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On Oct. 30, Leslie attended a webinar hosted by OCLC, detailing OCLC’s preparations for the soon-to-be-released new cataloging rules, RDA (Resource Description and Access), which will succeed AACR2 (Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules), the standard that has been in place for the last 30 or so years.

A poll of webinar attendees, posing the question “How is your institution responding to RDA?”, produced the following responses: 200+ are presently reading material and attending sessions on RDA; 85 are waiting to see how others proceed; 3 are currently changing their cataloging practices; and a small number do not plan to implement RDA.

An attendee asked: Will libraries be forced (by OCLC) to adopt RDA? The answer: No, we can continue to enter data in AACR2 for the forseeable future. The presenters noted that, while RDA has proven controversial in the United States, it has been received more positively in the UK and Australia — prompting OCLC to proceed early with RDA development, to meet the demand of its international clientele.

The planned release date of the RDA online manual is November of 2009 ( In the six months following the manual’s release, a project to test the new rules will be conducted by the three U.S. national libraries (LC, the National Library of Medicine, and the National Agriculture Library). A group of test participants, representing libraries and archives of all types, as well as cataloging agencies (firms that provide cataloging for other institutions), will work with a core set of materials, representing all the major categories, plus other materials usual to the participating institutions, cataloging them in both AACR2 and RDA. Qualitative and quantitative feedback will be solicited, and the test results will be made public. OCLC presenters noted that, since the testers will be working in OCLC’s live production mode, we will see RDA records contributed to OCLC products such as WorldCat.

Catalogers will no doubt already be aware of the planned changes to the MARC21 record format, in preparation for RDA ( OCLC plans to make the new fields, codes, etc. available in Connexion (OCLC’s input interface for catalogers) before the testing period. Connexion users will be alerted in a future Technical Bulletin.

A webinar attendee asked if OCLC would be providing a new data-input template for RDA. While OCLC is currently working on an interface that incorporates RDA’s controlled vocabulary, the presenters noted that participants in the testing project would be working primarily with MARC21 records, and that “most of us will be working with MARC for some time to come.” They recommend that we follow the test reports, and wait for the results, before jumping in and implementing RDA.

A recording of the webinar will be posted on OCLC’s website (