ALA’s ALCTS (Association for Library Collections & Technical Services) has been presenting and publishing RDA webinars since 2010.  You can register for live upcoming presentations (this also gives you unlimited access to the recorded webinar); buy recordings up to two weeks after the live event; or wait six months until the recorded presentation is made available without charge.  These webinars can be invaluable for initial training, for learning how to apply RDA in a new context, or for a refresher.

Upcoming webinars are listed here:

Cataloging and RDA webinars, specifically, here:

And free RDA webinars can be accessed here:

If you’re curious about ALCT’s other webinars, check out their general playlist on YouTube:

If you create or edit authority records, you should be aware that RDA no longer incorporates the terms “male,” “female,” and “not known” for gender, and that PCC policy is now to use terms from LCDGT (Library of Congress Demographic Group Categories Term and Code List) in field 375 ($2 lcdgt).

You can access LCDGT from ClassWeb.  If you do not have ClassWeb access, you can retrieve a PDF document from the Acquisitions and Bibliographic Access Directorate home page, though it will be slightly less current.  Netanel Ganin of Brandeis University has also posted the terms in a more navigable page in the style of ClassWeb, and he plans to keep his list up to date with each update.

The terms in LCDGT can potentially be used in any setting where you need controlled, single-facet vocabulary for age, educational level, ethnic or cultural identification, gender, language, medical or psychological condition or disability, national or regional affiliation, occupation or field of activity, religion, sexual orientation, or other social group identification; so we may have occasion to refer to it in the future even if we are not assigning gender designations in authority records.

(Gender in authority records and in RDA will be discussed in a little more depth in a forthcoming post on Flaming Catheads.)

Catalogers working with music materials will want to be current with the Music Library Association’s Best Practices for Music Cataloging Using RDA and MARC21. Since February of last year, this document has been integrated with the RDA Toolkit (under the Resources tab).  You need not be logged on to the Toolkit to access Best Practices, but the links to RDA instructions will not work unless you are.

If you want to consult a more traditionally formatted document, the old website of the former Bibliographic Control Committee of the Music Library Association has links to PDF files of Version 1.1 (the final version issued as a complete stand-alone PDF file), a list of changes between versions 1.01 and 1.1, and Supplements to Best Practices for Music Cataloging Using RDA and MARC21, version 1.5, 12 April 2016 (this last document is also available at the current website of MLA’s Cataloging and Metadata Committee).  Be aware, of course, that the Toolkit-integrated document will presumably be more up to date.

Announced on the RSC website:

The RDA full record examples on the Toolkit website have been revised. The examples show authority and bibliographic records in both an RDA element view and a MARC encoding view of the record.

There are also two examples showing diagrams of specific RDA entities, elements, and relationships. More will be added later.

That examples page also includes a link to rball versions of some of the bibliographic examples; they are available in both RIMMF native RDA format and RDF linked data format.

These examples may be accessed from the RDA Toolkit website ( or from the link on the Tools tab in RDA Toolkit (

The examples are freely available to all. No subscription to RDA Toolkit is required to access and download the examples.

Posted:23 May 2016

Walt Nickerson has recently published updated versions of his four macro books:

Walt’s Macros

The long list is in alphabetical order, so look in the middle for M: Macro book: Essentials; Macro Book: Extras1; Macro Book: Extras2; and Macro Book: MacroTools.  There is also, right above these, a handy list of all the macros in the four books, “Macro book listing.”

Terry Reese announced new additions to MarcEdit on April 30. He has added a new tool, UNIMARC Tools, for moving data between MARC21 and UNIMARC, and a new option has been added to the Replace function.

Update on MarcEdit:  Terry has just (as of today, May 13) announced that he plans a few more updates for the weekend.  If you use MarcEdit and want to be up to date, it would be a good idea to subscribe to his list, MARCEDIT-L (


OK, this is not hot news any more, but maybe it’s at least still warm.  Catalogers using OCLC should know that the organization has issued two policy statements meant to guide member libraries in applying RDA: one effective through March 30, 2013, one that came into effect on March 31.  Everyone who catalogs with OCLC should read and understand the current statement:

A few points to note:  OCLC does not require that member libraries use RDA, even for original cataloging; but “When creating a new record with English as the language of cataloging, consult the LC/NACO Authority File and use forms of access points found there, regardless of whether they are coded for RDA.”  Also note that we are asked to control all controllable headings; this will greatly facilitate OCLC’s update of headings in WorldCat as they are updated in the Authority File.

The Policy Statement also confirms that the General Material Designator’s days are numbered:  “As recommended in the PCC Guidelines on Hybrid Bibliographic Records, OCLC will retain the 245 h GMD for a period of 3 years in WorldCat records where it currently exists. Catalogers editing existing non-RDA records are asked to leave formerly valid GMDs present in records through 31 March 2016. However, do remove the GMD when re-cataloging (and re-coding) a record as RDA.”

You can learn more in the forthcoming RDA Policy Statement Webinar, with sessions scheduled for April 11 and April 17 (  If you are unable to attend either session, it will be recorded and made available on OCLC’s website.

On March 16 I gave a presentation at COSUGI’s annual conference in Salt Lake City on “Getting Ready for RDA.”  It is an update, with less Illinois emphasis and some more specific SirsiDynix references, of last October’s “Wait a Minute, How Many Months”?; I’m attaching PDFs in case anyone might be interested in the newer information.  After editing my speaker’s notes a little I will post them as well.

One thing I emphasized in the presentation more than in the posted material is that preparation for RDA involves a lot of policy planning, much of which will probably be done while you’re learning about the code. Among other things this is an occasion for examining and rethinking your library’s or consortium’s existing policies.

And corollary to that: As you make these decisions, it is very important to document, not only the decisions themselves, but the reasons for them. Eventually someone after you will be revisiting the issues you’re dealing with now, quite possibly someone who will not have been around for these initial discussions. They will appreciate knowing the context in which you established your policies and practices, which they can use in evaluating what they should do at that undetermined point in the future. And in fact you and your colleagues may well be returning to these questions yourselves; and it can be helpful, when re-evaluating what you’ve done, to have an answer to the question–literally–”What were we thinking?”


Some RDA Training Resources 2013-02-14

UPDATE: Speaker’s notes:

Getting Ready for RDA notes for posting 2013-03-25