Liz O’Keefe report on CC:DA meetings at Midwinter, ALA (Boston), Jan 9 and 11, 2016

The CC:DA agenda, with links to reports, is here:

As you will see from the agenda, much less time than usual was devoted to reviewing new and past proposals. The greater part of the two sessions was devoted to changes to the structure and governance of RDA and changes to the theoretical underpinning of RDA to reflect the FRBR LRM (Library Reference Model). Many of the changes to the structure and governance of RDA have already been implemented or are in the works; these changes will impact the way CC:DA does business, and may affect the relationship between ALA and organizations represented through CC:DA. Changes to RDA required by adoption of the FRBR LRM will necessitate revision of many areas of RDA and likewise affect decisions on which issues to work on in the near future.

The only new proposal currently in the works from CC:DA, 6JSC/ALA/37, is related to international courts; there were no rules in AACR or RDA for establishing access points for international courts, and this proposal fills the gap. The discussion of the proposal was quite brief, with some minor changes being recommended. Much more time was devoted to proposals previously submitted by CC:DA, or proposals that CC:DA constituencies had expressed an interest in. The fate of these proposals is covered in detail in the report from Kathy Glennan, the ALA representative to the JSC/RSC (note: the Joint Steering Committee’s name change to the RDA Steering Committee took effect in November, 2015; in the interests of clarity, I will refer to the RSC throughout this report). My report will cover chiefly proposals which the CC:DA provided input to, either directly or through comments on the CC:DA wiki or cataloging list-serves, or those that might warrant future input.

A proposal from the Canadian Committee on Cataloging (CCC), 6JSC/CCC/16: Transcription of punctuation and symbols (1.7.3, 1.7.5), which the CAC provided feedback on, was accepted with modifications, which included placing the new Alternative after the 1st paragraph, and omitting CCC’s proposed text about spacing. The proposal was intended to support more flexibility in recording punctuation to preserve clarity. The RSC discussion brought out that this is not so much an issue of description as it is an issue of conventions for recording data. Capitalization conventions of different language and cataloging communities will be respected by RDA, and more documentation within RDA will be provided to support this.

In many cases, proposals considered by RSC this year were tabled because of changes in the strategic direction of RDA. The RSC felt that it would be imprudent to proceed until the major changes projected for various areas of RDA have been completed. These changes may eventually render the proposals unnecessary, or necessitate major rewrites to reflect the new text. Two proposals from the British Library which received substantial input from the CAC fell into this category. The first, 6JSC/BL/26: 2.7 Production Statement: changing method of recording, was rejected because it did not address the issue of self-describing versus non-self-describing resources for unpublished material; it was also dependent on major revisions to RDA which are still under development. However, the recommendation made by CC:DA for a redefinition of “inscription” was approved, and the new definition will be incorporated in a fast track proposal from the UK representative, along with an example.

The second proposal, 6JSC/BL rep/2: Simplification of RDA 2.7-2.10, was also tabled, due to projected changes in RDA. However, there was general agreement that RDA should be developed to include a new generic modeling solution for manifestations that clearly separates transcribed information from recorded data, not just in the Production/Publication/Distribution/Manufacture elements (covered in his proposal) but all elements involving transcription. This would entail creating a second set of elements for manifestation-related recorded data. The RSC Secretary will clarify RDA 1.4 (Language and Script) and RDA 1.7 (Transcription) regarding transcription and transcribed elements. The RSC will keep in mind the longer-term issues.

Action on 6JSC/CCC/19: Parallel language elements (1.7.7), was deferred due to the need for additional development in RDA. The CCC was asked to rework it as a new proposal, in light of the RSC’s discussion on transcribing vs. recording manifestation elements. The proposal will also, hopefully, expand its scope beyond parallel language elements to include parallel textual elements within a single language and parallel numbers and symbols. Greater flexibility in dealing with complicated layouts and design will be especially helpful to catalogers of art books, rare books, music, and graphics.

The timing of ALA 43, Revision and Expansion of RDA Appendix K: Relationship Designators: Relationships Between Persons, Families, and Corporate Bodies, was unfortunate. The RSC decided to defer action on the proposal since FRBR LRM is still under development. Some terms (17 new, 3 revised) put forward in the proposal were accepted for Feburary release (but these are among the least interesting). This was frustrating news for the Task Force on Appendix K, which has been laboring away for a number of years (for some of its tenure, chaired by Dan Lipcan, former ARLIS liaison to CC:DA).

