Specific changes from AACR2 to RDA

The following are some of the smaller changes we can expect from the change from AACR2 to RDA.

The fixed fields. RDA MARC records will usually have an “i” in the “Desc” (Descriptive Cataloging Form, Leader/18) field. The “i” indicates that the record follows ISBD conventions. An RDA record will not have an “a” in the “Desc” field.

The 040 field. RDA MARC records will note “rda” under the “$e” subfield of field 040.

No more “rule of three”. AACR2’s “rule of three” stipulated that if there were more than three authors for any resource, only the first would be noted in the 245 field, followed by “[et al.], and that the title would become the authorized access point (i.e., there would be no 1xx field).  RDA does not retain this rule. All authors are listed in the 245 field, and the author with primary responsibility (or the first-named author) goes in the 1xx field, with additional authors in the 7xx field. The following example was created by Adam Schiff at the University of Washington libraries, about a book titled Managing Bird Damage to Fruit and Other Horticultural Crops coauthored by John Tracy, Mary Bomford, Quentin Hart, Glen Saunders, and Ron Sinclair. AACR2 would code the book in this way:

245 00  $a Managing bird damage to fruit and other horticultural crops / John Tracey … [et al.].

700 1_  $a Tracey, John Paul.

RDA says to do it this way this:

100 1_  $a Tracey, John Paul, $e author.

245 10  $a Managing bird damage to fruit and other horticultural crops / John Tracey, Mary Bomford, Quentin Hart, Glen Saunders, Ron Sinclair.

700 1_ $a Bomford, Mary, $e author.

700 1_ $a Hart, Quentin, $e author.

700 1_ $a Saunders, Glen, $e author.

700 1_ $a Sinclair, Ron, $e author.

Note that the 245 field in the RDA example has a first indicator of “1,” meaning that a title added entry will be made. We will discuss the relationship designators, in the $e subfield, later.

Uniform titles. The uniform title, which goes in the 240 field (or 130 field if it is the authorized access point), is now called the “preferred title.” There are several small changes to its use under RDA. When one work is published simultaneously in two languages, the preferred title is that of the first book received, not of the book published in the United States. This is in keeping with the international character of RDA.

In addition, when a new edition of a resource is made with revised content and a new title proper, the “preferred title” in the 240 will remain that of the first edition.

Another small change is that if two different languages of a work are represented within the same resource (for example, a dual-language translation), you should skip the 240 field (i.e., no more “Polyglot” or “French & Spanish” in the “$l” subfield) and put the preferred titles, with the “$l” language subfield, in the 700 fields for each language expression. We will see this infrequently.

Perhaps more important, “Selections” can no longer be used alone in a preferred title; it needs to be used with “Works.” A compilation of three or more works by Mark Twain, for example, would be coded in this way.

240 10 $a Works. $k Selections. $f 2001

245 10 $a Two novels and favorite essays / $c Mark Twain.

AACR2 would have left out the “Works.” However, “Poems. Selections” would still be appropriate in RDA.

There are various other small, but tricky, changes to how preferred titles are used in RDA, all to be found in RDA The main thrust is that RDA more frequently uses conventional collective titles (e.g., “short stories,” “speeches,” “poems”) and is much more likely to give 7xx name-title added entries for all parts of a compilation.

Bias toward transcription. RDA’s mantra is “take what you see.” In most cases, the information from the preferred source should be transcribed. So if the title page reads “Third revised edition,” AACR2 would have this:

250 ## 3rd  rev. ed.

But RDA would have this:

250 ## Third revised edition

However, if the title page of the book reads “3rd rev. ed.,” RDA instructs us to record it as is. Truncation of the names of publishers, also recommended in AACR2, is no longer used in RDA.

In general, RDA stipulates that catalogers not correct incorrect information but add a note about it. For example, obvious misspellings in the title are corrected in the 246 field. So, where AACR2 would have this:

245 ## Teusday’s [i.e.] Tuesday’s tasks

or perhaps

245   Teusday’s [sic] tasks

RDA would have this:

245 ## Teusday’s tasks

246 ## Corrected title: $a Tuesday’s tasks

However, errors in titles of serials should be corrected in the 245 field.

