. For a "not after" or "not before" date, which we seldom use, give an estimated date range. See additional information on dates under 260/264 field below.


Personal Name Headings

We will see fewer fuller-form qualifiers -- the full form of a person’s name is used primarily to break conflicts in RDA. AACR2 required us to add the full form as a qualifier if it was known, for the sake of providing the information if available; RDA doesn’t.

  • Field of endeavor terms associated with personal names are also used to break conflicts. With less emphasis on the full form of name, we will see more of these terms used as qualifiers.

    700 1_ Smith, John R. $c (Pianist)

Additions to names such as "Jr." and "III" can now be used in name headings.

Dates in name headings: abbreviation "ca." (circa) is no longer used, nor are abbreviations b., d., and fl. If dates are uncertain, the word "approximately" is used, and "born," "died," and "flourished" are spelled out.

If there are multiple authors, no matter how many, the first named author will appear in the 100 field. There is no "rule of three" to differentiate between an author entry and a title entry.

Relator terms -- can be used for authors and other creators (1xx field) as well as for 7xx (contributors). As with other things formerly abbreviated in AACR2, relator terms are spelled out in RDA ("editor" instead of "ed."). An authorized list of these terms can be found in RDA Appendix I, Relationship Designators.

100 1_ Smith, Michael J., $e author.
700 1_ Duncan, Caroline, $e illustrator.

Family names can now be used as access points in the 100 and 700 fields.

100 3_ Bourbon (Royal house)
700 3_ Chastain (Family : $c Fulton County, Ga.)

Corporate and Conference Headings

"Dept." will be spelled out as "Department".

If the frequency of a conference is part of the conference name, it will now be included in the heading:
111 2_ Biennial Conference on Workplace Injuries

Uniform Titles

"Qu'ran" will replace "Koran" as a uniform title.

The abbreviations "O.T." and "N.T." will no longer be used between "Bible" and specific books or sections of the Bible.
130 0_ Bible. $p Acts

If the work is about, or is, the entire old or new testaments, then the terms will be spelled out:
130 0_ Bible. $p New Testament

Non-unique uniform titles may have additional information supplied to make them unique, for example, supplying the date or the editor’s name editor’s name for a collection of poetry.

245 Title

In RDA, transcription of 245 field is exactly as it is in/on the work, including errors -- "[sic]" and "[i.e.]" are not used. Instead, the cataloger makes a 246 field with the corrected title. This will probably result in patrons telling reference librarians that we have an error in the catalog; though the cataloger also has the option of adding a 500 note explaining the error, the patron may not see it.

245 02 A collecton of essays on human rights in Southeast Asia
246 1_ $i Title should read: $a Collection of essays on human rights in Southeast Asia

Under AACR2, if an ellipsis appeared in a title, the ellipsis would be replaced by a double dash when transcribing the title. Since RDA requires exact transcription, the ellipsis will now appear in the bibliographic record.

Catalogers have the option to use the capitalization that appears in the work, including standard English capitalization for titles or, if the title on the work is in all caps, using that too:

AACR2:               245 12 A day in the life of a baby bear
RDA, optionally:   245 12 A Day in the Life of a Baby Bear
Or, if in all caps:    245 12 A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A BABY BEAR

However, most RDA records appear to be retaining the standard "library capitalization" pattern. LC is continuing this usage, and we will follow suit.

[Bracketed Information]
In addition to not noting errors within the 245 field, catalogers will no longer supply other information in brackets for clarification purposes (for example, including the word [proceedings] to make it clear that the work is the proceedings of a conference).

However, cartographic materials and moving image materials are an exception; such information can still be supplied for those, for example, to differentiate a movie trailer from the film itself.

Parallel Titles
AACR2 gives instructions on how many parallel titles to record, inclusion of a parallel title in English, etc. Under RDA, record all parallel titles. RDA does not have multiple levels of description as AACR2 did.

