Committee on Cataloging: Description & Access
Task Force on Conference Proceedings II
Please note that the purpose of this page is to facilitate the work of the Committee and to provide a means for outreach to both library and non-library cataloging communities. This document is intended for the exclusive use of CC:DA and its cataloging constituencies, and is presented as a discussion document in the ongoing process of rule revision. Under no circumstances should the information here be copied or re-transmitted without prior consultation with the current Chair of CC:DA.
CC:DA/TF/Conf. Proc. II/3
April 3, 1998
Our ObservationsThe general conclusion of the Task Force, based on the study of a sample of conferences published in 1997, is that the world is moving away from meeting names that employ a word that connotes a meeting, from meeting names that use prepositions such as on to grammatically link a topic and a word connoting a meeting, and from meeting names that use full (as opposed to partial) capitalization. We identified the following patterns:
Our RecommendationsThe AACR2R rule for naming of corporate bodies reads as follows:
Consider a corporate body to have a name if the words referring to it are a specific appellation rather than a general description. Consider a body to have a name if, in a script and language using capital letters for proper names, the initial letters of the words referring to it are consistently capitalized, and/or if, in a language using articles, the words are always associated with a definite article. (21.1B1)We recommend that the following be considered evidence of specific appellation in conference names:
We found the use of and/or in the rule as it stands to be very confusing, since it is not clear whether it means consistently capitalized and/or associated with a definite article or whether it means language using capital letters and/or language using articles. According to Sara Shatford Layne, and the LC rule interpretation, the occurrence of a definite article causes a conference to be considered to be named only in languages that do not use capitalization for every word in a proper name, such as French and Italian. This seems a rather obscure and confusing provision and we recommend that it be dropped. We recommend that the and/or be replaced by or. For example, all but one of us (and the two consultants, who also disagree) believe that under the current rules, the following should be considered to be named:
the national conference on losses by theft
There are two possible approaches to changing AACR2R to accomplish these recommended changes in practice, and we were unable to reach a consensus on which we preferred. Therefore, we present both options to CC:DA for your consideration:
OPTION 1 (preferred by two, possibly three members of the Task Force):
Change the wording in AACR2R as follows:
Consider a corporate body to have a name if the words referring to it are a specific appellation rather than a general description. Consider a body to have a name if, in a script and language using capital letters for proper names, the initial letters of at least some of the words referring to it are consistently capitalized, or if, in a language using articles, the words are always associated with a definite article. (21.1B1)
OPTION 2 (preferred by two, possibly three, members of the Task Force):
Change the wording in AACR2R to drop any listing of evidence for the determination of whether or not a body is referred to by a specific appellation, and leave this completely up to the catalogers judgment. The two members of the Task Force who recommend this approach point out that the decision as to whether a conference has a name depends on the complex weighing of many different kinds of evidence, that may or may not be present in any given publication, including the overall presentation of the name on the title page, on the covers and/or other preliminary pages, at the top of a roster, via a logo, some (perhaps repeated) design feature, the consistency with which the name appears in this publication, or in a series of publications, and a variety of other factors that simply cannot be listed in the form of a rule.
Under option 2, the wording in AACR2R would be changed as follows:
Remove from 21.1B1: Consider a body to have a name if, in a script and language using capital letters for proper names, the initial letters of the words referring to it are consistently capitalized, and/or if, in a language using articles, the words are always associated with a definite article.
The following changes in the LCRI for 21.1B1 are recommended:
We recognize that our overall approach of considering named conferences to be corporate bodies, and entering them as such, is probably a somewhat artificial approach that may not correspond to the immediate expectations of users. However, we feel that it is a useful practice that has been developed by librarians who recognized the difficulty of controlling these types of publications and therefore devised this method of dealing with them. Creating conference headings for inclusion in either general indexes or conference headings indexes in OPACs allows the publications from a series of meetings to be collocated and made scannable in chronological array. We suspect that once users of conference publications have noticed conference headings in the catalog, and have discovered the usefulness of conference and other indexes that allow them to search on these headings and display them, they would find it puzzling that the types of conferences we discuss above were excluded from this kind of treatment.
