RDA Best Practices Changes in the April RDA Toolkit Release

The April RDA Toolkit release was published on Tuesday, April 11, 2017. The release contains updates to MLA RDA Best Practices, as detailed below. As a reminder, the RDA Best Practices are available in the RDA Toolkit and the Best Practices Supplement documents are available at the CMC website. The April release also included changes to several LC-PCC Policy Statements (LC-PCC PS), summarized in this document available at the LC website.

This update cycle was particularly challenging because changes to RDA content, LC-PCC PS and the RDA Best Practices were being developed simultaneously on a very tight time-frame in an effort to get as much as possible into this release before the impending RDA content freeze. As a result, some of the RDA Best Practices merely point to following LC (rather than LC/PCC) practice, as our editing deadline preceded PCC approval of the LC-PCC PS texts. Revisions, where necessary, will be placed in the queue for the next update cycle (April 2018).

Changes to the MLA Best Practices

Statement of Responsibility – Scope (RDA Revised the wording of the best practice to include performers named alone in addition to situations where the performer(s) are named more prominently than composers, songwriters, etc.

Designation of Edition (RDA 2.5.2): Updated the text of the best practice to reflect the split of “particular voice range” and “particular format of notated music” in the RDA instruction.

Basic Instructions on Recording Identifier for Manifestation (RDA 2.15.1): Revised the wording to clarify that this instruction applies to issue numbers for audio recordings and to music publisher numbers for materials other than notated music.

Recording Production Method (RDA Added guidance for recording a production method for certain types of optical discs (e.g., CD-R, DVD-R, etc.).

Musical Works Created after 1500 (RDA and Choice of Language (RDA These new recommendations provide a working definition of “cognate” and guidance for the selection of the language of a type term.

Complete Works of a Single Type of Composition for One Specific Medium or Various Media (RDA This Best Practice provides guidance for term selection.

Medium of Performance (RDA,, Added recommendations to follow LC practice for the first instruction and to not apply optional omissions for the second and third instructions).

Numeric Designation of a Musical Work (RDA 6.16): Added clarification for recording numeric designations and added several new examples.

Additional Elements in Authorized Access Points Representing Musical Works (RDA & Added recommendations to follow LC practice (as codified in the LC-PCC PSs for these instructions).

Duration of Component Parts (RDA Added a recommendation for the alternative and a new example.

Other minor changes included:

  • Updating element names (RDA 2.15.2 & 2.15.3) in the best practice headings
  • Linking best practices from deleted instructions to their new homes (RDA 3.9.2 & 3.10.2 linked to RDA 3.9 & 3.10, respectively)
  • Removing a best practice for an instruction alternative that no longer exists (RDA

There were no changes to the Best Practices Supplement documents in this cycle.

To facilitate the 3R project, RDA content will be frozen until the April 2018 Toolkit release. During this time CSS will undertake a full review of the RDA best practices, comparing with the LC-PCC PS, updating/revising examples, and looking at alternate presentation for the Supplement 1. CSS will also continue to collect suggestions and feedback regarding the RDA Best Practices. Suggestions for new or revised Best Practices can be made via the submission form located in the FAQ on the CMC website.