GMD (General Material Description
RDA does away with the GMD, replacing it with three new physical description fields (described under 3xx below). Because the GMD is present in even the briefest OPAC display of a record and because the terminology used in the new 3xx fields is obscure, we will continue to use the GMD locally as a service to our users.

GMDs will NOT be included in original records contributed to OCLC, but we will insert them before we export the record to our local catalog. For edit cataloging, insert the GMD as it would be used in AACR2. GMDs are not required for every physical format but will be used for:

  • Visual media
  • Sound recordings
  • Electronic resources
  • Realia
  • Kits and games
  • Microforms

In 245 $b, the inclusion of other title information, such as subtitles, is optional in RDA. Our local standards will require the transcription of subtitles.

Rule of Three and Access to Authors/Creators, etc.
In 245 $c, the AACR2 "rule of three" is obsolete. RDA gives the option of:

  • Listing all authors, no matter how many, OR
  • Listing only the first named author with the number of other authors specified.
For example, a work with four authors would have the first name listed, followed by "[and three others]." We will record all authors/contributors; if you have a really lengthy list of names, check with a supervisor.

Latin abbreviations such as "et al." are not used in RDA. If more than three creators are listed on the title page and there is no indication of primary or secondary responsibility attached to the names, the first named creator is given in the 100 field, not 700.

Note: editors and illustrators are still given access points in the 700 field.

Statement of Responsibility
Sources for the statement of responsibility are expanded in RDA. Only information taken from outside the work itself needs to be enclosed in brackets, so if an author statement appears on the t.p. verso, there is no need to bracket it.

Words associated with names on the chief source of information, such as titles of honor or address, are omitted from the catalog record under AACR2. RDA calls for inclusion of such terms, in keeping with transcribing exactly what is on the title page. So we will see author statements such as "by the Rev. J. L. Smith" or "notes and analysis by Professor Michael King, Ph.D."

What RDA calls "noun phrases occurring in conjunction with a statement of responsibility" are now included in $c. Under AACR2, they were considered subtitles and put in $b. Example:

AACR2: 245 14 The west wind : $b poems / $c by Elizabeth T. Murray.
RDA: 245 14 The west wind / $c poems by Elizabeth T. Murray.

Note: If there is no "by" on the title page, this rule change makes it necessary to insert [by] to clarify the statement.

250 Edition

Field is now repeatable. The edition statement will be transcribed as in the work. This will result in a variety of appearances for edition statements, since some edition statements will be in abbreviated forms and others will not:

  • 3rd ed..
  • Fourth edition, revised.
  • 6th revised edition.
  • 3a. edicion.
  • Version IX.
  • 10. Aufl..
Note the double periods after the first and last examples. RDA says that if a field that requires ending punctuation ends with an abbreviation followed by a period, another period is supplied at the end of the field. This may not occur too often, since the words indicating edition are frequently spelled out in books.

260-264 Publication Information

RDA-MARC optionally replaces the 260 field with the 264 field, which is repeatable. In 264, "S.l." and "s.n." are obsolete. LC practice encourages catalogers to supply estimates of place, publisher, and date (with brackets and question mark). If there really is no determinable place, publisher, or date, use the phrasing:

264 _2 [Place of publication not identified] : $b [Publisher not identified], $c [Date of publication not identified].

New indicators have been created to designate the type of information in 264. The 1st indicator refers to a sequence of publishing statements. These would be used mostly for serials or aggregating resources. For other types of materials, this indicator would be blank.

#    No information given OR earliest available publisher
2    Intervening publisher
3    Latest or current publisher

The 2nd indicator refers to the function of the entity in $a:

0    Production (refers to resources in unpublished form)
1    Publication
2    Distribution
3    Manufacture (printing)
4    Copyright

If you want to include publication, manufacturer (printer) and copyright information, you would have three 264 fields. Examples below.

If more than one element requires brackets, supply a separate set of brackets for each element, even if the elements are adjacent to each other:
264 _1 [New York] : $b [Hampton Publishing], $c [2012]

Publication date and copyright date are considered two separate and equally important elements. The hierarchy of preference for the publication date in AACR2, which dropped the copyright date if the two dates were the same, has been replaced by recording the dates separately. See example below.

