In the last years an increasing number of libraries are adopting RDA as a cataloguing standard. Still, what happens to their rare materials? Is RDA fit for the description of their rare books, their manuscripts, their graphic and cartographic materials, their music? Will it be able to overtake extremely detailed rules such as DCRM or ISBD? Probably not by itself, although the RSC, aware of the complexity of the situation, already has a Rare Materials Working Group managing some of the points where RDA collides with the needs of the description of rare materials. But it could very well accomplish it thanks to policy statements such as the forthcoming RBMS ones for rare books.

What are libraries with special collections planning to do? Will they refuse to adopt RDA for rare materials if it does not suit them? Will they decide to make simple records using RDA proper? Will they develop detailed policy statements of their own? Or maybe align with other institution’s ones? To get an accurate and worldwide overview of the plans, institutions have regarding these matters, the Rare Books and Special Collections Section has developed a survey on the implementation of RDA in rare materials cataloguing. Its aim is to reach as many institutions all around the world as possible in order to get the most precise overview.

The survey is already available here and will be open until July the 6th. Thanks to all the Rare Materials Cataloguing Community for answering it and contributing to its circulation!