Tip #178: Yes, you CAN abbreviate in RDA (sometimes)

Before RDA was implemented, catalogers were constantly being warned that we wouldn’t be able to abbreviate anything in a RDA record. As it turns out, that’s not exactly true.

Here’s a few guidelines for determining what can and cannot be abbreviated in a RDA record:

  1. When transcribing from the resource, you can abbreviate a word if it is also abbreviated on the resource. For example, if “edition” is abbreviated in the book, you can abbreviate it in the 250 field. Another example is if the word “General” is abbreviated on the title page ( “by Gen. John Elliott”), then you can abbreviate the rank in the Statement of Responsibility (245 |c).
  2. Dimensions and duration can still be abbreviated, so you can always abbreviate inch (in.), minutes (min.), and hour (hr.).
  3. However, other terms such as ‘illustration’, ‘genealogy table’, ‘portraits’, and ‘pages’ must always be spelled out.

Originally published on May 5, 2013.

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MARC Fields