New Cataloguing Rules

If you are a student of cataloguing, a practicing cataloguer in your library or a teacher of cataloguing, the new acronym RDA should catch your attention. In fact, remaining abreast with the latest developments in our field is one of the obligations of any information worker. A word of caution though – it is far from being akin to our famous Road Development Authority ! What it simply means is Resource Description and Access. RDA is intended to eventually replace the second edition of the very popular Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules (AACR2).

The following points are noteworthy:

–  RDA is the new standard for resource description and access designed for the digital world.
–  It provides a comprehensive set of guidelines and instructions on resource description and access covering all types of content and media.
–  RDA is designed for use in an international context and is built on the foundations established by the AACR and the cataloguing traditions on which the latter was based.
– This project is not the work of a commercial publisher but the collaborative effort of a Joint Steering Committee under the supervision of the American Library Association, the Library of Congress, the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professional, the National Library of Australia, the Canadian Library Association, and the British Library amongst others.
–  It provides a flexible and extensible framework for the description of resources produced and disseminated using both the latest state-of-the art digital technologies as well as non-digital formats.
–  Its objectives include responsiveness to user needs, cost-efficiency, flexibility and continuity.
–  The content is divided into ten sections comprising no less than thirty-seven chapters, thirteen appendices, and a glossary.
–  The full draft was published in November 2008 and may be downloaded in PDF format from:  However, this exercise may seem annoying unless one has broadband Internet connection.
–  It is hoped that our library schools and professional associations will keep an eye on RDA with a view to enable us to master the technicalities of these new cataloguing rules.

Ibrahim Ramjaun