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Tuesday, October 2, 2012

RDA Implementation and Your Library

The U.S. Library of Congress has announced an implementation date of March 31, 2013 for the new Resource Description and Access (RDA) cataloging standards.1 This long lead time is meant to ensure all appropriate library staff have time to properly and completely train for the new standards. OCLC has published a discussion paper outlining their intentions for incorporating RDA into their WorldCat database ( At the ALA Conference in June, Glenn Patton, Director of WorldCat Quality Management, announced that OCLC’s plan to globally remove GMDs has been put on indefinite hold in response to feedback gathered after the release of the discussion paper.

The new rules will allow for better access to materials by patrons and eliminate the print bias of the current standards. So what does this mean for you? First, rest assured that no library will be required to do original cataloging in RDA. Each library will have to determine an RDA implementation timeline, along with how to incorporate this new type of record into the current catalog database. Some libraries may want to keep the old AACR2 format for existing records entirely, while others may choose to add select RDA elements, thus creating hybrid records.

RDA records are out there, and with the Library of Congress starting to catalog using RDA this summer, more are on the way. These records will affect search paths and item display in the OPAC, so waiting too long to decide on a plan of action may have far-reaching effects. Here are a few proactive suggestions:
  • Contact your ILS provider to see if they will offer upgrades regarding RDA records.
  • If your library purchases MARC records from outside agencies (including Midwest Tape), reach out to them to make your plans and needs known.
In order for us to best serve you, we need to know your implementation plans. Some of the things we will need to know are:
  • Your ILS vendor
  • If you plan on implementing RDA gradually, all at once, or not at all
  • What accommodations do you require for RDA implementation?
  • What adjustments have you had to make (if any) for the increase of RDA records for books?
Let us know your general plans in the comments section below. As the implementation date approaches and your plans solidify, keep us informed, provide feedback, and ask questions by posting to our blog.


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