Resource Description and Access (RDA)

Resource Description and Access (RDA): In June, 2010, the Resource Description and Access (RDA) was published, which will completely take over the place of AACR-2. RDA is built on the foundations established by the Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules (AACR). Instructions derived from AACR have been reworked to produce RDA which is easier to use, more adaptable, and more cost-efficient in its application. The RDA has been developed to replace AACR. It has flexible and extensible framework for the description of digital and non-digital resources. The AACR-2 was mainly for the non-digital resources. RDA uses MARC 21 as encoding standard (Format for Bibliographic Data, and Format for Authority Data) and International Standard Bibliographic Description (ISBD) as display standard. ISBD is also used by AACR-2 for display of record. The RDA element set is compatible with ISBD, MARC 21, and Dublin Core.

A key element in the design of RDA is its alignment with the conceptual models for bibliographic and authority data [Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records (FRBR), and Functional Requirements for Authority Data (FRAD)] developed by the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA).

The Joint Steering Committee for Development of RDA (JSC) is responsible for maintaining “RDA: Resource Description and Access”. JSC was previously responsible for maintenance of the Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules (AACR). The constituent organizations represented on the Joint Steering Committee are The American Library Association, The Australian Committee on Cataloguing, The British Library, The Canadian Committee on Cataloguing, CILIP: Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals, and The Library of Congress. The current Chair of JSC is Alan Danskin, the British Library representative. RDA is published by: The American Library Association, The Canadian Library Association, and CILIP: Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals.

The RDA is now available over the RDA Toolkit Web site ( It will help you navigate from AACR2 to RDA at no charge.