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Music Library Association Best Practices for Music Cataloging Using RDA and MARC21 for Chapter 0: Introduction
MLA BP for 0.0
These best practices guidelines should:
Provide sufficient guidance for creating and enhancing both basic descriptions (“core records”) and more robust descriptions of musical resources and the musical works and expressions embodied therein. In MARC21, these descriptions take the form of bibliographic and authority records.
Be comprehensible and useful to both catalogers transitioning from an AACR2 environment and newly-trained catalogers.
Be usable as the basis for training materials, such as cataloging manuals and workshop curricula.
Be amenable for repurposing for use in future data environments.
Be amenable for repurposing for use by agencies applying RDA in other languages.
MLA Best Practices are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. To view a copy of this license, visit
MLA BP for 0.3
These best practices guidelines are arranged by RDA instruction number. RDA instructions are arranged according to the entities embodied in resources, their attributes and their relationships, rather than by carrier format (as was the case in AACR2); these guidelines are structured accordingly. Situations pertaining to specific formats are described in the context of the applicable RDA instruction.
This document should be consulted in combination with RDA itself, as well as any local and/or cooperative policies, including LC-PCC PS and section Z1 of the Library of Congress Descriptive Cataloging Manual (DCM Z1). MARC mappings and examples are intended to supplement the RDA to MARC mappings given in the Toolkit, as well as the MARC21 documentation itself and encoding guidelines specific to the cataloging interface1. Cases where LC-PCC PS gives sufficient guidance, and where these guidelines contravene LC-PCC PS, are indicated as such.
These guidelines presume no prior knowledge on the part of the reader of the Anglo-American Cataloging Rules, 2nd Edition, Revised (AACR2) or their accompanying Library of Congress Rule Interpretations (LCRI). However, pertinent comparisons to AACR2 are made in a limited number of cases (i.e., when RDA practice differs fundamentally). These guidelines do presume a basic level of training with RDA and LC-PCC PS, however. With a few exceptions, cataloging guidelines of a general nature, such as for identifying and constructing access points for persons and corporate bodies, are out of scope for this document.
Recommendations prefaced by “if feasible” apply to elements that are not identified as RDA Core (or in some cases LC “Core-plus”), but that the Task Force feels are routinely valuable to transcribe or record for music resources. Cataloger’s judgment dictates that any such elements which are difficult to ascertain or burdensome to transcribe or record do not fall into the category of “feasibility” and thus may be omitted. The Task Force also understands that the above criteria will vary from cataloger to cataloger, and from agency to agency. In an increasingly distributed global metadata environment, the burden of completeness need not rest with an individual metadata creator. Thus, these recommendations are equally intended to serve as guidance when enhancing existing metadata for music resources.
Recommendations designated “if readily ascertainable” apply to information present on the resource being cataloged, or information encountered during the course of routine authority research.
A prime example is OCLC’s Bibliographic Formats and Standards ( Note that at the time of writing of these best practices guidelines, the documentation available at this site has not yet been fully harmonized with RDA.
MLA BP for 0.6.6
MLA recommendation: Follow .