Academic journal article Alexandria

RDA Planning, Implementation and Use: A Comparison of Two Academic Libraries

Academic journal article Alexandria

RDA Planning, Implementation and Use: A Comparison of Two Academic Libraries

Article excerpt


After the Library of Congress (LC) announced that it would move forward with full implementation of the new cataloguing standard Resource Description & Access (RDA) on 31 March 2013 (Library of Congress, 2012a), libraries in the United States (US) and around the world have been working hard on planning, training and implementing RDA in their own libraries' cataloguing workflows. However, there is no single model for RDA planning and implementation that works for every library, because the implementation plan should be developed based on each library's unique situation, organizational structure and culture. Columbia University Libraries (CUL) and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) Library are no exception. Even though both are large academic libraries, were partners of the 2010 US National Libraries RDA Test, and share the same goal of RDA implementation, each library's approach to developing training programmes, establishing implementation teams and implementation guidelines is quite different. This paper introduces the differences between CUL and UIUC Library's RDA implementation planning and training, and discusses the future of bibliographic control introduced by RDA.


A wealth of literature has been published on the various aspects of RDA. A search in Library, information Science & Technology Abstracts results in hundreds of publications issued since 2005. However, comparably few articles on practical RDA implementation strategies are among them thus far, though the interest has apparently grown since the official implementation announcements made by the national libraries of the US and other countries. In conjunction with the full implementation, one monograph was issued in Spring 2013 (El-Sherbini, 2013). An in-depth case study is available describing the RDA implementation process at Kent State University Libraries (Maurer and Panchyshyn, 2014). Several formally published articles focus on specific aspects of the implementation process, such as RDA policy development for copy cataloguing units (McCutcheon, 2012) and RDA implementation in integrated library systems (Hunt, 2012).

Information can also be found on publicly accessible websites and wikis of technical services departments, such as the one created by the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) (Federal Depository Library Program, 2013). The FDLP site includes detailed progress updates from the creation of the first RDA test records to an implementation schedule to be completed in April 2013.

Well documented are the implementation approaches taken by the three academic libraries that continued cataloguing in RDA after the conclusion of the US RDA Test. One cataloguer at Brigham Young University wrote a very personal account on her experience testing and implementing RDA at Brigham Young University (Frade, 2012). The report RDA at Stanford outlines testing, training and RDA involvement at Stanford University (Dyla, 2012). The Chicago University Library offers the most detailed accounts on the steps taken to test, and at the same time implement, the new cataloguing code (Cronin, 2011; Cronin, 2012; Hanson and Parks, 2013).


In much the same way as the three academic libraries discussed above, CUL and the UIUC Library also participated as official test partners in the US RDA Test organized by the three US National Libraries (LC, the National Library of Medicine (NLM), and the National Agricultural Library (NAL)), which was held from June through December 2010. In June 2011, the US RDA Test Coordinating Committee released a report, The Report and Recommendations of the US Test Coordinating Committee, that summarized the testers' experiences using RDA and analysed the bibliographic and authority records that resulted from the test. Based on this information, the Coordinating Committee compiled a list of action items to be completed by several stakeholders such as LC and American Library Association (ALA) Publishing. …

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