6JSC/ALA/45: Referential relationships: RDA Chapter 24-28 and Appendix J, was rejected by the RSC. This is bad news for special collections catalogers, or anyone who uses MARC field 510 to cite standard reference sources, such as Wing, ESTC, Bartsch, etc. The RSC felt that referential relationships are not really WEMI-to-WEMI relationships, but represent a subject relationship. Also, the relationships are sometime across entities, because the resource being described may be at the manifestation or item level, and the reference source may be cited at the expression, manifestation, or item level (for example, an annotated copy of a sales or collections catalog). Cross-entity relationships are not as yet recognized by RDA. A projected working group on rare materials will probably be asked to deal with the issue.

ALARep2015Transcribe: Use of the terms “recording”, “record”, and “transcribe” in RDA Chapter 2, analyzed the use of the terms record and transcribe, and concluded that usage in RDA is inconsistent. The RSC noted that transcription applies only to manifestation elements and can be used only for self-describing resources. The conclusion was that RDA should be very clear what elements should be transcribed, and exactly what that means. The RSC Secretary will clarify RDA 1.4 (Language and Script) and RDA 1.7 (Transcription) regarding transcription and transcribed Elements. But the fix will require a lot of overhaul to RDA, since there are many references from other instructions.

The RSC reached no consensus on 6JSC/BL/Discussion/1: Conventional Collective Titles in RDA: a discussion paper. The CAC commented on this paper, voicing our objections to what we consider an egregious misuse of CCTS, namely their use for reproductions of art works. There was disagreement within ALA and within the broader community about the usefulness of CCTs, although general agreement that the distinction between complete and incomplete works has merit. A paper on use cases will be developed by RSC Aggregates Working Group and EURIG. The music librarians are very interested in this topic and will be prepare a position paper to represent their issues/concerns regarding CCTs. We should also have our say on this issue.

6JSC/AggregatesWG/1: RDA and FRBRoo treatment of aggregates focused on the modeling from FRBRoo (Object oriented FRBR, available at:, since FRBR LRM is not yet available. When you apply the model at its most detailed level--considering everything an aggregate, even a manifestation, since a manifestation includes input from the publisher in the form of book design and layout--contributors disappear, and everyone becomes a primary agent. As FRBR becomes clearer, this will become clearer (we hope). FRBRoo has the merit of distinguishing, as FRBR did not, between two different types of manifestations: manifestation singleton (one offs) and manifestation product type (reproduced in multiple items). This might help with the problems that currently exist when applying RDA to unique materials such as art objects and manuscripts. The WG’s work also has the potential for developing guidelines that will support (though not mandate) description and access at a much more granular level (for example, at the level of articles or individual illustrations within a monograph or periodical). The RSC Aggregates Working Group will continue its investigations. CAC may want to follow its work.

6JSC/ALA/42: Clarify Sources of Information for Statement of Responsibility Relating to Title Proper (RDA, etc.), which the CAC provided feedback on, was accepted with modifications. The UK requested an optional addition to take the SOR from any prescribed source if considered important for identification. UK/EURIG will follow-up with a separate proposal in 2016.

The RSC recommended that work continue on the issues addressed in 6JSC/ALA/Discussion/5: Machine-Actionable Data Elements for Measurements, Extent of the Carrier, Pagination and Foliation, Dimensions, Extent of the Content, and Duration –Discussion Paper (2015). Liz O’Keefe was a member of the task force that submitted this document, and Marie-Chantal offered substantial feedback on still images. The ALA representative suggested that the RSC take ownership of this, rather than continuing to rely on an ALA working group; RSC agreed. Participation is still open to those who worked on the original task force, and Kathy Glennan encouraged continued participation by existing task force members. CAC members have concerns regarding still images and perhaps other quantification issues related to physical description; we could discuss how to make ourselves heard on this.

The original draft of LC 32: Improving instructions for devised titles, was much improved by expanding the list of instructions for devising a title. Added to the list were the opening words of a text (e.g. an incipit) and the title of a related resource (for e.g. a choreographic work written to accompany a song).

6JSC/PlacesWG/1: Place as an RDA entity, contained no recommendations, but brought together instructions regarding place from both Chapter 11 and Chapter 16. Place, defined as a boundary which is closed, will be an entity in FRBR-LRM. It will be separate from jurisdiction and from court. Place is human defined and may change over time in terms of boundaries, names, etc. In FRBR-LRM, places will be defined in relation to bibliographic data rather than to the real world. New relationship designators will be needed, so place can be used in relationships (e.g. place of birth for a person, place of publication for a resource). The RSC Places Working Group will identify relationship designators associated with place, and follow up on the issues surrounding the use of “jurisdiction” and “government” first raised in 6JSC/TechnicalWG/4 (2014). The discussion did not consider place as subject; when this issue is considered, we might issues related to names for buildings and built works.

