Understanding RDA



RDA Chapter 2 (with Chapter 1)

Look at the physical book.




2 Look at the physical book again

RDA Chapter 3.

Look at the physical book again. n.b. for a book, carrier type is volume; extent is number of pages; font size is a separate piece of data so gets a separate element in RDA





3 Consider the book access and acquisition

RDA Chapter 4.

Consider the book in terms of acquisition and access. e.g. contact information includes address or website of publisher





Summary so far – with example:


Note: when RDA uses “transcribe” vs “record” there are requirements in place for how the text is to be presented. This is standard across the elements.

Next: moving away from the physical item and into the work and expression.





4 Consider the content

RDA Chapter 6 (with Chapter 5).

Consider the content of the book. Some GMD information is included here.

Now… Chapter 6 deals with the Authorised Access Point for the work. Instructions for main entry are found at the end of Chapter 6.

Authorised access point

Authorised Access Point – a unifying heading that helps identify that specific work. Note the order of the name, the punctuation and the birth – death year information.



5 Consider the content again



RDA Chapter 7 (with Chapter 5).







RDA Chapters 9, 10 and 11 (with Chapter 8).





Entities by authorised access points

7 Show primary relationships



RDA Chapter 17

General Guidelines on Recording Primary Relationships. n.b. some primary relationships have to be inferred ;(




8 Show relationships between


RDA Chapters 19, 20, 21 and 22 (with Chapter 18)

RDA Relationship Elements

Top level relationships:

RDA asks for more information about the relationship between the work and the people.




Top level elements

Example of mapping RDA roles:

Note in example that composer is also a singer so is listed in the different roles… RDA maps all these relationships out.





Mapping RDA roles

9 Show relationships between



RDA Chapters 25, 26, 27 and 28 (with Chapter 24)

includes series part because this is about the relationship between this book and others in the series




Example of what the record might look like built on RDA



RDA gathers all the information together – it does not dictate what that information will look like in a specific record in a catalogue. Here is an example






Sructured expressions example

Structured descriptions example

Unstructured descriptions example









Unstructured descriptions example

10 Show relationships between



RDA Chapters 30, 31 and 32 (with Chapter 29)






Example related persons

N.B. Chapters 12-16 are place holder chapters with some information filled in. e.g. formatting geographic names












Summary of the 10 steps


Brenndorfer, T. (2012) RDA in 10 easy steps. [online]. Available at


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