Demystifying RDA
Similarities and Differences between
Chris Oliver
June 2nd, 2010
CLA Preconference
• rules and framework
AACR2 deconstructed
• rules minus AACR2
• instructions – many derived from
• in a new framework
RDA: similarities & differences
AACR2 deconstructed
new vocabulary
new concepts
new structure
some new instructions
some changed instructions
AACR2 deconstructed
• some RDA instructions very similar to AACR2 rules
1.6B1 If an item is issued in a series, transcribe the title proper
of the series as instructed in 1.1B
RDA If the resource is issued in a series, record the title
proper of the series applying the basic instructions on
recording titles given under 2.3.1
and 2.3.1 instructs one to transcribe
AACR2 deconstructed
21 Choice of Access Points
21.30J2 Variant title. If considered necessary for access, make an
added entry for any version of the title (e.g., cover title …) that
is significantly different from the title proper.
2 Identifying Manifestation and Item
2.3 Title Recording Variant Titles
Record variant titles that are considered to be important for
identification or access applying the basic instructions on
recording titles given under 2.3.1
Almost identical, but …
RDA’s variant title:
• it is an attribute of the manifestation; it is a type of title
• with all the instructions for recording the title of the
• precise definition:
a title associated with a resource that differs from a
title recorded as the title proper, a parallel title
proper, other title information, parallel other title
information, earlier title proper, later title proper, key
title, or abbreviated title
Almost identical, but …
• 7 listed categories of variant titles:
on resource itself (spine title, etc.)
from reference sources
assigned by agency doing the description
assigned by an owner or custodian
part of title
variations in parallel title, other title info. for earlier iteration
or later part
AACR2 deconstructed
1.5B. Extent of Item (including Specific Material Designation)
1.5B1. Record the extent of the item by giving the number of physical
units in arabic numerals and the specific material designation as
instructed in subrule .5B in the chapter dealing with the type of
material to which the item belongs.
RDA Recording Extent
Record the extent of the resource by giving the number of units
and an appropriate term for the type of carrier as listed under . …
Almost identical, but …
• numerals and internationalization (RDA 0.11.3)
• no more gmds and smds different way of categorizing types
of content, types of media and types of carriers
• concept of “class of material” is gone
• consistent set of general rules that apply to all resources,
followed by special rules only when needed
• generally no longer use abbreviations for extent
213 p.
213 pages
AACR2 deconstructed
AACR2 1.5B continued
1.5B4. If the item being described has a playing time, give that
playing time as follows. …
7.22 Duration
in chapter: Describing Content Playing Time, Running Time, Etc.
If the resource has a playing time, running time, etc., record the
time as follows, abbreviating terms for units of time as instructed
in appendix B
Almost identical, but …
RDA rigorously separates content and carrier:
extent = 1 sound cassette (40 min.)
content and carrier information together
extent of carrier = 1 audiocassette
duration of content = 40 min.
careful separation of content and carrier
chap. 3
chap. 7
On the surface …
similar instructions
but different framework
• instructions found in totally
different places
• new vocabulary, new concepts,
new theoretical framework
What you need to know to
understand the differences
• user tasks
• entities, attributes, relationships
• organization and structure of RDA
• objectives and principles
• data elements
• core elements
• extensible framework
User tasks
Entities, Attributes & Relationships
Organization & Structure of RDA
FRBR/FRAD User tasks in RDA
Bibliographic data
Authority data
Understand (Contextualize)
Consistent focus on the user
Throughout RDA:
why include this data?