Gender as an RDA Element, a discussion paper prepared by the JSC Secretary and JSC Chair, proved to be a highly contentious issue, which involved both privacy and personal safety issues (in some countries, identifying as transgender might be a death sentence). The upshot was that the RDA Development Team and ALA were charged with exploring the option to add “transgender” and/or any other appropriate terms as an extension of the RDA vocabulary. This would not become an official part of the RDA vocabulary itself; instead, it would be a community extension. Work on this will need to be deferred until the RSC decides if the gender element will be retained in RDA.

ALA 40, Revision to RDA 3.1.4, Resources Consisting of More than One Carrier Type and RDA, Recording Extent, was not accepted as it stands. CCC and ACOC felt that it barely scratched the surface and did not confront all the issues. A new ALA TF will be formed to work on this. This might be a good chance for CC:DA to work collaboratively with the CCC, since they are going to be our North American community partners.

6JSC/FictitiousWG/1: Fictitious and other entities in RDA and the consolidated FR models, was rejected, because it does not conform to the view of person in FRBRoo or the upcoming FRBR-LRM. Among other things, FRBR LRM disallows the possibility of fictitious entities or animals functioning as creators, even if they paint, perform, or sing (i.e. whale songs). To deal with the obvious need to provide access to resources by fictitious entities, the concept of Nomen will be explored. Nomen=Name; a person can have various Nomens (or Nomina, if we must speak Latin), so Mark Twain and Samuel Clemens could both be accommodated.

This provoked a lengthy discussion at the CC:DA meeting. Attendees questioned the approach and the decision. We don’t model actual physical reality in the bibliographic world. Why are we insisting that only real, human entities can be creators? This is a philosophic view, not a library view, and it is not even a view that is held by all descriptive standards or philosophies. But Kathy Glennan felt that challenging the decision was unlikely to succeed. We may feel that the model is broken, but it is the model we are going to have to work with, because the RSC wants to work within the framework of an international standard, and the FRBR LRM model follows CIDOC, which apparently uses this definition of creator. It would be more productive to focus on what we want as an end result, which is to enable users to access a resource no matter who it is attributed to, whether Mark Twain, Captain Kirk, or Brent the Chimp. The Nomen approach would do this for human beings. . Also, in FRBR LRM, creator is more expansively defined: expressions and manifestations can have creators; so animals could be considered creators, even if only at the expression and manifestation level. We can fight the model or try to figure out what we need to work within the model, possibly employing application profiles or other vocabularies to help us get what we want.

You can view the full text of Kathy’s reports on all the proposals in her report:

The papers themselves and community responses are available on the RSC website, at

Here are a few additional comments on matters of interest that arose during the reports: The report from the Library of Congress included an update on LC’s work on a mass update to the LC/NAF authority file. Testing continues on re-coding AACR2 authority records as RDA when 1XX fields contain no RDA-contrary elements; and enhancing records with other data elements including the addition of 024 fields for ISNIs (the International Standard Numerical Identifier) to names in the LC/NAF that match the ISNIs on the list supplied by OCLC-Leiden (these additions may occur on records already coded as RDA). In response to this, Dominique Bourassa, the CC:DA chair, asked whether it would be possible to add a clarifying 667 for choreographic works as part of the load. She said that the authority records for choreographic records will look as if they are RDA compliant, but in fact they will not be; they need to be individually fixed. There is a similar problem with treaties. Unfortunately the specifications for this reload have been set so no changes can be made at this late date. FRBR-LRM will be issued in the first quarter of 2015, and be reviewed by a Task Force. After the FRBR-LRM model is approved, it will become the new sacred scripture; comments on RDA based on FRBR will no longer be accepted.

The RDA examples set has been updated for bibliographic and authority records.

Changes in the structure and governance of RDA

Changes were outlined by Kathy Glennan. As noted above, there has been a name-change, but bookmarks to the JSC website now redirect to the RSC website (same destination). The new governance structure, which is based on UN-defined regions, will not be implemented immediately. ALA will still have a representative until the new structure is in place (ca. 3 years from now). At that point, there will be just one representative for North America (defined as Canada and the United States; Mexico and Central America will be part of the South American region).

