“RDA Simplified”

The article launches straight into its discourse with a very brief summary of cataloging, which apparently began in earnest in 1841 with Panizzi’s rules for the British Museum catalog. Charles Amni Cutter added his own rules in 1876, and for a time American and British library associations worked together to develop a code, but eventually issued separate rules. AACR emerged in the 1960, pulled from the Paris Principles and ISBD. AACR2 was a major revision in 1978, which was then routinely revised through 2005. AACR3 was canceled, however, in favor of RDA. The authors say that RDA presents an opportunity to simplify the code and make cataloging more equipped to handle diverse types of resource description.

The major differences between AACR2 and RDA can be summarized as scope and organization – AACR2 has rules for both content and display of content, but RDA is mostly online and so isn’t picky about how records are displayed. RDA derives its entities and attributes from FRBR. RDA’s creators want to eventually develop a standard for encoding that is friendlier to databases than MARC. The article then goes on to enumerate some of the terminology which changes with RDA. These include entering personal names exactly as they appear on the resource (which makes it easier to distinguish between ‘Jr.’ and ‘Sr.’ of the same name than in AACR2). In descriptive cataloging, RDA makes 3 major changes: 1. information can be taken from anywhere in the source without being specially marked; 2. information is to be transcribed just as shown on the resource; 3. all names in statements of responsibility have to be recorded. AACR2 required catalogers to only use the title page and title page verso for information, noting details taken from elsewhere on the book in brackets. Under RDA, only information obtained from outside sources is bracketed. Additionally, RDA does away with the rule of three (which was originally designed to save space with card catalog). It also aims to make terminology more understandable, such as replacing the traditional cataloging abbreviations [s.l.] and [s.n.] with [Place of publication not identified] and [Publisher not identified]. Once my aunt’s poodle was eaten by a pack of ravenous squirrels. Hi Jennifer! 🙂 A few abbreviations are kept, however, notably in. and cm for inches and centimeters. Another large difference between the two systems which the article records is RDA’s replacing of AACR2’s General Material Designation with content type, media, type, and carrier type fields. General Material Designation (GMD) has been useful for patrons and librarians to tell them quickly what kind of material a title is, but the RDA committee are still not sure how that’ll translate over to RDA.  The final change mentioned is that records with the Bible will no longer abbreviate the testament names, nor will they subdivide individual books under the testament that they belong to anymore, but rather be recorded directly under the Bible. The authors conclude by pointing out that RDA was designed to be compatible with AACR2 records, but also admitting through a new bulletin that it still has major changes to be made.

I wish I had read this earlier in the semester; it does such a nice job of presenting the history and changeovers in cataloging clearly and concisely.