RDA Essentials

Apr 2016 | 384pp

Price: £69.95
CILIP members price: £55.96

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RDA Essentials

Thomas Brenndorfer

This concise guide to cataloguing with RDA: Resource Description and Access is essential for those seeking a simplified path to creating basic RDA records.

In this quick reference source, author Thomas Brenndorfer describes the key RDA concepts and vocabulary and distils RDA instructions, matching them to cataloguing practice in easy-to-follow language. Fully up-to-date with the latest revisions to RDA, this guide makes an excellent introduction while also serving as a bridge to more complex cataloguing.

RDA Essentials is an ideal resource for:

  • small libraries that require standard cataloguing 
  • LIS students who need an introduction to cataloguing
  • professionals seeking a ready reference source to RDA
  • experienced cataloguers needing a quick summary of RDA practice.

Readership: A handy access point for solo and part-time cataloguers, Brennndorfer’s guide also supports training and classroom use in any size institution. It will be useful reading for cataloguers and metadata specialists, systems librarians, user services managers, electronic resources librarians, and digital library project managers and students on cataloguing, information management and digital library courses.



1. Identifying Manifestations and Items

  • Mode of Issuance
  • Titles
  • Statements of Responsibility
  • Edition Statements
  • Numbering of Serials
  • Production, Publication, Distribution, and Manufacture Statements, and Copyright Date
  • Series Statements
  • Frequency, Identifiers, and Notes
  • Item Elements

2. Describing Carriers

  • Media Type and Carrier Type
  • Extent
  • Dimensions
  • Specialized Elements
  • Elements for Sound, Projection, Video, and Digital File Characteristics
  • Notes

3. Providing Acquisition and Access Information

4. Identifying Works and Expressions

  • Work Elements
  • Expression Elements

5. Describing Content

  • Work Elements
  • Expression Elements

6. Identifying Persons

  • Preferred Name for the Person
  • Variant Names and Other Elements

7. Identifying Families

  • Preferred Name for the Family
  • Variant Names and Other Elements

8. Identifying Corporate Bodies

  • Preferred Name for the Corporate Body
  • Variant Names and Other Elements

9. Relationships between Entities

10. Relationships to Persons, Families, and Corporate Bodies Associated with a Resource

  • Relationship Elements

11. Relationships between Works and Subjects

  • Relationship Elements

12. Relationships between Works, Expressions, Manifestations, and Items 

  • Relationship Elements

13. Relationships between Persons, Families, and Corporate Bodies

  • Relationship Elements


14. Transcription (RDA 1.7)

15. Numbers Expressed as Numerals or as Words (RDA 1.8)

16. Notes (RDA 1.10)

17. Titles Associated with a Manifestation (RDA 2.3.1)

18. Statements of Responsibility (RDA 2.4.1)

19. Place of Production, Publication, Distribution, and Manufacture (RDA 2.7.2, 2.8.2, 2.9.2, and 2.10.2)

20. Name of Producer, Publisher, Distributor, and Manufacturer (RDA 2.7.4, 2.8.4, 2.9.4, and 2.10.4)

21. Date of Production, Publication, Distribution, and Manufacture (RDA 2.7.6, 2.8.6, 2.9.6, and 2.10.6)

22. Titles of Works (RDA 6.2.1)

23. Names of Persons, Families, and Corporate Bodies (RDA 8.4 and 8.5)

24. Dates Associated with Persons, Families, and Corporate Bodies (RDA,, and

25. Places (RDA 16)


26. Persons

27. Families

28. Corporate Bodies

29. Works

30. Expressions


31. Cases Involving Multiple Elements

32. Changes that Result in the Creation of a New Description

" ... as an easy-to-use reference for cataloguers already getting to grips with RDA, this is an excellent resource and a worthwhile investment."
- Catalogue and Index

Thomas Brenndorfer began his career in cataloguing at the National Library of Canada in 1990. While working at the Guelph Public Library in 1997 he learned about FRBR, which had been presented at a conference on the future of AACR2 in nearby Toronto. He followed the development of FRBR to its full incorporation into a draft of RDA ten years later in 2007. Having seen the importance of FRBR for the future of catalogs he began giving presentations introducing FRBR and RDA concepts to cataloguers (and others eager to learn) at conferences hosted by the Ontario Library Association and Canadian Library Association.