Four national libraries have joined forces to implement a new bibliographic standard for describing and accessing library resources that is designed for the digital environment in which libraries now operate.

The National Library of Australia, the Library of Congress, the British Library and Library and Archives Canada have agreed on the coordinated implementation of RDA: Resource Description and Access, the successor to the Anglo–American Cataloguing Rules.

These national libraries, together with the professional library associations in Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States, are represented on the Committee of Principals which oversees the work of the Joint Steering Committee for Development of RDA, which is responsible for developing the guidelines.

‘We welcome the move to RDA. The guidelines will be easy to use and the functionality that the RDA web product will provide will make the cataloguing process more efficient,’ the National Library of Australia’s Assistant Director-General, Collections Management, Pam Gatenby, said.

RDA addresses the needs of the future by providing a flexible framework for describing all types of resources of interest to libraries.

The guidelines will be compatible with internationally established principles, models and standards. In addition, RDA will maintain continuity with the past, as data created using RDA will be compatible with existing records in online library catalogues.

The libraries plan to implement RDA by the end of 2009. To ensure a smooth transition, the four national libraries will work together where possible on implementation matters such as training, documentation and any national application decisions. Regular updates will be issued by the group to keep the library communities in their countries informed on RDA implementation progress and policy decisions.

Professional contacts: National Library of Australia, Pam Gatenby,; Library of Congress, Beacher Wiggins,; British Library, Caroline Brazier,; Library and Archives Canada, Ingrid Parent, ingrid.parent@)lac-bac.gc.c

Media contacts: Yvonne Kennedy 02 6262 1353; 0411 753 891;

Ellen Peterson,  Media Liaison Officer, 02 6262 1571;