We also discovered that while the Task Force could agree that all of the types above were named, we could not necessarily agree on what the name was. For types A, D and E, we agreed that the following were probably the only candidates for form of name:
However, for types B and C, there were two candidates for form of name for each type, and members of the Task Force could not agree on which should be chosen:
Whenever there is disagreement about what the name is, it would be important to make cross-references from all of the name candidates not chosen. The Task Force does not believe that catalogers should construct names that do not occur anywhere in the actual publications, e.g. Symposium [on] Molecular Modeling and Structure Determination of Nucleic Acids (date : place).
Another problem with the broader definition of name we recommend might occur if a strong and distinctive name for a conference occurs in the preliminary matter (e.g., Third International Conference on Integrated Circuits), and a weak name occurs on the chief source of information (e.g., Integrated Circuits III). We would recommend that the cataloger be allowed to use judgement in choosing the entry form, and be encouraged to make cross references from all name candidates not chosen. The recommendation of the Conference Proceedings Task Force I that prominently named be removed as a requirement from rule 21.1B2 d) should feed in to this approach.
Finally, our consultants pointed out that the new approach we recommend leads to entry under forms of name that look just like titles on non-conference publications. For example, there are monographic publications not connected with conferences that appear in succession with titles in the form of topic topic I, topic topic II, etc. or topic topic 1995, topic topic 1996, etc. However, if the concern here is that non-conference publications could mistakenly be entered as conferences, we would like to point out that a conference must also be a conference in addition to having a name, in order to qualify for entry in AACR2R!
There are also times when our recommended approach leads to the conference name (minus qualifiers) being identical to the title of the publication. Opponents to our approach might argue that this leads to needless redundancy. In counter-argument, we would like to point out that 1) when catalogs offer separate title and conference name indexes, this redundancy can benefit users; and 2) this type of redundancy already occurs on the publications of conferences currently considered to be named whenever the publishers provide no other title than the name of the conference itself.
Topic words with a term connoting meeting in the subtitle.
Example: Cryptography and coding : proceedings of a conference
A term connoting meeting and a sponsoring/organizing body (not a meeting of the body).
Example: papers presented at a 1994 conference organized by the Missouri Historical Society
APPENDIX B, Comments in Disagreement by our Consultants
Comments from Dorothy McGarry (email@example.com): MARCH 10, 1998
Dear Martha and all:
Although I am not a member of the Task Force, Martha has kept me informed of your deliberations, and has indicated she would welcome comments. It has taken me awhile to prepare comments because the issue of names of conferences is one about which I feel strongly and have long thought about, and I am finding it difficult to find the words to express my concerns.
When I started cataloging in November 1971, my supervisor would create names of conferences by taking something like x y z; an international conference, and creating a main entry of International Conference [on] x y z. After a time, I convinced her that she was creating things that did not exist, and she decided to stop. It was not serving our users (including the reference librarians) to make up names.
I find it hard to understand why there is an effort to call something a name that to me looks like a perfectly good title. I have never thought there was a need to have conferences have names if the people who put together the conference did not think it necessary to have them.
A conference can have a perfectly straightforward title word word word II, meaning it is the second conference in a sequence that is issued with the same title, and the editors want both to let people know it is the second, and also, presumably, to provide a slightly different title than the one for the previous conference. The point in the report about non-conferences having titles that may end in roman or arabic numbers was not to say, as the report does, that someone might think they were conference proceedings and try to make names of them, but to show that there was no reason why someone might not consider words followed by numerals a perfectly good title, whether a conference or not a conference.
I have seen nothing to indicate that users think of titles as names, and often within proceedings volumes, if there is a name mentioned in the preface, introduction, etc., it does not match the title of the volume, but will usually say Workshop on or Symposium, and not be just the words in the title. Sometimes, there is evidence that what the editor is saying is that a conference was held on the theme of or the subject of , not that it was a name. I think all that calling a title a name would do would be to create things that do not really exist, would confuse people, and in the long run would muddy the waters a great deal.