$a Place. Despite RDA’s general aversion to abbreviations, the standard abbreviations for states (same as in AACR2) are used in 260 $a. However, if a U.S. postal code is used in the work instead of the traditional abbreviation, transcribe the postal code as it appears.

On the work: In the record:
Memphis, Tennessee Memphis, Tenn.
Memphis, Tenn. Memphis, Tenn.
Memphis TN Memphis TN

The hierarchy of preferring American places of publication and publishers, and adding an American publisher statement if the first named publisher is not American, has gone away. Record multiple places of publication/publishers in the order in which they appear on the chief source of information, or, optionally, we may record only the first named place and publisher.

$b Publisher Name. Record the publisher’s name as it appears in the work. Do not abbreviate "Company" or "Department" if the words are spelled out on the source of information. If they are abbreviated, transcribe the abbreviations.

$c Date. Record the date as it appears on the work (exception: dates in Roman numerals can still be converted to Arabic).

Publication statement:
264 _1 Hattiesburg, Miss. : $b University of Southern Mississippi, $c 2013.

Distribution statement:
264 _2 New York : $b Distributed by Independent Publishers Group, $c 1996.

Statement of manufacture (printing):
264 _3 Natchez, Miss. : $b Steam Press of the Natchez Democrat, $c 1897.

Copyright statement, using the terminology that appears on the work. Note that there is no need to repeat any place or publisher information when recording a copyright statement.

264 _4 $c copyright 2009.
264 _4 $c ©2011.

Statements such as "c2012" are obsolete; we are to use the copyright symbol if it appears in the work. This symbol is part of the "diacritics and special characters" set in Connexion and can be found in Millennium in the "Latin-1 supplement" character map.

To type a copyright symbol directly from your keyboard, have the number pad turned on, hold down the Alt key, and type code "0169" on the number pad. The ? [P in a circle] symbol used for sound recordings is also in the Connexion character set and is in the "Enclosed alphanumerics" character map in Millennium.

Comparison: Form of dates in publication fields (examples from Adam Schiff, University of Washington)

[1971 or 1972] [1971 or 1972]
[1969?] [1969?]
[between 1906 and 1912]
[between 1906 and 1912]
[ca. 1960] [1960?]
[197-] [between 1970 and 1979]
[197-?] [between 1970 and 1979?]
[18--] [between 1800 and 1899]
[18--?] [between 1800 and 1899?]
[not after Aug. 21, 1492] [not after August 21, 1492]
  [not before April 22, 2010]

Note that the use of the hyphen to indicate estimated dates in 260/264 has been discontinued. Instead, we are instructed to spell out the implied meaning of, for example, [19--?] as "between 1900 and [current year]" or another estimated latest date of publication. This corresponds to the discontinuation of "u" to indicate digits in unknown dates in the fixed field, as described above.

Unknown dates of publication (i.e., a date is available that is not the publication date):

c1967; ©1967 or copyright 1967
1967 printing 1967 [in manufacture date field]
p1983 ?1983 or phonogram 1983
1979 impression 1979 [in manufacture date field]

As noted at the beginning of this section, replacement of 260 with 264 is optional. We will continue to see OCLC records that contain 260 fields. University Libraries will use 264 fields in our original cataloging when we implement RDA, but if you are working with an OCLC record with a 260, accept it as is and do not break the information into multiple 264 fields.

300 Physical Description

In 300, abbreviations should be spelled out, except for "cm," which is not considered an abbreviation but a metric symbol. Note that no period appears after "cm".

