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Resource description and access: cataloging standards affect reference service

Teressa M. Keenan (Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library, University of Montana, Missoula, Montana, USA)

Reference Services Review

ISSN: 0090-7324

Article publication date: 5 August 2014




The aim of this paper is to highlight the relationship between cataloging data and reference service and the importance of including reference librarians, in general resource description and access (RDA) training.


A literature review and the author’s experiences related to implementing RDA are presented with minimal cataloging jargon to help librarians better understand the effects of cataloging standards on reference service.


There is a noticeable lack of research and training related to RDA for audiences beyond technical services. More research is needed to determine how users are interacting with the catalog, how bibliographic data is supporting their discovery and access, what, if any, obstacles reference librarians encounter as a result of RDA and how future iterations of RDA may open bibliographic data to communities beyond the library.


This paper is one the few that discuss how RDA may affect reference service. It will be useful for providing librarians with a general understanding of the relationship between cataloging and reference and may serve as a starting point for further research.



M. Keenan, T. (2014), "Resource description and access: cataloging standards affect reference service", Reference Services Review, Vol. 42 No. 3, pp. 446-466.



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Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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