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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 standard only informs the cataloger what pieces of information to record for a bibliographic description, 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.
  • ISBD Area 0 
    The recent Area 0 is designed to succeed the general material designations that had 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 are folded into the text of the ISBD consolidated edition.
  • Full ISBD Examples
    Samples of bibliographic descriptions for various formats. Examples are written in various languages and scripts.
  • Superseded ISBDs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 the Library Reference Model (LRM) 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.

RDA Online Resources

  • RDA: Resource Description and Access
    Website of the RDA Steering Committee. Includes documents on the scope and principles of RDA in relation to LRM, the objectives and principles of RDA, a prospectus, and an FAQ.
  • Resource Description and Access (RDA): Information and Resources in Preparation for RDA
    A compilation of resources, continually updated, concerning RDA and Library of Congress cataloging policy and practices. Also includes links to cataloging training and documentation.
  • RDA Toolkit Website
    Website of the RDA Toolkit, the access point for the text of the standard itself. Includes news, training resources, and an FAQ. Also contains information on the RDA Toolkit Restructure and Redesign (3R) Project. 
  • RDA Toolkit Webinars
    Includes recordings of several ALA-sponsored webinars on the RDA Toolkit. Also includes resources from the Library of Congress and other national institutions.

Books on RDA