In the Final report, February 4, 1998 draft, A., saying that something has topic words signaled by a term such as titled, is a name is playing with words. If someone says something has a title, what is wrong with accepting that the thing has a title. The editor is saying that this has a title, not that this has a name.
B. example, conference on the topic of functional [NOTE from Martha Yee: we have subsequently changed the actual example for TYPE B.] (unless you have four or five all with the name Conference on and you decide to go with it another year in case the next years capitalizes the c. We often have introductions that indicate there is a conference on the subject of topic or on the theme of topic, but saying that one has a conference on a particular topic does not indicate that the topic is the name of the conference. A corporate body may need to be qualified by (Firm) or but a corporate body presumably has a place where letters can be mailed and may be incorporated, etc., whereas a conference exists because people put it together.
C example unless Crusades conference is really Crusades Conference and that is the name, all it says is that there was a conference on the concept of Deus Vult
D. I would consider these not named with topic words and a year. If you want a name on the first one, use MMCN97 (1997 : place), but not the title.
E. Not named with topic terms and a number. This looks like a Materials Research Society type of title, one which they often use in their publications, and there is no reason to create a name just in order to have a 111 and have these file together. Actually, if its a matter of collocation that is of concern, this would presumably file with Materials issues in art and archaeology IV. In the AACR2R rule cited, the phrase is used words referring to it. A title is not referring to the conference that was held as a name, its just the title of the publication. If there is not a concept of a name, why create something out of a perfectly good string of title words?
E 1. again, saying something has a title or is entitled is playing games with what a name is.
2. Partial capitalization could depend on what the rest of the book says. Is there really a name in the preface or introduction or at the top of a roster or , or is it fully capitalized except on the t.p.? Is there a word connoting meeting, indicating there is really is a name associated?
3. Again, why create something that does not exist, just to have a 111? Same for 4.
Re the national conference on losses by theft could indeed be a name, depending on how it appears in the rest of the volume. Does it appear this way at various places, or in other places does it say this meeting we held on losses by theft ?
A title is not a specific appellation, but more of the order of a general description.
Number 4 on p. 4, asking catalogers to exercise overall judgment as to whether it was the intent what basis is there for the judgment other than the presence of a name including a term for a meeting and a connection to topic words or the name of the organization? We should not read peoples minds, and different catalogers would read the same minds differently. I see no evidence of an intent to name on the part of publishers and organizers of conferences or the published proceedings would have names. Often, when the introduction or preface has a name of Conference on it is not the words of the title by themselves. I agree that the catalogers of conference proceedings should go out of their way to provide as many kinds of legitimate access as possible, including sponsors, editors, and such, finding what are really names inside the volume and making notes and tracings.
I am in great favor of collocating a series of meetings where it is possible, and agree that the main entry for a conference with a name should be the name whether it is prominently named or not, but I feel strongly that there should be a name. As I said above, some conferences will be collocated by title, where there is no name and the title is the same or the same with only a date or number. I dont agree about users of conference publications noticing headings in a catalog would find it puzzling that some conferences did not have names. This has been true of conference publications, and is no more confusing than any other cataloging construct. In a catalog not everything is absolutely clear to occasional users.
On p. 5 on top would lead to the creation of names (not conferences) that did not really exist bibliographic ghost names (not conferences)
On p. 6, the report says The Task Force does not believe that catalogers should construct names that do not occur anywhere in the actual publications but that is what is being done in constructing names out of titles strings that do not imply the occurrence of a meeting. In the next paragraph, again, Integrated circuits III is not a weak name, it is not a name at all.
There is no objection to a main entry under name of conference (when it really is a name) and the title of the publication is the name of the conference, when that is what the editors/publishes publish the title page with. Redundancy is not relevant. It does occur when that is the title of the publication; my objection to using what is really a title as a name is that it should be treated as the title and no fake name created. When the title is the name of the conference, there is a name, and that name should also be the main entry.
