RDA implementation: the new cataloguing standard in Europe - Dilyana Ducheva
Resource Description and
Implementation and Perception in
Is cataloguing a diminishing field?
Photo source: https://www.bgsu.edu/library/nworbd/nworbd_info.html
“[A]standard that allows the production of well-structured
metadata to create advanced and interactive search tools
and to allow users to access and obtain a wide range of
informative resources, from the simple to the most complex
1Published in: Bianchini, C., & Guerrini, M. (2016). The international diffusion of RDA: a wide overview on the new guidelines.JLIS.it, 7(2), 1-5. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.4403/jlis.it-11844
RDA began as AACR3, a revised version of the Anglo-American Cataloguing
Rules, Second Edition, and was designed to accommodate the description of
It was recognised2 that a more international approach was required to fulfil the
demands of the AACR2 cataloguers and to facilitate the sharing with their
2Tillett, B. (2016). RDA, or, The Long Journey of the Catalog to the Digital Age. JLIS.it, 7(2), 7-24. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.4403/jlis.it-11643
• The implementation decision-making process:
Why? How? What?
• Perception and attitudes
• Comparison with the U.S. libraries
• Examining cooperation among countries and libraries
Literature review combined with semi-structured interviews with respondents
from 12 countries, underwent thematic coding
• 5 face-to-face interviews
• 8 email interviews
Some context: Most European countries have a centralised library system
where the National Library is in charge of what bibliographic standards are
used throughout the country. That makes the academic libraries less
autonomous than in countries like the U.S. and UK.
Despite RDA’s international focus, the countries most inclined to adopt the
new standard are coming from an AACR2 tradition.
AACR2 National rules
the Czech Republic,
Iceland, Ireland, Latvia,
Norway, Sweden, the
Bulgaria, Poland, Ukraine,
Lithuania, Croatia, Italy,
Portugal, Serbia, Slovenia,
Spain, Austria***, France,
***were considering AACR prior
• Digital materials
• In sync with the wider cataloguing community
Photo source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PaWcU7rqqyA
• Training and online tools were heavily emphasised by all implementers
• Using change management to prepare for the implementation?
• The importance of translation varied
• Unclear text structure
• Worries about systems’ unsuitability
• Need for better metadata formats, MARC not good enough?
• Generally positive attitude towards future developments even if
frustrated with current state
Issues and perceptions
The implementation experience and issues did not differ significantly between
the U.S. and European adopters:
• The European respondents are concerned with the high level of change in
the new standard
• The European respondents seem to be more involved in the further
development of the standard
• The European respondents are more prone to discuss the development of
RDA for the Archives and Museums sector
RDA and the collaboration
• Cooperation on the implementation of RDA seen as a great benefit among
• Collaboration between European libraries concerns future developments and
closer working relations on resolving perceived issues and challenges
RDA as a catalyst to future
• Closer working relations establish closer community ties, leading to more
collaboration on global issues, e.g.:
• Linked data
• Metadata formats
• Archives and Museums sector
• Have attitudes towards RDA evolved?
• Are there other type of issues that have arisen?
• How many of the updates in the standard are in consequence to the issues
encountered by various implementers?
• Could the changes be expected to continue with more and more
countries/institutions implementing RDA?
• How is the development of RDA influenced by the various cultural
perspectives the new implementers bring?
Thoughts for further research
• Bianchini, C., & Guerrini, M. (2016). ‘The international diffusion of RDA: a wide
overview on the new guidelines’.JLIS.it, 7(2), pp. 1-5.
• Sprochi, A. (2016) 'Where Are We Headed? Resource Description and Access,
Bibliographic Framework, and the Functional Requirements for Bibliographic
Records Library Reference Model'. International Information & Library Review, 48 (2),
• Tillett, B. (2016) 'RDA, or, The Long Journey of the Catalog to the Digital Age'.
JLIS.it, 7 (2), pp.7-24. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.4403/jlis.it-11643
• Behrens, R., Aliverti, C. & Schaffner, V. (2016) 'RDA in Germany, Austria and German-speaking Switzerland - a new standard not only for libraries'.
JLIS.it, 7 (2), pp.253-278.
• Bianchini, C., & Guerrini, M. (eds.) (2016). RDA, Resource Description and Access: The metamorphosis of cataloguing – JLIS.it, 7(2), pp. 1-367
• Cronin, C. (2011) 'From Testing to Implementation: Managing Full-Scale RDA Adoption at the University of Chicago'. Cataloging & Classification
Quarterly, 49 (7-8), pp.626-646.
• Danskin, A. (2013) 'Linked and open data: RDA and bibliographic control'. JLIS.it, 4 (1), pp.147.
• Goldberga, A., Kreislere, M., Sauka, J., Stürmane, A. & Virbule, I. (2014) 'RDA: From Strategy to Experiments and Implementation in Latvia (Including
an Overview of the Situation in the Baltic States)'. Journal of Library Metadata, 14 (3-4), pp.205-221.
• Jin, Q. & Sandberg, J.A. (2014) 'Implementing RDA at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library'. Technical Services Quarterly, 31 (3),
• Lambroni, G. (2015) 'RIMMF and Olisuite/WeCat by @cult, or how to implement RDA'. JLIS.it, 6 (3), pp.175-180.
• Sanchez, E. (2011) 'RDA, AACR2, and You: What Catalogers Are Thinking'. In: Sanchez, E. (ed.) Conversations with catalogers in the twenty-first century. Santa
Barbara, California: Santa Barbara, California : Libraries Unlimited, pp. 53.
• The Present and Future State of Rare Materials Cataloging: An International Perspective (2016). Cataloging & Classification Quarterly, 54 (5-6), pp.277-401
• Young, N.K. (2012) 'Effective Learning and Teaching of RDA: Applying Adult Learning Theory'. Journal of Library Metadata, 12 (2-3), pp.188-198.