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Chapter 9. Resource Description and Access  - Official: Describing RDA Entities: Nomen, Agents, Place, and Timespan

Chapter Outline

  • Official RDA: Nomen

  • Official RDA: Agent

  • Official RDA: Person

  • Official RDA: Collective Agent

  • Official RDA: Corporate Body

  • Official RDA: Family

  • Official RDA: Place

  • Official RDA: Timespan

Key Takeaways

Chapter 9 continues covering the official RDA. Following the Chapter 8 discussion of appellations and nomens,  the RDA nomen entity is covered first, followed by an overview (only select elements) of the remaining official RDA entities: agent, person, collective agent, corporate body, family, place, and timespan.

Chapter 8 Key Takeaways also apply to the discussion of the entities covered in Chapter 9.


Nomen is defined as an entity in the official RDA. An appellation relationship exists between an RDA entity and a nomen, for example, corporate body "has appellation" nomen. Appellations can be a name (e.g., preferred name of RDA entity), access point (e.g., authorized access point for RDA entity), or identifier.


LRM defined two subclasses for the entity agent (person and collective agent). The official RDA defined two subclasses of the entity collective agent to include family and corporate body.

Access points

Like the original RDA, two types of access points are defined in the official RDA: the authorized access point and the variant access point. These access points can be constructed using the preferred nomen for an entity (e.g., an instance of the entity person) with the possible addition of other data (for example the person's dates of birth and death) if necessary for identification and differentiation from other persons with similar preferred names. 

Chapter References/Notes

  1. RDA: Resource description and access. (2019). Developed in a collaborative process led by the Joint Steering Committee for Development of RDA (JSC). Chicago: American Library Association.

  2. Riva, P., Le Boeuf, P., & Žumer, M. (2017). IFLA library reference model: A conceptual model for bibliographic information (p. 28). Retrieved from


Additional Readings

Here, you will find readings specific to the contents of this chapter.

You may find more readings about similar topics on the Cataloging and Classification Web Resources and External Training Resources pages

RDA and the RDA Toolkit
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