In the appendix, the IAU symposium is not a valid example. Either the publication says IAU Symposium (more often used for IAU Colloquium) or it says Symposium no. 95 of the International Astronomical Union. The fact that this is not a meeting of the group, but sponsored by the group does not mean that there is no conference name as set forth in LC rule interpretations. LC fixed it so that these would be International Astronomical Union. Symposium (no. : date : place) I remember when this first came up and LC issued the r.i. to take care of this. LC used to treat IAU symposium ; no. 95, e.g., as a series, and then decided it could not be a series any more. An astronomy librarian raised the issue with LC, and the r.i. came about after a series of discussions. It has to do with a weak word for a meeting where that word is in association with the name of the corporate body sponsoring that meeting, this type of name can be constructed. [NOTE FROM MARTHA YEE: We removed this example from Appendix A, per Dorothys suggestion.]
I think Ill quit at this point. I hope my comments help raise further the question of what is a name and what is not, and the need not to create names out of titles. Thank you for the opportunity to comment.
Actually, I have to admit that I am receptive to her argument. I also think of these names as titles but I thought that perhaps I was inclined to do so because of so many years spent cataloging serials. As a serials cataloger, when I see conference materials, I usually look to see if it has a title that remains constant from issue to issue. Often the excuse for cataloging conference proceedings as serials was if the conference name remained the same from issue to issue. It was not uncommon for proceedings to be cataloged as a serial with an author and title that were both the same. This bothered me throughout our task force discussions but I wrote it off to my serials orientation. I would be interested to hear what others thought of Dorothys concerns.
Dear CC:DA Task Force on Conference Proceedings II,
Like Dorothy McGarry, I am not a member of your group, but have been following your deliberations as a consultant.
Ive been cataloging conference proceedings (both monographic and serial) for about fourteen years roughly 20-25% of the monographs received by my library are conference proceedings. I was also, for about five years, Head of the Interlibrary Loans Division for my library, and, since it is a relatively small division I did much of the actual work (taking ILL requests, making ILL requests, etc.) and therefore saw the way conference proceedings were requested by our users. In addition, I was co-chair of the committee that planned a 1994 preconference on proceedings (note that that is not the name of the preconference) and was responsible for preparing a workbook for that preconference. My comments are therefore based on a fair amount of experience, as well as considerable thinking on the topic. I am very sorry that I was unable to attend your meeting in New Orleans, and that, for various personal and professional reasons, it has taken me so long to prepare these comments on your report.
I think you are confusing specific appellation (emphasis mine) with specific description. A specific appellation is a name; a specific description is not. It is true that the code makes a distinction between specific appellation and general description and perhaps that is what is misleading. I think there is a difference between an appellation and a description, however specific that description may be. I think that what the code is trying to suggest, and that is a point that is missed in your report, is that a name must be an appellation it should have an inherent quality of name-ness. The parts of 21.1B1 that you decry as fussy little criteria are in fact attempts to define the essential attributes of name-ness. I am afraid that in focusing on the details of these criteria you are missing the essence of what it means to have something, in particular a conference, named. I think you need to step back and think about name-ness.
There are three attributes that 21.1B1 includes as defining a name: (1) consistency (as in, consistently capitalized, meaning that a name should have a certain stability); (2) capitalization (presented using the normal conventions as a name); (3) definite article (referred to as a name). It may be that the code, in its attempt to include what I regard as some attributes of a name, enables catalogers to lose sight (as I am afraid I think you have done in your report) of the idea that a name should, in addition to the attributes specified in the code, have the quality of name-ness. The existing LCRI for 21.1B1 is an additional effort at characterizing name-ness, and, as such, seems to me quite reasonable.
