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Harvard Library to Adopt RDA

Pilot training program on new catalog code to begin in November.               


October 23, 2012—The Harvard Library plans to adopt Resource Description and Access (RDA), the successor catalog code to AACR2.


RDA is designed to accommodate both the print and digital worlds and provide a flexible and extensible framework applicable to both analog and digital resources. As a content standard in alignment with the FRBR and FRAD entity-relationship models, RDA can be used with a range of existing—or yet to be developed—metadata encoding schemas and make data from different communities more compatible.


The Library of Congress (LC) set March 31, 2013 as its target RDA implementation date; nearly all new LC records produced after that will be cataloged according to RDA. The National Library of Medicine and the National Agricultural Library have also announced intent to target RDA implementation within the first quarter of 2013.


As of March 31, 2013, LC and the Program for Cooperative Cataloging (PCC) will no longer support AACR2 documentation and the National Authority File will move to RDA. Additionally, most copy cataloging performed by Harvard’s academic peers will be in RDA after March 31, 2013.


The Technical Services Training Working Group was charged with assuming the role of RDA Working Group to coordinate and manage implementation issues. Responsibilities of this Group include:

  • identifying training needs and appropriate materials;
  • planning and facilitating training;
  • and establishing task forces to focus on policy and technical issues as needed.


A pilot training program will begin in November, focusing on print monographs, and the ITS team will call for pilot program volunteers in the near future. (Special formats such as music, law, rare books, maps, etc. will be addressed at a later time and as these training materials become available.) Following the completion of the pilot, a larger training program will be rolled out in phases.


The Library will use the training materials prepared and used by LC. LC training modules and general informational sessions will be available to all library staff members in the spring.


Please contact the RDA Working Group with any questions.  


RDA Working Group

Karen Carlson Young (Chair)

Isabel Quintana

Alison Thornton

Bruce Trumble

Nancy Zaphiris