RDA education : the who, what, when, where, why, and how

Rasmussen Pennington, Diane (2019) RDA education : the who, what, when, where, why, and how. Catalogue and Index, 196. ISSN 0008-7629

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I have fond memories of teaching cataloguing and classification to postgraduate students a decade ago. We had multiple print copies of Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules, Second Edition (AACR2), Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH), and the Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC) manuals that we wheeled into the classroom on a trolley. Overhead projector notes illustrated how to follow International Standard Bibliographic Description (ISBD) guidelines. Printed worksheets led students through the process of filling in a MAchineReadable Cataloging (MARC) record with bibliographic data. We knew there was this mysterious new set of cataloguing rules coming out sometime in the next couple of years that would handle the description of electronic resources in a different way, but it seemed far off in the distance. Web-based interfaces were becoming available for cataloguing tools, but they remained novelties for the moment. A decade later, what has changed (or not changed) in cataloguing education? LCSH is fully online, so students do not get the satisfaction of flipping through the Big Red Books to visualise its syndetic structure. WebDewey provides the only current version of DDC. Descriptive cataloguing rules are no longer based on relatively selfexplanatory AACR2-based 'areas', but rather are beholden to complex conceptual and relational data models. As lecturers, trainers, students, and practitioners venture into this 'brave new world' of cataloguing with the Resource Description & Access (RDA) standard (Lee, 2014, p. 166), our knowledge base seems even more uncertain than the chief source of information on a classical music compact disc. As a devoted cataloguing educator, what should I be doing as I prepare people for this uncertain RDA present and future filled with evolving definitions of Agents and Relationship Designators? This article explores teaching practices, research findings, and other inspiration to help us consider the who, what, when, where, why, and how of teaching RDA, although not necessarily in that order.