Joint Steering Committee for Development of RDA
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Executive Summary of the RDA Meetings March 11-20, 2009

The four committees responsible for the creation of RDA, Resource Description and Access met in Chicago, Illinois (USA) over a period from March 11-20, 2009. These committees include the Committee of Principals (CoP), the Co-Publishers, the Fund Trustees, and the Joint Steering Committee (JSC). In addition to each committee meeting separately, all four gathered together for a joint meeting on March 18th.

Moving Towards RDA's First Release

The overall topic discussed by the four committees was how best to coordinate the numerous and essential activities requiring completion prior to RDA's first release and immediately afterward. Such activities include coordinating the finalization of RDA content with software development, internal testing of the RDA content and product together (i.e. alpha, beta, and useability testing), and testing the RDA online product by the national libraries following RDA's first release. The sections of this report that follow describe the various aspects of the RDA project leading up to and including post-Release One testing.

Content Development

The JSC's goal for its extended meeting was to finalize the text of RDA for the first release. The final text will be submitted to the Co-Publishers in June 2009. In order to achieve this goal, the JSC discussed the comments resulting from the RDA full draft that had been sent out for constituency review in mid-November 2008 (5JSC/RDA/FullDraft). More than 400 comments that had been designated as priorities by the constituencies were reviewed by the JSC. The next three months will be spent incorporating the decisions made into the RDA instructions. See also Outcomes of the meeting of the JSC and the ALA representative to the JSC's blog which summarizes decisions made at the meeting

Product Development

IMT, Inc., the company overseeing RDA product development, developed an Entity Relationship Diagram (ERD) diagraming the relationships within RDA in order to explain how it is structured. The ERD provides a core building block for product development, and is based on RDA's structure. Once RDA's structure has been finalized, the ERD can be finalized which will support the development of RDA software.

RDA Pricing

ALA Publishing has begun to develop pricing strategies for RDA, concentrating on the diverse marketplace primarily within the United States. The Canadian Library Association (CLA) and the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) are developing pricing strategies for their markets.

RDA Functional Demonstration

An updated version of the RDA functional demo was shown during the joint meeting of the CoP, the Co-Publishers, and the JSC. The updated version of the demo will be available shortly and will be announced on RDA-L.

RDA Testing

During the joint meeting, Beacher Wiggins (Library of Congress) provided an overview of the testing that will occur by LC, NLM, and NAL following RDA's first release. The testing will come in response to issues about RDA raised by the Library of Congress Working Group on the Future of Bibliographic Control. The three libraries agreed to make a joint decision whether or not to implement RDA based on the results of testing both RDA content and the Web product. The goal of the test is to assure the operational, technical, and economic feasibility of RDA. Testers will include the three national libraries identified above and the broader U.S. library community. The other national libraries responsible for RDA content (the British Library, Library and Archives Canada, and the National Library of Australia) will conduct their testing at the same time and will prepare for implementation - testing of systems to support transition to RDA, training of staff, and preparation of documentation. For information about the testing that will occur in the United States, see for more details.


Members of the CoP, Co-Publishers, and JSC have always emphasized the importance of working with other groups in pursuit of compatibility of RDA with other metadata communities. To that end:

  • An RDA/MARC Working Group was established in January 2008 to coordinate changes to the MARC format as a result of RDA. Proposals have been submitted to the appropriate groups and have been accepted by them. The result is that MARC 21 will be able to accommodate the additional RDA fields and elements.
  • The JSC has been working with the Dublin Core Metadata Initiative (DCMI) on two projects relating to RDA. The first is a mapping of RDA elements to Dublin Core elements. The second is the development of registered vocabularies for the RDA element set and value lists.
  • Members of the JSC continue to work in the international arena with the ISBD Review Group, the FRANAR Working Group, and those working on the creation of the new IFLA Statement of International Cataloging Principles, ensuring open communication and coordination.

RDA Governance

The CoP examined RDA governance issues and the potential expansion of the JSC. The CoP agreed that any expansion of the current governance structure would occur after RDA's first release. The CoP and JSC will coordinate their efforts in developing a phased-in approach for expansion.

JSC Website

Due to changes in policy, the Library and Archives Canada will no longer be able to host the JSC website. The American Library Association has agreed to assume responsibility for the site. Users will be notified when this change occurs.


At the end of June, we say goodbye to the following, with enormous thanks for all their contributions to the RDA process:

Tom Delsey, the RDA Editor, without whom the vision and conceptual shape of what RDA would not exist.

Nathalie Schulz who has been JSC Secretary for 8 years and whose contributions have gone far beyond what one envisions when hearing the word "secretary".

Hugh Taylor who has represented CILIP on the JSC for over 5 years, and whose respect for and enjoyment of the English language have provided clarity in RDA's instructions.

Marg Stewart finishes a term of office as Chair of the JSC having contributed calm and focused oversight, but remains as CCC representative.

Marjorie E. Bloss who has served as the RDA Project Manager since October 2005.

Following the Cop meeting in Chicago 17- 18 March 2009, Mary Ghikas, ALA takes on the next 3 year tenure of Chair of CoP from Sue Brown, CILIP.

Ingrid Parent who has served on the CoP for 10 years and will assume the position of University Librarian (UL) at the University of British Columbia.

Marjorie Bloss
14 April 2009
Last updated: 11 January 2012
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