Thursday, July 6, 2017

Resource Description and Access

Glossary of Library & Information Science
Glossary of Library & Information Science
RESOURCE DESCRIPTION AND ACCESS (RDA)  RDA stands for “Resource Description and Access” and is the title of the standard, that is the successor to AACR2. Resource Description and Access (RDA) is a standard for descriptive cataloging providing instructions and guidelines on formulating bibliographic data. Resource Description & Access (RDA) is a set of cataloging instructions based on FRBR and FRAD, for producing the description and name and title access points representing a resource. RDA offers libraries the potential to change significantly how bibliographic data is created and used. RDA is a standard for resource description and access designed for the digital world. It provides (i) A flexible framework for describing all resources (analog and digital) that is extensible for new types of material, (ii) Data that is readily adaptable to new and emerging database structures, (iii) Data that is compatible with existing records in online library catalogs. RDA is a package of data elements, guidelines, and instructions for creating library and cultural heritage resource metadata that are well-formed according to international models for user-focused linked data applications.  RDA goes beyond earlier cataloging codes in that it provides guidelines on cataloging digital resources and places a stronger emphasis on helping users find, identify, select, and obtain the information they want. RDA also supports the clustering of bibliographic records in order to show relationships between works and their creators. 

Why RDA after AACR2 (not AACR3)? Why it is Necessary to Issue a Brand New Standard? 

AACR2 was first published in 1978. Although it has been updated many times, it is largely designed for an environment dominated by the card catalog. The International Conference on the Principles and Future Development of AACR that was held in Toronto in 1997 identified substantive problems with AACR2. Although the updates issued in the years following that conference addressed some of these problems, it became clear that a fundamental rethinking of the code was required to respond fully to the challenges and opportunities of the digital world.

In April 2005, the Joint Steering Committee for the Revision of AACR (JSC) and its parent organization, the Committee of Principals (CoP) determined from comments received on the revision of part I of AACR3 that they needed to change their approach. After reviewing a number of alternatives, they decided that a new standard designed for the digital environment was more appropriate. Their vision included guidelines and instructions that would cover description and access for all digital and analog resources, resulting in records that could be used in a variety of digital environments (the Internet, Web OPACs, etc.).

The name AACR3 was dropped as the successor of AACR2 and the new standard was named as RDA: Resource Description & Access which was initially released in June 2010.

[Source: Why RDA after AACR2 (not AACR3)]

RDA Infographic



  • RDA
  • Resource Description & Access


  • Cataloging
  • Cataloging & Metadata (Highlights of information about Cataloging and Metadata available in Librarianship Studies & Information Technology Blog)


  • Written 2017-07-06

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