to support the user in
completing one of the
user tasks
Functional objectives
• RDA divided into 10 sections
• Each section begins with general guidelines
• Functional objectives and principles specific to the
• Functional objectives =
the data
the user tasks
(recorded or formulated according
to the instructions in that section)
Example from Section 1
Section 1= Recording attributes of manifestations & items
Functional Objectives and Principles
The data describing a manifestation or item should enable the user to:
a) find manifestations and items that correspond to the user’s stated
search criteria
b) identify the resource described …
c) select a resource that is appropriate to the user’s requirements
with respect to the physical characteristics of the carrier and the
formatting and encoding of information stored on the carrier
d) obtain a resource …
Basis for Cataloguer Judgment
• introduction begins with focus on user and user tasks
• functional objectives in each section
• instructions open to cataloguer judgment within the
parameters of enabling the successful completion of
user tasks
for example, from 3.7 Applied material
Record the applied material used in the resource if it
is considered important for identification or
selection …
Entities, attributes, relationships
• entity = the object of a user’s interest
• entities that are of interest to someone who
uses bibliographic and authority data
Scope of RDA:
bibliographic entities
entities specific to authority control
Bibliographic entities in RDA
FRBR Group 1
products of intellectual or artistic
corporate body
FRBR Group 3
responsible for group 1 entities
subjects (includes group 1 & 2)
Authority entities in RDA
bibliographic entities
entities on which
authority data is focused
controlled access point
entities for authority
not in RDA:
entities that determine
the content and form of
access points
Attributes & Relationships
• instructions how to record the attributes of entities
e.g. entity =
a manifestation
attributes we record: title proper
statement of responsibility
edition statement
place of publication
• how to record relationships between entities
Relationships in RDA
• basis for navigation and support collocation
• primary relationships:
between work, expression, manifestation and item
• 3 other major types of relationships:
1. between a person, family or corporate body and a resource
2. between one resource and another resource
3. between a person, family or corporate body and another
person, family or corporate body
Relationships in RDA
• not just recording relationship
• specify exact nature of the relationship
for example
name of a person ------- title of book
• type of relationship may be embedded in text of description
• bibliographic record contains name of person and title
name of a person --- type of relationship --- work
• add relationship designators
• use controlled vocabulary to designate relationship
• clear identification of where this data is recorded
Defining the Relationship: AACR2
• designation of relationship is optional and narrow
21.0D. Optional addition. Designations of Function
21.0D1. In the cases noted below, add an abbreviated designation
of function to an added entry heading for a person.
Function Performed
Add other designations to headings as instructed in particular
In specialist or archival cataloguing …
Defining the Relationship: RDA
Recording Relationship Designators
Record one or more appropriate terms from the list in
appendix I with an identifier and/or authorized access point
representing the person, family, or corporate body to indicate
the nature of the relationship more specifically than is
indicated by the defined scope of the relationship element
also 24.5 and 29.5
 not a core element but also not an option or alternative
 3 appendices of relationship designator terms for relationships:
between resource and person, family or corporate body
between works, expressions, manifestations and items
between persons, families and corporate bodies
Defining the Relationship: RDA
examples with MARC 21 coding:
245 10 $a National Geographic atlas of the world / $c Melville Bell
Grosvenor, editor-in-chief; Wellman Chamberlin, chief
700 1# $a Chamberlin, Wellman , $e cartographer
245 00 $a Alice in Wonderland, or, What's a nice kid like you doing in
a place like this? /$cHanna-Barbera Productions.
700 1# $i parody of (work) $a Carroll, Lewis, $d 1832-1898. $t
Alice's adventures in Wonderland.
authority record
510 3# $a Adams family, $e descendant family
Organization and Structure of RDA
 2 main parts
Recording attributes
Recording relationships
sections 1-4
sections 5-10
 Divided into 10 sections
sections are organized according to the bibliographic entities
Organization and Structure of RDA
Section 1-4 = Recording attributes
Section 1.
Recording attributes of manifestation and item
Section 2.
Recording attributes of work and expression
Section 3.
Recording attributes of person, family, and
corporate body
Recording attributes of concept, object, event, and
Section 4.
Organization and Structure of RDA
Sections 5-10 = Recording Relationships
Section 5.
Recording primary relationships between
work, expression, manifestation, and item
Section 6.
Recording relationships to persons, families,
and corporate bodies associated with a resource
Section 7.
Recording subject relationships
Section 8.
Recording relationships between works,
expressions, manifestations, and items
Section 9.
Recording relationships between persons,
families, and corporate bodies
Section 10.
