Update on RDA implementation in Libraries Australia

As the Australian implementation of Resource Description and Access (RDA) approaches, Libraries Australia will be implementing a number of changes.

System changes

We will be implementing a number of changes in the Cataloguing service including:

  • Support for new MARC field 264 which will replace field 260 in RDA records
  • Replacement of the current Libraries Australia Cataloguing Client templates with new RDA templates
  • Changes to the Record Import Service (RIS) matching and merging to give preference to RDA records over records created according to Anglo American Cataloging Rules 2nd edition (AACR2) and older standards.

These changes will be implemented towards the end of February or early in March. The Libraries Australia Training system will also be updated at that time. We will advise you of the exact date as soon as possible.

The Libraries Australia Cataloguing system already supports the use of 33X fields via RIS and the Cataloguing Client. A list of all the MARC21 changes that have already been made to support RDA can be found at: http://www.nla.gov.au/librariesaustralia/files/2012/07/MARC21_RDA_code_changes_v5_0_12.pdf

It is also possible to search for RDA bibliographic and authority records via the Cataloguing Client using the command f sou rda.

The Libraries Australia Search service will be updated in February to support the searching and display of RDA data elements. The Document Delivery service will be updated in March. We will advise you when these changes are to be implemented.

We will be adding RDA fields 336, 337 and 338 to the LA Search WebCat input form in March. In the meantime if you wish to add these fields through WebCat there is a workaround. After saving your record, and saving again at the second save prompt, you are taken to a window which displays the MARC record that you have just created. At this point it is possible to add the 33X tags in MARC format by editing the record directly.

Trove will be updated in March to support RDA data elements in bibliographic and authority records.

Cataloguing Policy changes

As previously advised, with the introduction of RDA, Libraries Australia is replacing the current Minimum Record Standard with a new standard called Required Data Elements. In addition to the RDA changes the new standard includes a small number of additional codes and fields that will make matching and merging more accurate and result in fewer duplicate records. Most records sent to the Libraries Australia already meet the new standard, except for the new RDA data elements, and we hope that it will not be onerous for contributing libraries.

From March onwards RDA will be the standard for new records added to Libraries Australia. However, we realise that in the coming year libraries will be at different stages of their RDA implementations therefore AACR2 records will continue to be accepted for at least the next year.

From March onwards when Cataloguers use an existing non-RDA record for copy cataloguing they may choose to upgrade it to RDA; however, this is not compulsory. If upgrading a record, the entire record must be examined and upgraded before changing the coding to RDA. Cataloguers may choose to add selected RDA data elements to existing non-RDA records. However, the coding of the record should not be changed to RDA unless the entire record has been examined and upgraded.

The standards documentation on the Libraries Australia web site will be updated during February and March.

Data changes

Libraries Australia is already in the process of changing selected Authority records to reflect RDA practice. These include headings for the Bible and Koran, and spelling out abbreviations for musical terms and “Dept.”. These changes will appear in the LA Cataloguing service as soon as they made but some won’t appear in LA Search until it is replaced later in the year.

We will also investigate opportunities for global changes to selected bibliographic records so that they more closely reflect RDA practice. These may include addition of 33X fields (where there is no ambiguity) and the spelling out of abbreviations in some fields.

If you have any questions about the Libraries Australia RDA implementation please contact the Help Desk: Make a new Libraries Australia enquiry.

More information about the Australian implementation of RDA, including the availability of RDA training courses, may be found on the ACOC RDA web site.

With kind regards,


Rob Walls | Director, Database Services | National Library of Australia
p: +61 2 6262 1657 | f: +61 2 6273 1180 | e: rwalls@nla.gov.au

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