300 __ xvi, 274 pages : $b colored illustrations, colored maps ; $c 25 cm
300 __ 2 volumes : $b illustrations ; $c 23 cm
300 __ 1 volume (unpaged)

It is also permissible to estimate the number of pages in an unpaged volume:
300 __ approximately 300 pages

Unnumbered pages or leaves of plates will now be described as such, instead of having the fact that they are unnumbered implied by brackets:
300 __ vii, 313 pages, 24 unnumbered pages of plates

Terms to use in recording "carriers" in the 300 field -- i.e., the object being cataloged (print volume, audiodisc, videocassette, etc.): Recording Carrier Types

Audio carriers Computer carriers Microform carriers
audio cartridge computer card aperture card
audio cylinder computer chip cartridge microfiche
audio disc computer disc microfiche cassette
audio roll computer disc cartridge micorfilm chip cartridge
audiocassette computer tape cassette microfilm cassette
audiotape reel computer tape cassette microfilm reel
sound-track reel computer tape reel microfilm roll
  online resource microfilm slip
Projected image carriers   microopaque
film cartridge Unmediated carriers  
film cassette card Video carriers
film reel flipchart video cartridge
film roll object videocassette
filmslip roll videodisc
filmstrip sheet videotape reel
filmstrip cartridge volume  
overhead transparency    

Additional Carrier Types -- Cartographic Materials

atlas map remote-sensing image
diagram model section
globe profile view

Additional Carrier Types -- Notated Music

score violin conductor part part
condensed score vocal score choir book
study score (was "miniature score" under AACR2) piano score table book
piano conductor part chorus score  

New 3xx fields replace the GMD

336 Content

A term designating the type of content of the work. There is a list of content types in RDA Indicators are blank.

$a conent type
$b content type code (not used in most RDA records in our catalog)
$2 source code ("rdacontent" is from Genre/Form Code and Term Source Codes)

For a print book or serial (or textual electronic resource):
336 __ $a text $2 rdacontent

For a map:
336 __ $a cartographic image $2 rdacontent

For a sound disc:
336 __ $a performed music $2 rdacontent

Optionally, a cataloger can include more than one content type designator in 336, using multiple $a’s. For example, if a print book also contains music as a significant part of the work:
336 __ $a text $a notated music $2 rdacontent

337 Media Type

A term based on physical medium used to convey the content of the work. A list of media types is in RDA

$a media type
$2 source code (rdamedia)

For a print book:
337 $a unmediated $2 rdamedia

A print resource is "unmediated" because the user can access the content directly, without having to use any special equipment.

For a sound recording:
337 $a audio $2 rdamedia

Note: Specific types of audio devices are not listed in this field; those belong in 338.

For a motion picture (reel, VHS, or disc):
337 $a projected $2 rdamedia

For an online resource:
337 $a computer $2 rdamedia

338 Carrier Type

The physical carrier of the content of the work. A list of carrier types is in RDA Most of these terms are also used in 300 $a.

$a carrier type
$2 source code (rdacarrier)

For a print book:
338 $a volume $2 rdacarrier

The physical volume is the "carrier" of the content for print books and serials.

For a microfiche:
338 $a microfiche $2 rdacarrier

For an online resource:
338 $a online resource $2 rdacarrier

For a sheet map:
338 $a sheet $2 rdacarrier

For original RDA cataloging, we will include these fields. In edit cataloging, if a record includes the new 3xx fields, do not delete them even if you are supplying a GMD that takes their place. While 336-338 information does not currently display in the OPAC in a form that would be particularly useful (or even comprehensible) to patrons, online catalogs of the future may be able to translate the information into a more practical display.

When batch loading electronic resource records, add the GMD [electronic resource] in MarcEdit before loading the file.

Accessing the RDA Toolkit

Login: usm-rda
Password: rda

View RDA rules for specific areas of the catalog record when working in OCLC Connexion:

  • Add login and password above under Tools/Options/RDA. Check the "Enable the RDA Toolkit" box.
  • Add the "RDA" button/icon to your Connexion toolbar (look for ToolsRDAToolkit in the toolbar editor). When working in a particular MARC field of an OCLC record, click this button to view RDA rules connected with that area of the record.

Useful Links


K. Wells 2/13

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