RDA NAF Conversion and Day One Implementation

When Library of Congress (LC) decided to fully implement RDA cataloging, LC, with the support of the PCC, determined that the LC/NACO Name Authority File (NAF) should also be fully RDA in order to support RDA cataloging.

March 31, 2013 has been set by LC  as Day One for RDA Implementation. After this date, all cataloging and authority at LC will be done in RDA.  See the following link for the whole announcement and the training plan:


PCC also decided that a Day One for the NAF was necessary and it has been set as the same day– March 31, 2013. After this date, all records added to the NAF must be coded RDA, and all access points on bibliographic records coded “pcc” must be RDA.  There is no Day One set for bibliographic records.  See the full announcement for more details on PCC’s decision:

PCC Day One for RDA Authority Records (docx)

PCC’s original plan to migrate the NAF called for a 3-phased approach to the conversion to RDA:

Phase 1—Mark those records that can’t be automatically changed to RDA with a 667 note to the effect that they must be reviewed and/or updated to RDA before they can be used.

Phase 2—Make computer programmable changes to headings to update them to RDA standards.

Phase 3—Code the rest of the records that can be used just as they are as RDA.

This approach would have meant the eventual re-issue of almost all of the approximately 8.3 million name authority records, with some 641,000 records being issued more than once.  For more details about this initial plan, see the following link for the original Task Force’s final report:

Report of the Task Group on AACR2 & RDA Acceptable Headings (docx)

Concern over the size of the proposed updates led the PCC Acceptable Headings Implementation Task Group to devise three alternate implementation scenarios for consideration by the library community and PCC.  On May 4, 2012 the PCC Policy Committee announced its acceptance of Scenario 3 for the migration of the NAF to RDA. This scenario calls for a 2-phased approach and the eventual re-issue of approximately 641,000 authority records, which is a considerable reduction from almost 8.3 million.

I’ll give a brief overview here of what is planned for each phase of the migration but please visit the Task Group’s website for detailed information:


Documents on this website give details for every change to be made.  Please also see the Phase Implementation of RDA (doc) on the Task Group’s webpage for a more comprehensive overview.  You can also find information on the original plan and the other alternate scenarios that were proposed.

Comments on all documents are being taken until June 1, 2012, so leave a comment on the Task Group’s Facebook page or send them to any member of the Task Group listed here: Charge to the PCC Acceptable Headings Implementation Task Group (doc) (scroll down to view member list).  As I am also on that list, feel free to send any comments or questions directly to Karen Anderson and I’ll be happy to forward them on to the Group.  PCC members may also post comments to:


All records updated in any way during the two phases will be distributed as part of the regular Library of Congress weekly updates.  The rate of distribution of the updated records has generated the most concern, so please be sure to add your voice to that ongoing discussion if you have a strong opinion on the distribution phases.

Here is a brief overview of how the conversion of the NAF to RDA will happen:

PHASE 1: Add an identifying 667 field to authority records whose 1XX fields can’t be used asis under RDA and are not susceptible to any automated change. Records to be labeled fall into three categories:

1)      AACR2 records whose 1XX field contains elements at variance with RDA practice. (AACR2 Headings Excluded from Conversion (doc) contains a description of these elements)

2)      Pre-AACR2 records.

3)      AACR2 compatible heading records.

Note: while the exact wording of the 667 field has not yet been determined, one prevalent suggestion is along the lines of: “THIS 1XX FIELD CANNOT BE USED UNDER RDA UNTIL THIS RECORD HAS BEEN REVIEWED AND UPDATED”

Phase 1 means the issuing of an estimated 313,000 records and should take 3-4 weeks to complete. Testing of Phase 1 is currently being done at the Library of Congress and the hope is to complete the phase by early summer 2012.

PHASE 2: Modify authority records whose 1XX, 4XX, and 5XX fields are subject to automated manipulation. The automated changes are listed below with links to the documents giving details for each one.

The following headings changes will be performed on access fields (1XX, 4XX, 5XX):

Convert Dept. abbreviation Heading with Dept (doc)
Convert date abbreviations Handling of Subfields Containing Dates (doc)
Replace ‘arr.’, etc. Headings with arr., acc., unacc (doc)
Adjust Bible N.T. and O.T. Headings with Bible (doc)
Adjust Selections Headings with Selections (doc)
Change Koran Headings with Koran (doc)
Change ‘violoncello’ Headings with violoncello (doc)
Change Selected $c terms Handling of X00 $c (doc)

The following fields will be added, if possible, to records being updated for another reason:

046 field Convert Authority X00 $d to 046 fields (doc)
378 field Covnert Authority 100 $q to 378 fields (doc)
382, 383, 384 fields Create 382, 383, and 384 fields (doc)

The following documents detail other work that may need to be done to the records resulting from the above changes being made and may answer some questions:

Removal of Redundant 4XX fields (doc)
Suppression of 4XX fields (doc)
Preserving the Intent of Certain Authority 4XX fields (doc)
Punctuation Inserted into Headings (doc)

Headings that are valid as RDA after the automated changes are made will be coded as such, and those that still aren’t RDA will be given the 667 note during this phase.  Phase 2 is scheduled to be done on or as close to Day One as possible. It will involve the reissue of an estimated 328,000 records over a 3-4 week period.

The hoped for end result of the two phases is that all records in the NAF will be valid for use in RDA even if they are not coded as such. Or they will have a 667 note indicating that they can’t be used until they are updated to RDA.

During the interval between Phase 1 and Phase 2, users of the file will need to determine if records not labeled with the 667 note are valid for use under RDA, since records needing automated changes won’t be labeled. Most records will be usable as is, but they won’t be coded as RDA.

If all of this has you biting your nails and ready to bolt for cover, rest assured that Backstage can help. Whether it’s dealing with the record updates or bringing your bibliographic file in line with the NAF, we’ll be ready to work with you to find the best solution to fit your needs.

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One Response to “RDA NAF Conversion and Day One Implementation”

  1. […] Most of the changes involve expanding abbreviations, or the addition/removal of specific fields (link). As Phase 2 is set to be completed as close to Day One as possible (March 31, 2013), we hope this […]