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AACR (Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules)

'These rules are designed for use in the construction of catalogues and other lists in general libraries of all sizes. They are not specifically intended for specialist and archival libraries, but such libraries are recommended to use the rules as the basis of their cataloguing and to augment their provisions as necessary. The rules cover the description of, and the provision of access points for, all library materials collected at the present time. The integrated structure of the text makes the general rules usable as the basis for cataloguing uncommonly collected materials of all kinds and library materials yet unknown.'

From the General Introduction of AACR 2 (2002)


AACR (1967) Published in separate North American and British editions.
AACR 2 (1978) Single text for both communities.
AACR 2 (1988 Revision)
AACR2 (2002 Revision, updates in 2003 and 2004)

Part I deals with the provision of information describing the item being catalogued, and Part II deals with the determination and establishment of headings (access points) under which the descriptive information is to be presented to catalogue users, and with the making of references to those headings. In both parts the rules proceed from the general to the specific.

2005 saw the start of the process of creating a new edition of AACR, under the working title Resource Description and Access (RDA). Although the new edition will be built on AACR, and records resulting from the use of the new edition will be compatible with those created in the past, what is being developed is, in effect, a new standard for resource description and access, designed for the digital world.

Joint Steering Committee for the Revision of the Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules

The constituent organizations represented on the Joint Steering Committee are:

  • The American Library Association
  • The Australian Committee on Cataloguing
  • The British Library
  • The Canadian Committee on Cataloguing
  • CILIP: Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals
  • The Library of Congress

The CILIP/BL Committee on AACR is responsible for UK input to the revision process.

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Content by: Ann Chapman of UKOLN.
Page last revised on: 07-Mar-2006
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