Recording relationships between concepts,
objects, events, and places
Organization and Structure of RDA
• each chapter associated with a user task
Chapter 1:
General guidelines on recording attributes of
manifestations and items
Chapter 2:
Identifying manifestations and items
FRBR task = Identify
Chapter 3:
Describing carriers
FRBR task = Select
Chapter 4:
Providing acquisition and access information
FRBR task = Obtain
Organization and Structure of RDA
Chapter 5:
General guidelines on recording attributes of works
and expressions
Chapter 6:
Identifying works and expressions
FRBR task = Identify
Chapter 7:
Describing content
FRBR task = Select
Objectives & Principles
RDA Objectives & Principles
• responsiveness to user
• cost efficiency
• flexibility
• continuity
• differentiation
• sufficiency
• relationships
• representation
• accuracy
• attribution
• common usage or practice
• uniformity
Role of Objectives & Principles
• instructions must be defensible + not arbitrary
• real impact on the content of RDA
for example
objective = flexibility
The data should function independently of the
format, medium, or system used to store or
communicate the data. They should be amenable
to use in a variety of environments.
result = RDA is a “content standard”
RDA as a Content Standard
“what data should I record?”
RDA can be encoded using different encoding
e.g. MARC 21, MODS, Dublin Core, etc.
RDA data can be displayed using different display
e.g. ISBD, label display, etc.
RDA = content standard
not locked into MARC 21 encoding
not locked into MARC 21 record structure
can be used with web-friendly encoding schema,
based on XML
can be used in new types of database
can be used by other metadata communities
AACR2 Rule + RDA principles
1.2B1. Transcribe the edition statement as found on the item.
Use abbreviations as instructed in appendix B and numerals as
instructed in appendix C.
RDA Transcribe an edition statement as it appears on the
source of information.
No instruction to abbreviate.
Appendix B Abbreviations
B.4. Transcribed Elements
For transcribed elements, use only those abbreviations found
in the sources of information for the element.
Almost identical, but …
for example
principle = representation
The data describing a resource should reflect
the resource’s representation of itself.
result = simplify transcription
RDA Recording Edition Statements
 no instruction to use abbreviations
 transcribe exactly what is on the source of information
Principle of Representation
Appendix B Abbreviations
B.4 Transcribed elements
For transcribed elements, use only those abbreviations found in
the sources of information for the element.
data recorded
3rd ed.
3rd ed.
Second edition
Second edition
Take what you see
1.1F7. [4 conditions when you do record titles of nobility,
address, etc.]
… Otherwise, omit all such data from statements of
RDA Transcribe a statement of responsibility in the form in
which it appears on the source of information. Apply the general
guidelines on transcription given under 1.7.
no instructions to omit data Optional Omission
Abridge a statement of responsibility only if it can be abridged
without loss of essential information.
Take what you see
title page
by the Reverend John Clarke
by John Clarke
by the Reverend John Clarke
“Take what you see. Accept what you get.”
(from LC)
based on principle of representation
simplifies transcription
allows for automated data capture or scanning
no longer limited by the small space of the catalogue card
Principles also lead to new instructions
1.0F. Inaccuracies
1.0F1. In an area where transcription from the item is required,
transcribe an inaccuracy or a misspelled word as it appears in
the item. Follow such an inaccuracy either by [sic] or by i.e. and
the correction within square brackets. Supply a missing letter or
letters in square brackets.
RDA 1.7.9 Inaccuracies
When instructed to transcribe an element as it appears on the
source of information, transcribe an inaccuracy or a misspelled
word as it appears on the source, except where instructed
Inaccuracy in RDA
1.7.9 continued
Make a note correcting the inaccuracy if it is considered to be
important for identification or access (see 2.20 ).
If the inaccuracy appears in a title, record a corrected form of the
title as a variant title (see 2.3.6 ) if it is considered to be important
for identification or access.
Exceptions: Inaccuracies. When transcribing the title proper of a
serial or integrating resource, correct obvious typographic errors,
and make a note giving the title as it appears on the source of
information (see ). In case of doubt about whether the
spelling of a word is incorrect, transcribe the spelling as found.