If I were going to suggest revisions to the code, I would suggest very different revisions from those suggested in your report. The only reason I think the revisions I am about to suggest may be necessary is that you, a group of highly intelligent catalogers, have, in my opinion, been led astray by the existing wording. The major revision that I would suggest is as follows: emphasizing that a name should look like a name in isolation from its context; that is, the identification of a set of words or letters as a name should not be completely dependent on the way those words are used in a sentence. It is common sense as much as catalogers judgment that determines whether something looks like a name. In support of Dorothys points about treating titles as titles and not as conference names, I would say that ending a title with a roman numeral does not make it look like a name. It still looks like, and is, a title. Very occasionally there are names of corporate bodies (not conferences) that do not look like a name (in AACR2 parlance, convey the idea of a corporate body). In these cases, a word (e.g., Firm) is added to the name. I would point out that in the case of these other corporate bodies the name can be documented through the normal corporate paraphernalia (letterhead, annual reports, etc.) that do not exist (except in very rare cases) for conferences. We are not relying in the case of the names of these other corporate bodies on the whims of a particular editor or designer of a single publication. The second revision that I would suggest is a clarification of the and/or in 21.1B1. I think you have misinterpreted what the or refers to. I would suggest that instead of meaning that either capitalization or a definite article are necessary in a language that uses both, the or means that if the first situation is not applicable (e.g., the script or language does not use capital letters for names) then consider the second situation to have force (e.g., if the language uses definite articles).
Conference Topics vs. Conference Names.
I think you have confused editors use of typography (and occasionally phraseology) to emphasize the topic of a conference with the giving of a name to a conference. I think this is true of your examples in A, B, and C. All of these examples show an effort on the part of the editors of the proceedings to point out and emphasize the topic of the conference, and do not constitute the creation of names for the conferences. The fact that your group could not agree on what parts of the phrases in which the editors described their conferences constituted a name argues, I believe, that these phrases lack the quality of name-ness.
Titles of Proceedings vs. Names of Conferences.
In your examples D and E I think you have, as Dorothy pointed out, confused bibliographic titles with conference names. The point that I would like to make is that these things lack the quality of name-ness they instead have the quality of title-ness. I do not object to making these titles into conference names because I am afraid that catalogers will assume that anything with a date or a number stuck on the end is a conference name, but because they are not names, as evidenced by their construction being common to titles rather than to names. The argument that conference names are sometimes titles does not logically support the position that these constructs are therefore possible conference names anything can be a title, including topics and personal names, but that does not mean that the converse holds true (e.g., that if all personal name can be titles, then all titles can be personal names).
Furthermore, I think this process of creating names out of any title that is followed by a number or a date will be confusing to users, especially when these materials are cataloged as serials, in which case the date and number will be absent from the name of the conference. If I were a user I would be confused as to why Multimedia Computing and Networking (Conference) is a name in a catalog record, but Cryptography and Coding (Conference) is not. If I were a user, I might infer from the first example that the catalog would show me all conferences with names in the form topic (Conference).
In answer to your argument that users of our catalogs expect all conferences to be named, since some are named, I would respond that users have long coped with the fact that some books have named personal authors and some do not. I think they can also cope with some conferences having names and some not which even if the recommendations in your report are followed will still be true.
We cannot meet users expectations where conference names are concerned users appear to have no fixed expectations, given the number of different ways in which a particular conference can be referred to. If a conference has a name, we need good authority records for variant names. We also need to design good systems to show people what we have for example, create a conference index that would index all appropriate fields (for example, 111, 110, 245, etc. from bibliographic records for conference proceedings and all fields from authority records for conference names) and then present a display like a dictionary catalog with cross references from authority records interfiled with bibliographic records.
I cannot support your recommendations, as I do not think they will benefit the users of our catalogs or be of assistance to the creators of these catalogs. If any revisions to the code are necessary, I think they should consist (1) of clarifying the use of the and/or in 21.1B1; and (2) emphasizing in some way that a name, at least a name of a conference, should have the quality of name-ness before it can be considered to be a name.
Sara Shatford Layne