RDA: Resource description & access—a survey of the current state of the art



Resource Description & Access (RDA) is intended to provide a flexible and extensible framework that can accommodate all types of content and media within rapidly evolving digital environments while also maintaining compatibility with the Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules, 2nd edition (AACR2). The cataloging community is grappling with practical issues in navigating the transition from AACR2 to RDA; there is a definite need to evaluate major subject areas and broader themes in information organization under the new RDA paradigm. This article aims to accomplish this task through a thorough and critical review of the emerging RDA literature published from 2005 to 2011. The review mostly concerns key areas of difference between RDA and AACR2, the relationship of the new cataloging code to metadata standards, the impact on encoding standards such as Machine-Readable Cataloging (MARC), end user considerations, and practitioners' views on RDA implementation and training. Future research will require more in-depth studies of RDA's expected benefits and the manner in which the new cataloging code will improve resource retrieval and bibliographic control for users and catalogers alike over AACR2. The question as to how the cataloging community can best move forward to the post-AACR2/MARC environment must be addressed carefully so as to chart the future of bibliographic control in the evolving environment of information production, management, and use.