Introducing RDA: A Guide to the Basics after 3R, Second Edition

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  • Description
  • Table of Contents
  • About the author
  • Reviews

This title is also available in e-book format for libraries and individuals through aggregators and other distributors—ask your current vendor for more information. 

Since Oliver’s guide was first published in 2010, thousands of LIS students, records managers, and catalogers and other library professionals have relied on its clear, plainspoken explanation of RDA: Resource Description and Access as their first step towards becoming acquainted with the cataloging standard. Now, reflecting the changes to RDA after the completion of the 3R Project, Oliver brings her Special Report up to date. This essential primer

  • concisely explains what RDA is, its basic features, and the main factors in its development;
  • describes RDA’s relationship to the international standards and models that continue to influence its evolution;
  • provides an overview of the latest developments, focusing on the impact of the 3R Project, the results of aligning RDA with IFLA’s Library Reference Model (LRM), and the outcomes of internationalization;
  • illustrates how information is organized in the post 3R Toolkit and explains how to navigate through this new structure; and
  • discusses how RDA continues to enable improved resource discovery both in traditional and new applications, including the linked data environment.

The new edition of Introducing RDA will prove just as indispensable as the first for novices and seasoned veterans alike.

Examination copies are available for instructors who are interested in adopting this title for course use.

List of Abbreviations

1    What Is RDA?
1.1    The 3R Project
1.2    Based on a Theoretical Framework
1.3    Designed for the Digital Environment
1.4    A Global Standard Appropriate for Use in Many Contexts
1.5    Impact

2    RDA: An International Standard
2.1    Alignment with International Principles, Models, and Standards 
2.2    Capacity for Use in an International Context
2.3    Integration of Translations and the Translation Workflow 
2.4    Shared Governance

3    The IFLA Bibliographic Conceptual Models
3.1    Overview of FRBR, FRAD, and FRSAD
3.2    IFLA Library Reference Model
3.3    The Role of the Models

4    RDA’s Background: Evolution from AACR2 into RDA
4.1    Building on the Foundations of AACR
4.2    Deconstruction of AACR2
4.3    Continuity with AACR2
4.4    Moving away from AACR2

5    RDA: Some Key Aspects
5.1    Focus on the User
5.2    Structure of RDA
5.3    Content and Carrier
5.4    RDA Elements
5.5    Aggregates
5.6    Shortcuts
5.7    Nomen
5.8    New Ways of Thinking about Resource Description
5.9    Summary

6    Using RDA
6.1    Navigation in the RDA Toolkit
6.2    Recording Methods
6.3    Element Reference
6.4    Condition/Option
6.5    Encoding Schemes: Vocabulary Encoding Schemes and String Encoding Schemes 
6.6    Policy Statements and Application Profiles
6.7    Data Provenance
6.8    Examples
6.9    Glossary

Chris Oliver

Chris Oliver is the head of Metadata and Processing at the University of Ottawa Library. She has been a cataloging manager in academic libraries for over 25 years and has participated in the development of cataloging standards for over 20 years. She has a long history of involvement with RDA, beginning with her years as chair of the Canadian Committee on Cataloguing, one of the bodies that contributed to the development of RDA. Then, in 2016, she changed her involvement from RDA development to RDA governance, becoming a member of the RDA Board as the representative of the Canadian Federation of Library Associations. She was chair of the IFLA Bibliographic Conceptual Models Review Group (formerly the FRBR Review Group) from 2013 to 2019. She continues to serve on the Review Group and is also a member of the IFLA Standing Committee on Subject Analysis and Access. She has been invited to give numerous presentations and training sessions on RDA in North America and around the world.

"Fortunately, there is no better guide [through the 3R Project] than Oliver, one of the happy few who seem to know the RDA Toolkit backwards and forwards. Her 2010 book has grown in this second edition from 124 to 211 pages, but it remains just as readable ... In conclusion, what Sheila Intner said in her review of the first edition of this work applies to this new edition as well: 'Introducing RDA is recommended to readers who do not expect or require comprehensive coverage of RDA. They will not be disappointed. The author has a clear writing style and ability to explain the principles and concepts on which RDA is based.'"
— Technicalities

"Provide[s] a good starting point, some base knowledge, an introduction to changes to the Toolkit, and might be a complementary resource for those out there struggling to come to terms with it all ... The volume is very dense despite being only 200 pages and is quite repetitive in places, but with necessity: I actually found it quite helpful that the book attempted to explain things in different ways and to drill important points into my brain."
— Journal of the Australian Library and Information Association

"Oliver's book is comprehensive and reflects the current state of the new RDA Toolkit. It is an effective entry point for seasoned catalogers and is also useful to new catalogers unfamiliar with the earlier codes ... This is a valuable resource written by a very reputable author. All catalogers and library school students pursuing a career in cataloging should have access to it."
— Technical Services Quarterly

Praise for the first edition:

"Cataloging and technical services librarians are keen to learn about Resource Description and Access (RDA) and this handy guide is an excellent introduction to it."
— Technicalities

"Oliver, cataloging supervisor at McGill University, presents a lucid discussion of the history of the development of RDA in the context of the FRBR and FRAD entity relationship models ... Recommended for administrators, technical service librarians, library school classes, and those interested in the newest developments in cataloging."
— Catholic Library World

"Highly recommended for novice and experienced catalogers as well as library school faculty and students seeking basic information on RDA and its implementation."
— Library Journal