Cataloging Content Standards

ISBD (International Standard Bibliographic Description)

The International Standard Bibliographic Description (ISBD) defines the arrangement of bibliographic information in a record and the prescribed punctuation employed to separate bibliographic data from one another. This standard was introduced in 1971 for single-and multi-volume monographs; since then, it has been expanded to accommodate other formats and revised to define a foundation for cataloging codes internationally. The ISBD has played a significant role in Anglo-American cataloging since the mid-1970s, its general conventions eventually becoming part of the cataloging text itself under AACR2.

Though its use is optional, the ISBD plays an important role in RDA cataloging. The new cataloging manual only informs the cataloger what pieces of information to record for a bibliographic record, not how to put these pieces together to form a record. To retain consistency with AACR2 practices, catalogers will require some familiarity with the ISBD to assemble records when following RDA instructions.

ISBD Resources

  • International Standard Bibliographic Description (ISBD). Consolidated ed. The Hague: International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions, 2011. Also available in print loose-leaf format.
  • International Standard Bibliographic Description (ISBD) (Draft consolidated edition)
    A late draft version in PDF format of the current consolidated edition. The webpage includes links to a clean version of the draft, a marked-up version, and a listing of revisions made to the text. The consolidated edition was published in mid-2011.
  • ISBD Area 0 (Draft version)
    The new Area 0 is designed to succeed the general material designations that have been a part of the ISBD standard for over three decades. This new part of the bibliographic record provides a brief description of a resource's content and carrier type—playing a role similar to that of RDA's content, media, and carrier type terms. Area 0 instructions will be folded into the text of the upcoming ISBD consolidated edition.
  • Full ISBD Examples
    Samples of bibliographic descriptions for various formats. Examples are written in various languages and scripts.
  • Superceded ISBDs
    A bibliographic listing of older ISBD documents; some are available in HTML or PDF format.

RDA (Resource Description and Access)

The release of Resource Description and Access (RDA) together with the application of Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records (FRBR) and Functional Requirements for Authority Data (FRAD) require adjustments in the way we approach our work.

RDA was developed as a new set of guidelines for describing and providing access to resources covering all types of content and media. It replaced the second edition of the Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules (AACR2) as the standard for cataloging.

Minitex provides training on RDA. Visit the training section of our website to find out what classes are available.

Minitex RDA Resources

Minitex/OCLC Mailing RDA Series

A three-part series of articles describing the origins of RDA, its content, and its application. These articles first appeared in the March, April, and June 2010 issues of the Minitex/OCLC Mailing and have been revised and updated for publication on the web. The first two articles are available below at present.

Minitex RDA Discussion List (mtx-rda)

This list, open to anyone in the Minitex region, is dedicated to conversation and announcements concerning local implementation issues surrounding RDA.

RDA Online Resources

RDA Guidelines and Application
RDA Toolkit
  • RDA Toolkit Website
    Access to the RDA Toolkit suite of online cataloging tools, which includes the full texts of RDA and AACR2 and other helpful aids. The site features other Toolkit information such as subscription pricing, video tutorials, background documents on RDA, and an FAQ.
  • RDA Toolkit Webinars
    Includes recordings of several ALA-sponsored webinars on the RDA Toolkit
Institutional RDA Testing and Implementation

Books on RDA


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