Thursday, July 6, 2017

Resource Description and Access

RDA Resource Description & Access
RDA: Resource Description & 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. 


  • Resource Description and Access (RDA) : Glossary of Library & Information Science
  • Why is it necessary to issue a brand new standard?
  • What are the benefits of RDA? / Why is RDA needed?
  • RDA Infographic

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

    Main article: Why RDA after AACR2 (not AACR3)

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.

What are the Benefits of RDA? Why is RDA Needed?

    Main article: What are the Benefits of RDA?

RDA builds on the strengths of AACR2 but has some new features that make it more useful for description as a cataloging code for the digital environment in which libraries now operate.
  • RDA is better at catering for digital resources and for resources with multiple characteristics and will provide more guidance on the creation of authority headings.
  • RDA has been developed with the end-user in mind.
  • RDA provides a consistent, flexible and extensible framework for the description of all types of resources, including digital resources and those with multiple characteristics.
  • RDA is compatible with internationally established principles, models, and standards.
  • RDA is compatible with a range of encoding schemas, such as MODS, Dublin Core, ONIX and MARC.  It will allow library bibliographic records to be integrated with those produced by other metadata communities, and to move into the digital environment beyond library catalogs.
  • RDA will enable, with systems support, the grouping together of bibliographic records for different editions, translations or formats of a work, to achieve a more meaningful display of data for users.
  • RDA is a Web-based product, which enables catalogers to move between related instructions using hyperlinks and to integrate their own institutional policies.  
  • RDA is a transitional stepping stone that requires only small changes to catalog records but moves the metadata in catalogs much closer to full utilization of FRBR models. 

RDA Infographic



  • RDA
  • Resource Description & Access


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


  • Last Updated: 2017-10-14
  • Written: 2017-07-06


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  • This multimedia article Resource Description and Access is widely discussed, appreciated, cited, referred, and hyperlinked. Some places where it is discussed and referred are given below.
  • Jayaram Haravu (or L. J. Haravu)Managing Trustee at Kesavan Institute of Information and Knowledge Management (KIIKM) and Pioneer of Open Source Library Software movement in India, creator of  NewGenLib ( integrated library system, [April 3, 2017, E-mail in LIS-Forum, PCCLIST, AUTOCAT] -- I congratulate Salman Haider for bringing to our notice this excellent initiative. I am sure this will be an invaluable source to teachers and students of librarianship and information studies. I have been a silent observer and admirer of your commitment to de-mystifying RDA for several years now. What you are doing is most commendable. I wonder, though, how many have taken advantage of your knowledge.

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