Cataloguing, a necessary evil: critical aspects of RDA


The Toolkit designed by the RDA Steering Committee makes Resource Description and Access available on the web, together with other useful documents (workflows, mappings, etc.).
Reading, learning and memorizing are interconnected, and a working tool should make these activities faster and easier to perform. Some issues arise while verifying the real easiness of use and learning of the tool.
The practical and formal requirements for a cataloguing code include plain language, ease of memorisation, clarity of instructions, familiarity for users, predictability and reproducibility of solutions, and general usability. From a formal point of view, the RDA text does not appear to be conceived for an uninterrupted reading, but just for reading of few paragraphs for temporary catalographic needs.
From a content point of view, having a syndetic view of the description of a resource is rather difficult: catalographic details are scattered and their re-organization is not easy.
The visualisation and logical organisation in the Toolkit could be improved: the table of contents occupies a sizable portion of the screen and resizing or hiding it is not easy; the indentation leaves little space to the words; inhomogeneous font styles (italic and bold) and poor contrast between background and text colours make reading not easy; simultaneous visualization of two or more parts of the text is not allowed; and Toolkit’s icons are less intuitive than expected.
In the conclusion, some suggestions on how to improve the Toolkit’s aspects and usability are provided.


Layout; RDA; RDA Toolkit; Usability; Visualisation

Full Text:

Text (Italiano)




Burton, Malia. Let’s be brave! 2010.

Burton, Malia. The future of bibliographic control: Data infrastructure. 2010.

Floridi, Luciano. The 4th revolution. How the infosphere is reshaping human reality. Oxford: Oxford university press, 2014.

Gorman, Michael. RDA: The coming cataloguing debacle. 2007.

IFLA ISBD Review Group. ISBD: International standard bibliographic description. Consolidated edition. Berlin: De Gruyter Saur, 2011.

IFLA Study Group on the Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records. Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records. Final report. 2009.

IFLA Working Group on Functional Requirements and Numbering of Authority Records (FRANAR). Functional Requirements for Authority Data. A Conceptual Model. 2013.

IFLA Working Group on the Functional Requirements for Subject Authority Records (FRSAR). Functional Requirements for Subject Authority Data (FRSAD). A Conceptual Model. 2010.

IFLA. Dichiarazione di Principi Internazionali di Catalogazione. 2009.

Legrenzi, Paolo. Prima lezione di scienze cognitive. Roma: Laterza, 2002.

Library of Congress. Program for cooperative cataloging policy statements (LC-PCC PS). 2015.

Library of Congress. RDA Online Training Plan. 2012. training materials/LC RDA Training/LCRDAOnlineTrainingPlan.doc

RDA bibliography.

RDA Blog.

RDA Steering Committee (RSC).

RDA Toolkit.

RDA: Resource Description and Access. 2015 revision. Chicago, IL: American Library Association; Ottawa, ON: Canadian Library Association; London: CILIP: Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals, 2015.

RDA: Resource Description and Access. Version April 2014. Edizione Italiana a cura dell’Istituto Centrale per il Catalogo Unico delle Biblioteche Italiane e per le informazioni bibliografiche. Roma: ICCU 2015.

Resource Description and Access (RDA) [blog].

Riva, Pat and Maja Žumer. Introducing the FRBR Library Reference Model. 2015

Weinheimer, James. ACAT RDA’s impact? 2015.,, e

Article Metrics

Metrics Loading ...

Metrics powered by PLOS ALM


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2016 Agnese Galeffi, Lucia Sardo

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. is a journal of UNIFI-SAGAS published by EUM - edizioni università di macerata