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RDA Implementation Announcment

On June 14, 2011, the Library of Congress, the National Agricultural Library, and the National Library of Medicine announced an agreement regarding the implementation of RDA (Resource Description and Access), new cataloging rules published in June 2010 to replace AACR2. Executives of the three national libraries, Dr. Simon Liu (NAL), Sheldon Kotzin (NLM) and Dr. Deanna Marcum (LC), endorsed the recommendations made by the US RDA Test Coordinating Committee regarding the implementation of RDA — namely that RDA should be implemented no earlier than January 2013 and is contingent upon the satisfactory progress/completion of nine specified tasks and action items outlined in the report. The statement is available at: The executive summary of the report is at:

The full report will be made available prior to the upcoming American Library Association (ALA) Annual Meeting, which begins June 23, 2011. The tasks that must be completed or underway before implementation are:

  • Rewrite the RDA instructions in clear, unambiguous, plain English
  • Define process for updating RDA in the online environment
  • Improve the functionality of the online RDA Toolkit
  • Develop full RDA record examples in MARC and other encoding schema
  • Announce the completion of the Registered RDA Element Sets and Vocabularies
  • Demonstrate credible progress towards a replacement for MARC
    Ensure and facilitate community involvement
  • Leadership and coordination of RDA training by LC
  • Solicit demonstrations of prototype input and discovery systems that use the RDA element set

Each of these tasks has a proposed timeline for completion, so that progress in achievement can be ascertained. Members of the Coordinating Committee will continue in an oversight role to ensure that these conditions are being met in a way that will allow a 2013 implementation. The delayed implementation should also give libraries adequate time to prepare for training, documentation, systems updates and many other tasks.

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