RDA 4.5

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RDA 4.5: 300 field (Physical Description)


The following sections detail the abbreviations that will be spelled out in this step. RDA 1.7.8 (html)


This table lists extent abbreviations that will be expanded in the 300 $a: RDA (html)

Abbreviated Expanded Abbreviated Expanded
approx. approximately lvs. leaves
ca. approximately numb. numbered
cov. cover obl. oblong
dia. diameter p. page (singular)
diagr. diagram p. pages (plural)
diagrs. diagrams p.l. preliminary leaves
fig. figures pent. pentagram
fold. folded pp. pages
front. frontispiece unnum. unnumbered
frontis. frontispiece unp. unpaged
fronts. frontispiece v. volume (singular)
ill. illustrations v. volumes (plural)
illus. illustrations vol. volume (singular)
irr. irregular vol. volumes (plural)
l. leaf (singular) vols. volumes
l. leaves (plural)

Some additional changes that are made to the 300 $a include the following:

  • A number followed by brackets with i.e. will be changed to 'that is': RDA (html)
    • 48 [i.e. 52] p. becomes 48, that is 52, pages.
  • Brackets around a number will be changed to 'unnumbered': RDA (html)
    • [16] p. becomes 16 unnumbered pages.

Other physical details

Abbreviations within the 300 $b (other physical details) that will be expanded include the following: RDA 7.15.1 (html)

Abbreviated Expanded Abbreviated Expanded
b&w black & white ill. illustrations
col. color illus. illustrations
diagr. diagram incl. including
diagrs. diagrams l. leaves
fac. facsimiles phot. photographs
facs. facsimiles photo. photographs
facsim. facsimiles port. portrait
facsims. facsimiles ports. portraits
fig. figures sam. samples
fold. folded samp. samples
front. frontispiece sd. sound
gen. genealogical si. silent
geneal. genealogical snd. sound
tab. tables


Many abbreviations are still allowed in the dimensions subfield (300 $c). For instance, 'in.' is still authorized to represent inches. ("cm" is considered a symbol, not an abbreviation.) RDA (html) However (for continuity), the following table lists the abbreviations that will change in the 300 $c:

Abbreviated Expanded Abbreviated Expanded
ca. approximately inches in.
cov. cover irr. irregular
dia. diameter lvs. leaves
feet ft. numb. numbered
fol. folio obl. oblong
fold. folded p. pages
foot ft. pent. pentagram
inch in. pp. pages
unnum. unnumbered
 original fields:
    300 $a 300 p. : $b ill. ; $c 4to.
    300 $a [unp.] : $b ill. (some col.) ; $c 6 in.
    300 $a 3 v. : $b facsims., ports. ; $c 24 x 36 cm
    300 $a 3 p.l., ca. 245 pp. : $b geneal. tables ; $c fol.
    300 $a 92 [i.e. 96] pp. : $b sd., col. ; $c 24mo.
    300 $a [16] p. of plates : $b col. illus. ; $c 12mo.
 updated fields:
    300 $a 300 pages : $b illustrations ; $c 4to.
    300 $a [unpaged] : $b illustrations (some color) ; $c 6 in.
    300 $a 3 volumes : $b facsimiles, portraits ; $c 24 x 36 cm
    300 $a 3 preliminary leaves, approximately 245 pages : $b genealogical tables ; $c folio.
    300 $a 92, that is 96, pages : $b sound, color ; $c 24mo.
    300 $a 16 unnumbered pages of plates : $b color illustrations ; $c 12mo.

SMD Update Table

MARS 2.0 can update the following AACR2 terms to their RDA equivalent:

AACR2 Term RDA Term
quad. Quadraphonic
transparency overhead transparency
computer disk computer disc
computer optical disc computer disc


Make all physical description updates in 300 field.


4.1 - 4.2 - 4.3 - 4.4 - 4.5 - 4.6 - 4.7
1.0 - 2.0 - 3.0 - 4.0 - 5.0 - 6.0