RDA & Webinars : May I assist you, catalogers?

Good day catalogers! RDA and catalogers go hand in hand. While many librarians are aware of the changes, many more are still vague about the surrounding concepts of RDA. RDA stands for Resource Description and Access. It is the new bibliographic content standard, replacing AACR2 and is designed for the networked digital environment.



Two examples of RDA records

Libreros Salalm wrote in his blog that the rules for RDA are regarded by many as substantially the same; an AACR2 record may not look that different from an RDA record. However, in certain cases the rules have actually changed significantly.

Below are some of the apparent changes that can be seen in RDA records:

  1. AACR2 has a list of abbreviations that were used throughout the record. In RDA there are very few abbreviations used and most terms are spelled out.


AACR2:            300|a ca. 200 p.  :|bchiefly ill. (some col.) ;|c32 cm.

RDA:                300|a aproximately 200 pages  :|billustrations (some color) ;|c32 cm.

500|a Chiefly illustrations.

  1. There is an emphasis in RDA as to type what you see and to make our notes more explicative to the general public. Meanwhile, in AACR2 a cataloger would list all the authors only if there were 3 or less. In RDA the cataloger has the option to list all the authors on the title page.


AACR2:            245|a Anthropology /|cAlfred Kroeber … [et al.].

RDA:                245|a Anthropology /|cAlfred Kroeber, Milton Singer, Theodora Kroeber, Mark Roseland and Vincent Puddden.


RDA:                245|a Anthropology /|cAlfred Kroeber [and four others].

  1. There will also be changes to heading.


AACR2:            Garland, Timothy, ca. 1837-1896.

RDA:                Garland, Timothy, approximately 1837-1896.

AACR2:            Garland, Timothy, b. 1825

RDA:                Garland, Timothy, born 1825

AACR2:            Simpson, Keith, Captain

RDA:                Simpson. Keith (Soldier)

** NOTE: In RDA, the cataloger is allowed to qualify a name by profession or occupation.

RDA is designed to meet the changing times and as such other departments in the library should be informed on the importance of providing correct metadata, authority control, thesauri and tagging. Lack of available training have resulted many resorting to the internet as a source for information. Webinar which is a short term for Web-based seminar, online event or other presentation that takes place on the Internet are getting popular among online users lately. It allows participants in different locations to see and hear the presenter, ask questions, and sometimes answer polls. The key feature of its interactive elements is the ability to give, receive and discuss information and more important is to allow speaker from the hosting organization to share PowerPoint presentations, videos, web pages or other multimedia content with audiences that can be located anywhere. Methods often used are one on one training, group sessions, workshops and online training.

And how can this form of training be beneficial to catalogers and librarians?

Catalogers and librarians who wish to understand more about the RDA platform could learn a great deal from webinars. Information that can be obtained include :

  1. A review of RDA terminology and principles
  2. A way to share general changes that apply to all formats/ type of resources
  3. Sharing specific changes that apply to fields 245, 255 and 300 for cartographic materials
  4. Sharing of new RDA fields
  5. Showing RDA bibliographic examples

Here are a list of webinars that are useful and resourceful for anyone wanting to know more about RDA :

  1. Library of Congress training materials – these are recorded webinars from LOC.
  2. Webinars from CONSER – CONSER is the Cooperative Serials Program of the PCC (Program for the Cooperative Cataloging), an authoritative source for bibliographic records, documentation, and training materials for serials cataloging.The Powerpoint Slides are open to all however the recorded trainings need a username and password.
  3. RDA Changes from AACR2 for texts by Barbara Tillett (01/12/2010 : 75 minutes). This webcast explores the changes from AACR2 (Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules, 2nd ed.) and that of the RDA.
  4. RDA Series Webinars – This is a series of webinars consisting of 32 presentations in Youtubes compiled by the Association for Library Collections & Technical Services (ALCTS). It includes among others cataloging law materials, sound recordings, scores, serials, rare materials in relation to RDA.
  5. Slides and training materials on RDA by the Joint Steering Committee for the Development of RDA
  6. RDA Toolkit – A guided tour of Webinars Recordings on RDA by ALA Publishing House.
  7. Free training on RDA and other library matters but a user needs to sign in first.
  8. A listing of RDA presentations provided by Adam L. Schiff  who is the principal cataloger from the University of Washington.

As creator of the bibliographic records and tools, catalogers must understand and admit that RDA invention is for the benefits of users as well as for the libraries. So, catalogers – grab your skills, expand your knowledge and sit tight! RDA through helpful webinars will make learning more fun and meaningful while you absorb new discoveries right from the screen of your computers.


Brenndorfer, T. (2012). RDA in 10 easy steps. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D3hafSNH_3A

Kandarasheva, I. & Wilson, M. (2011). Preparing copy catalogers for RDA.


Libreros Salalm. (24 May, 2011). What is RDA and how will it impact cataloging?

Oliver, C. (2010). Introducing RDA:  A Guide to the Basics, American Library Association, Chicago, IL.

Primary Research Group. (2013). The Survey of Academic Library Cataloging Practices.

Written by,

Norazlina Dol @ Othman
TJ Danaraj Library
University of Malaya

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