RDA = Take what you see
title page
The wolrd of television
The wolrd [sic] of television
The wolrd [i.e. world] of television
The wolrd of television
title page
The wold of television
The wo[r]ld of television
The wold of television
Data elements
Core elements
Extensible framework
Data Elements
element = A word, character, or group of words
and/or characters representing a distinct
unit of bibliographic information.
 appears similar to AACR2 definition, minus “forming
part of an area”
 actually quite different from AACR2
Data Elements
 each element is discrete and precisely defined
 each element contains data about a single attribute or
a single relationship
 data is not embedded in long character strings
for example
AACR2: information embedded in a non-specific note
description note
MARC 500
video format characteristics
base and applied materials
sound characteristics
 requires that a human interpret information in record
 cannot be used reliably to search or to limit a search
 cannot be used for automated processing
 cannot generate a meaningful display
RDA Data Elements
RDA: distinct and precise elements for each kind of data
different element
for each type of
video format characteristics
base material
applied material
sound characteristics
RDA: recommended controlled vocabulary for content of
many elements
video format characteristics: beta, betacam, betacam SP, CED, D-2 …
font: large print, giant print
base material: bristol board, canvas, cardboard, ceramic, glass …
RDA Data Elements
RDA: precise elements – only one kind of data in an
MARC 21:
date of publication, distribution, etc.
260 $c
4 different elements:
date of production
date of publication
date of distribution
date of copyright
RDA Data Elements
 each element has the potential to be usable:
to index
to search
to build meaningful displays of data
 data in element can be used by humans and machines
 can be used reliably to search or to limit a search
 can be used for automated processing
 can be used to generate a meaningful display
Day 1 of Implementation
 implementation in MARC 21 environment
 continue with ambiguity
many RDA elements will map to one MARC subfield
 potential for the future
 designed to be in line with metadata that can be used
in the online networked environment
Core Elements
many new elements but don’t have to use them all
core elements
 not a level of description
 core elements are a minimum “a floor, not a ceiling”
 must include any additional elements required to
differentiate the resource or entity from a similar one
 inclusion of other elements is discretionary
Core Elements
 core elements support a subset of user tasks
• identify and select a manifestation
• identify works and expressions embodied in a
• identify the creator or creators of a work
• find a person, family, or corporate body associated with
a resource
• identify a person, family, or corporate body
 summary of core elements in introduction: 0.6
 general guidelines for each section: core elements
Core Elements
 certain elements are flagged as “core”
title proper
designation of edition
preferred name for the person
 certain elements are flagged as “core if”
date of distribution if date of publication not identified
extent if resource is complete or if the total extent is
 element is core but can omit some data
place of publication (if more than one, only the first)
Extensible Framework
 framework to describe all known resources
 framework that can be extended to describe
resources yet to be developed
Extensible Framework
 many data elements – each precisely defined
 data elements can be used in any combination
 clear distinction between content and carrier
Extensible Framework
 room for growth with framework of attributes and
 RDA framework can describe
any content
any carrier
 in addition, new framework for categorizing
Categorization of Content & Carrier
consists of three elements:
content type
media type
carrier type
 replaces the gmd
 can use as many of each type as needed
 can use in any combination
 each element has a set of controlled vocabulary
 clear distinction between content and carrier
not a display standard
Categorization of Content & Carrier
content type
notated music
performed music
still image
spoken word
media type
carrier type
audio cartridge
audio disc
Categorization of Content & Carrier
Content type = text
Media type = unmediated
Carrier type = volume
music CD
Content type = performed music
Media type = audio
Media type = computer
Carrier type = audio disc
Carrier type = computer disc
Categorization of Content & Carrier
web page
Content type = text
Media type = computer
Carrier type = online resource
online video
Content type = two dimensional moving image
Media type = computer
Carrier type = online resource
Categorization of Content & Carrier
 not a display standard
 consistent values in the elements that can then be
mapped in various ways
 map to icons
 map to terms preferred by the user group
 map to terms in different languages
 map to newly developed terms
 in contrast to AACR2 gmds -- consistency
Similarities and Differences
• intentional continuity and compatibility with AACR2
• many instructions remain similar, but …
new theoretical framework shapes RDA instructions
user tasks
entities, attributes, relationships
organization and structure of RDA
objectives and principles
data elements
core elements
extensible framework
Thank you
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