University Libraries Publications and Scholarship


Jim Kalwara

Alternative Title

One library's approach to RDA


In March 2013, Resource Description and Access (RDA) was adopted as the new standard set to eventually replace the Anglo-American Cataloging Rules 2nd Edition. This standard would not only impact Mississippi State University (MSU) Libraries, but also the 54 libraries within its statewide consortium, the Mississippi Library Partnership. In order to lead this implementation, MSU Libraries established guidelines and policies for the consortium. In particular, in light of implementation of RDA, libraries across the world have begun omitting General Material Designations (GMDs) from the bibliographic records in their catalogs. However, the MSU Libraries decided to retain them. This presentation illustrates the decision process and establishment of workflows for retaining GMDs during the RDA conversion process. In addition to training staff on original- and copy-cataloging procedures using RDA, a large component of MSU Libraries’ conversion included developing a policy for making all existing records RDA-compliant. This entailed adding the 33x fields, spelling out abbreviations, and upgrading the publication statement when necessary. Additionally, MSU Libraries evaluated outdated GMD terms and developed more refined and useful terms. After interviewing librarians in the Research Services Department and receiving feedback from staff at several consortia libraries, catalogers developed a new GMD chart, which mapped directly to the new RDA 33x fields. In working with the Systems Department, from December 2014 to January 2015, all bibliographic records in the catalog were converted to reflect the proper RDA elements. While the conversion was successful, it did not come without problems, which stemmed from inaccurate 33x and 007 fields and their display in the Online Catalog. From this, a policy was developed for addressing such issues and distributed among consortia partners. Sharing this experience hopefully will provide guidance to other libraries planning to implement RDA.


This presentation features the results of Mississippi State University Libraries' conversion to RDA with focus on retaining GMDs.

Publication Date



University Libraries


GMD, RDA, general material designation, Library cooperation--Mississippi, Library consortium catalog--Mississippi, RDA enrichment