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Rules for the Headword Catalogue (RSWK)

In Germany, Austria and Switzerland the Headword Cataloguing Rules for Subject Cataloguing (RSWK) form the basis for indexing with subject headings. The cataloguing code has been drawn up and is now maintained cooperatively by the German speaking library networks headed by the German National Library. The first edition was published in 1986; the fourth and current edition was released in 2017.

Implementation of the international RDA (Resource Description and Access) cataloguing code has necessitated adaptation of the RSWK. It was also decided to incorporate the GND transition rules and regulations in the code. In June 2015 the Committee for Library Standards therefore authorised the subject cataloguing expert group to create a new edition of the RSWK which reflects the current situation. The German title of the Headword Cataloguing Rules for Subject Cataloguing was changed for the 4th edition to "Regeln für die Schlagwortkatalogisierung" (from "Regeln für den Schlagwortkatalog" previously). The well established and widely known acronym RSWK remains. Also being issued alongside the RSWK are the bibliographic and use instructions for RSWK-specific issues ("Erfassungs- und Verwendungshilfen für RSWK-spezifische Sachverhalte" EH-S) which replace the previous GND transition rules and application provisions but include aspects of those previous practice rules which are still valid.

In view of the changeover to Resource Description and Access (RDA) and new subject cataloguing requirements, the RSWK is to be completely overhauled in the next few years.

Further information

Headword Cataloguing Rules for Subject Cataloguing (RSWK) (available only in German)
Additional RSWK-specific rules (available only in German)

Last update: 22.11.2017

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