Abbreviations (Latin and otherwise). RDA does not use any Latin words or abbreviations. These include (but are not limited to) AACR2 standbys such as s.l. (sine loco), s.n. (sine nomine), sic, ca., and et al. That is, where AACR2 would have [s.l.], RDA prescribes [Place of publication not identified]; [s.n.] would be [publisher not identified]. However, RDA and LC strongly encourage catalogers to supply a probable date and place of publication, taken from outside the resource if necessary.

The lack of abbreviations means a different “look” to the catalog record. Be prepared to see names listed in this way:

Smith, John, approximately 1837-1893

Non-Latin abbreviations are also mostly prohibited. Use “born” instead of “b.”; “illustrations” instead of “ill.”; “century” instead of “cent.,” etc. For example, where AACR2 would have this:

300 ## $a 86, [21] p. :$b ill., 1 folded map ;$c 24 cm.

RDA would have:

300 ## $a 86 pages, 21 unnumbered pages :$b illustrations, 1 folded map ;$c 24 cm

Note the change in how unnumbered pages are listed.

Allowed abbreviations include “cm” (without a period) and abbreviations for time such as “min.” and “sec.” (useful in the 300 field for a DVD/CD). Remember that abbreviations are permitted when the preferred source of information has them.

Preferred sources of information. AACR’s “chief source” of information is now the RDA “preferred sources.” RDA permits catalogers to seek information about a resource—e.g., its title or date—from a broader range of sources than AACR2 does. RDA 2.2 lists the preferred sources of information for different types of resources. If the information cannot be found in the preferred sources, then RDA (2.2.4) permits catalogers to seek information outside the resource itself. Information taken from outside the resource should be enclosed in brackets.

The 264 field. In MARC21, the 260 field has traditionally been used to code information on publication and distribution. Recently, LC has recommended that the 264 field take over the duties of the 260 field. The 264 field is meant to satisfy RDA’s requirement that bibliographic records distinguish information about publication from that about copyright, production, manufacture, and distribution. The second indicators for the 264 field are as follows:

0 – Production

1 – Publication

2 – Distribution

3 – Manufacture

4 – Copyright notice date

RDA—and LC—have a complex set of rules for when to use the distribution, manufacture, and production information. Very clear instructions can be found in LC’s “RDA: Module 1” in the list of LC training materials (see “Resources” section below). Also see RDA 2.7-2.11 for detailed instructions. In short, distribution information should be given when publication information is not available, manufacture information should be given when publication and distribution information are not available, and production information should be given for unpublished resources. Publication and copyright dates should always be given. Because 264 is a repeatable field, there will be many records that look like this (example is taken from LC):

264 #1 North Vancouver, BC :$b The Bowler Press,|c 2008.

264 #4 $c ©2008

Note that the second indicator 4 means that the date is a copyright date. Also, the copyright symbol (i.e., ©) should be used instead of “c.” If the resource lists only a copyright date, and it is reasonable to assume that the publication date is the same, the publication date should be put in brackets. Information on the source of publication information can go in the 588 field.

Do not privilege “home country.” Another change is that catalogers should record the first listed place of publication where more than one are listed. There is no instruction to use a place found in the catalog’s “home country.” RDA has an international focus.


The Bible. The major change in how the Bible is cataloged is that “O.T.” or “N.T.” will no longer be used to indicate whether a book is in the Old or New Testament. So we will have

Bible. Ezra.

Bible. Matthew.

If the resource is an entire Testament, it will be spelled out:

Bible. New Testament.

The Koran. Koran is now spelled Qur’an.

The 300 field. The 300 field is now repeatable. This may be useful for a book that has an accompanying CD.

The 775 and 776 fields. These fields are recommended by LC for coding reproductions. The 775 field is used when the reproduction is in the same carrier; the 776 field is used when it is in a different carrier. LC gives the following example:

240 10 Novels. $k Selections

245 10 André ; $b Leone Leoni / $c  George Sand.

776 08 $i Online version: $a Sand, George.  $s Novels. Selections. $t André  $d Paris : Honoré Champion Éditeur, 2011, ©2011 $w (OCoLC)744525681

“Online version” in the $i field is the relationship designator. See the section on “Relationship designators.”


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