The RSC will meet for the first time in Frankfurt in Nov 2016. The usual timeframe for deadlines, proposals, etc. will be observed, with one change: this year revised proposals incorporating constituency responses were made available for consideration by the JSC in mid-October, which speeded the in-person discussions of the proposals in November. This revision to the timetable will be formally implemented for 2016, which means a narrower window of time for writing and revising proposals after the CCDA meeting at ALA annual.

There is still a hold on proposals that refer to sections of RDA that will be rewritten to reflect changes to FRBR (many of the proposals that CC:DA submitted or expressed an interest in fall into this category). However, the RSC will consider proposals submitted in 2015 as fast-track proposals.

The RSC will rely more on working groups. The responsibilities of the RSC will change; they may stop revising proposals and just handle big picture issues, giving more responsibility to communities (as constituencies are now called). But it’s still being hammered out.

The Toolkit changes continue. There will be more policy statements for different language communities and special cataloging communities. Feedback from Toolkit users is wanted.

There is now a fast-track moratorium on relationship designators. Addition of terms has been user- driven, with most of the requests coming from ALA, PCC, and music librarians. RSC is aware there are no precise guidelines for structure, granularity, etc. of the terms. Is literary warrant the basis or something else? The RSC feels that the terms are becoming absurd: e.g. “author of recipes” and “author of knitting patterns”—a line must be drawn somewhere. The working group on relationship designators has not completed its task; hence the Appendix K proposal was not accepted in its entirety, though some terms were accepted as fast track additions. The message from the RSC: don’t stop thinking about candidate terms, but don’t expect them to be approved for a while.

Following Kathy’s report, there was a discussion of the implications for CC:DA of the new governance and structure. It is up to each region to develop its own structure and governance. One way to go forward would be to retain the voices of the current constituencies (ALA, CCC, LC), and possibly add others (or not). ALA will rely on its existing committee structure ((e.g. CC:DA, SAC) for support and expertise, rather than just merging with Canadian librarians. A new lightweight layer in the hierarchy between ALA and RSC may be developed (for convenience sake, this was referred to as NARDAC, North American RDA Committee—no such body exists as yet, and it may never be created). If it is created, this would be where the ALA representative would fit in and continue to have a role. Currently unrepresented entities, such as the Canadian National Library, might be represented more directly in the new structure. There might also be scope for independent representation for organizations that at present work through ALA’s CC:DA, such as RBMS, ARLIS, MLA, etc.

The new structure presents challenges: it would be another layer of hierarchy, which would worsen the time pressures associated with meeting deadlines for submission, revision, and review of proposals. Face to face meetings would be impossible, so most meetings would be virtual only. And there will be more work for the person who is the North American rep to the RSC (he or she will be doing single-handed what used to be done by the ALA rep, the LC rep, and the CCC rep). How will disagreements be handled? Must the North American community resolve its differences before a proposal can be submitted, and will this be done by majority vote or a supermajority? How will the work load be divided? And there needs to be better succession planning.

The likely time frame is:

The impact on CCDA will be minimal, short-term, and perhaps even longer term. RDA-related work will continue; more work may take the form of serving on working groups which will craft proposals. But there may also be new opportunities for CC:DA. Could it have a new role in developing best practices and application profiles beyond those offered by LC and PCC? For example, application profiles for less research-oriented communities, such as public libraries.

The participation of other cultural heritage communities and bodies was discussed. RSC plans to approach the archives and museum communities, in hopes of collaborating with them on data standards. Whether there will continue to be distinct cataloging approaches (bibliographic, archival, and museum) or whether the various approaches will be integrated is a question for the future.

Representatives of non-ALA organizations to CC:DA were asked to bring the news of the restructuring back to their parent organizations, and solicit feedback. Although it is interesting to consider non-ALA organizations having direct representation on NARDAC, there would be huge practical problems with this. It is already a stretch for small library organizations to attend two ALA conferences a year as well as their own conferences. Liaisons from several small professional organizations agreed that it would be too much of a burden to be represented at the international level. Task forces within the RSC structure would offer a change to utilize the expertise of specialist communities. Speaking collectively will also lead to more effective representation. This is something that CAC will have to decide once the new structure is implemented.

Apart from a brief report from the MAC representative, Monday’s meeting was devoted chiefly to a presentation from Gordon Dunsire, the RSC Secretary, on RDA data capture and management. The presentation, with PowerPoint slides and notes, is available at:

Report by Elizabeth O'Keefe
Morgan Library & Museum (retired)

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