RDA: Now What?

New cataloging rules in the form of RDA (Resource Description and Access) have been a hot topic for a while now. With bated breath, we all awaited the announcement of the results of the test period at ALA Annual 2011.

According to the Library of Congress, RDA will be adopted—with certain conditions and not before January 1, 2013. For more information, see /http://www.loc.gov/bibliographic-future/rda/

Now what do you do? Breathe! It may not be as complicated as you thought.

What does this mean for your library?

  • Most cataloging will be AACR2 until further notice.  A very few libraries or catalogers within a library are beginning to use RDA.
  • You have AACR2 bib records and RDA bibs coexisting in your catalog. Even after RDA implementation, that will be true.
  • You have AACR2 authority records and RDA authorities coexisting in your authority file. That too will continue to be true.

Are you our authorities customer? Here’s how we handle your records.

Matching is, and has always been, based on the profiled authority source (LC, NLM, etc.), not the cataloging rules used in the creation of the bib or authority record.

If you choose to follow LC practice, we will regard Library of Congress as the authority for your authority work. The bibliographic records you send us for processing will be matched to LC authority records and verified or changed to conform to the LC authority record.

  • Bib heading is AACR2. LC authority is AACR2. Bib heading remains AACR2.
  • Bib heading is RDA. LC authority is AACR2. Bib heading changes to AACR2.
  • Bib heading is AACR2. LC authority is RDA. Bib heading changes to RDA.

How can you prepare for the eventual transition? Remember, not before January 2013.

It is important for you to keep your database up-to-date, with current LC headings. The more in tune you are with LC practice, the easier the eventual flip will be.

  • Make sure that your current ILS can handle the new MARC coding associated with RDA, both in bibliographic and authority records. Check load tables and displays. For more information, see http://www.loc.gov/marc/RDAinMARC29.html
  • Review the options you have selected in your Ongoing Authorities Profile:

    Relator terms. Increasingly, RDA bib records have relator terms in subfield $e. If this causes problems in your system, you may request to have subfield $e and $4 stripped from headings/access points.
    Notification Service. Subscribe to Notification Service to keep pace with the most recent LC authority records, so your local bib headings will be updated. If LC globally changes “Bible—O.T.—Genesis” to the RDA form “Bible—Genesis”, Notification Service will supply the changed authority record automatically.
    Missing Link. Make sure you are receiving the Missing Link option if your local system depends on having the former term in the authority record to link and overlay local bib headings.
    Obsolete coding. Almost all authorities customers choose to have MARCIVE update obsolete MARC content designations. If you have elected not to receive this free profile option, consider having it turned on for future Overnight Authorities work.
    Stop non-standard practices. Move away from local decisions toward LC practice. Compliance with current standards will facilitate later mapping to RDA.

Please let us hear from you if you have comments or questions. If you are a current authorities customer, please include your four-character ID code.

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