An email message to ARLIS-L from Elizabeth Lilker, ARLIS/NA Liaison to CC:DA (Committee on Cataloging: Description and Access).

Dear Colleagues,

The following update is based on the RDA Update Forum and CC:DA meetings at the recent American Library Association (ALA) annual conference in Washington DC.

Resource Description and Access (RDA) was released on June 14, 2010. It was published as part of the RDA Toolkit ( The Toolkit contains the text of RDA, sample workflows, mappings, resources from individual constituencies, the text of AACR2, and other resources. Also on this site is all the information on pricing. There is a free trial period until August 31st. Individuals and institutions are eligible. Also available on the site are webinars given earlier this year.

Testing has begun. The schedule is as follows:

  1. June 2010-September 30th, getting used to the new interface/learning curve
  2. October 1st-December 31st, cataloging of test materials
  3. January 1st-March 31st, formal evaluation by the national libraries.
There were several meetings during the conference regarding the testing period, one with the participating testers, and another with ILS vendors. Beacher Wiggins (Director for Acquisitions and Bibliographic Access, Library of Congress) said the final recommendation from the three national libraries (Library of Congress, National Library of Medicine, and National Agricultural Library) should be finalized by ALA annual next year. Testers include three ARLIS/NA sites, the Morgan Library and Museum, the Clark Art Institute, and the Minnesota Historical Society.

There was some discussion during CC:DA on how OCLC will prepare for the implementation of RDA. OCLC has already implemented the new MARC fields approved for RDA. Glenn Patton of OCLC that only during the testing period parallel records will be created by the testers, i.e. duplicate records using both RDA and AACR2 (and other codes) for purposes of comparison. However parallel records based on rules will not be accepted after the testing period is completed. “Editing wars” between users of RDA and AACR2 will not be accepted.

LC is coordinating RDA testing materials. There is a great deal of information on the following sites and The latter site contains numerous training documents by the Library of Congress along with the successor to the Library of Congress Rule Interpretations (LCRIs), the Library of Congress Policy Statements (LCPSs).

There was some welcome news at the RDA Update Forum. Troy Linker of ALA Publishing announced two new decisions based on constituency demands. First, there will be a solo user subscription available for the RDA Toolkit ($195 per year in US; $215 in Canada). Second, ALA Publishing will release a print version of RDA. It is expected to be released in the late summer, approximately 1000 pages and $150. While the print version will not have all the functionality of the Toolkit, it is a welcome option for libraries with limited budgets. I believe ALA Publishing finally understood that not having the print available would preclude many institutions from being able to use RDA.

Other news: John Attig has accepted another three year term as the ALA representative to the Joint Steering Committee (JSC). The revision process for RDA will be similar to that of AACR2. Proposals from constituencies will be taken to the JSC. CC:DA already has two task forces to comment on RDA. The next meeting of the JSC will be in March 2011. They already have many issues to deal with, as enumerated in the document, Issues deferred until after the first release of RDA, which is available on the JSC site The testing period will likely also identify issues to be considered by the JSC.

ALA annual was my last conference as the ARLIS/NA liaison to CC:DA. I will soon begin a new position at the National Library of Medicine in Bethesda, Maryland. It has been an honor to represent ARLIS/NA. I am very pleased that Dan Lipcan from the Metropolitan Museum of Art will be the new liaison for ARLIS/NA.

Elizabeth Lilker

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