ALCTS - Association of Library Collections & Technical Services

CC:DA/TF/Logical Structure of AACR/3

August 16, 1999

Final Report


Part I
  1. Class of materials
  2. Physicality
  3. Published vs. Unpublished
  4. Seriality
  5. Change in Attributes of a Document
Part II
  1. Functions of the Catalogue
  2. The Concept of "Authorship"
  3. The Concept of the "Work"
  4. The Concept of "Edition"
  5. The Citation Form of a Work
  6. The Organization of the Rules for Choice of Entry


Part II


It should be noted that in Part 2 of his report, Delsey organized his Key Issues and Recommendations differently. In Part 1, Delsey followed each Key Issue with a Recommendation. In Part 2, by contrast, he begins by listing the Key Issues (six), which are followed by a discussion, and finally a list of Recommendations (seven). The Task Force has decided to organize its response around the Key Issues and their discussion. If a particular Key issue corresponded to a particular Recommendation(s), the Delsey Recommendation was included as well.

  1. Functions of the Catalogue
  2. Delsey Recommendation: Using the model developed for this study as a frame of reference, develop a specification for the functions of the catalogue that fully articulates the objectives underlying the rules in the code that relate to the choice of access points and the construction and use of uniform titles. The tables used in Chapter 7 of the Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records might serve as a model for structuring the specifications.

    Task Force Response: Delsey's recommendation is an essential one and his suggestion for resolution very useful. Assuming the functions of the catalog are based on the Paris Principles of 1961 is logical. The functions of the catalog in the Paris Principles, however, are stated broadly. By contrast, the tables in Chapter 7 of the Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records are very detailed. They develop specifications to allow a user to: Find manifestations, Find a particular manifestation, Identify a work, Identify an expression, Identify a manifestation, Select a work, Select an expression, Select a manifestation, and Obtain a manifestation. The tables are divided into three columns: "To enable the user to-" / "the basic level national bibliographic record should reflect these logical attributes and relationships-" / "and should include these specific data elements." The structure is clear and the model practical for developing specifications for the functions of the catalog.

  3. The Concept of "Authorship"
  4. Delsey Recommendation: Re-assess the concept of "authorship" as it relates to the functions of the catalogue, and determine whether the exceptions in the rules that limit the assignment of access points in certain instances (including the "rule of three") should be altered. Delsey Recommendation: Assess the need to reflect additional relationships between persons and corporate bodies and the content of an item in the context of newly emerging forms of intellectual and artistic expression and multimedia productions.

    Task Force Response: Delsey's comments center around the concept of authorship as defined in Chapter 21 of AARC2 and the articulation of the functions of the catalog as set out in the Paris Principles of 1961. The Principles state that the catalog should be an efficient instrument for identifying whether a library holds a particular item by an author (2.1(a)) and which items by a particular author the library holds (2.2(a)). An examination of the concept of "authorship" in Chapter 21 in light of these principles reveals two problem areas. First, exceptions are made to the entries one would expect based on the definitions of single, shared, and mixed personal authorship. Delsey suggests these exceptions need to be examined and a rationale developed to explain them, so that this pattern of exception can be expanded to new forms of production (e.g., multimedia works).

    Second, Delsey notes certain added entries are made (performers, compilers, etc.) which are not required by the Paris Principles' statement on the function of the catalog. If these entries are to be made, one needs to develop guidelines as to what types of relationships (outside of authorship) should be reflected in the added entries as specified by the code. Again, reasoned principles need to be developed so that they can be logically extended to other forms of intellectual and artistic expression as they emerge.

    The concept of "authorship" is a complex one in AACR2, not only in itself but also for the function it serves in the catalog. Various communities involved in access to information have used terms such as "originator," "agent," and "creator" to express the many facets of this concept, for "authorship" not only dictates how differing works will be entered into the catalog but also how different manifestations of the same work will be related. The rules must not only define authorship, but also consider authorship in relationship to the "work" and its collocating function. Any consideration of authorship must not only consider "choice" of access point but the purposes behind this choice. Further confusing the picture, the rules for authorship of works of mixed responsibility in particular show irregularities because they are often driven by format rather than content, a particular problem for developing media. Further guidance in this area is essential.

    The limitations to access imposed by the rule of three appear questionable. Indeed, the rule of three can lead to inconsistencies in citation of versions of a work. Even the justification based on limiting the number of added entries in a card catalog is, for the most part, no longer valid. However, there are more practical matters to consider. The creation of controlled access points in a bibliographic record is the most expensive portion of the cataloging process. Many libraries now belong to the NACO/BIBCO programs and are held to a high standard of bibliographic record production and authority record creation. The cost of these added access points would not be insignificant. Any thorough review of authorship in AACR2 must concern itself with consistency, collocation, and cost.

    Any sort of response to Delsey's second concern is intimately tied to the definition of a work and the report of the Task Force on 0.24, and also the Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records. The Paris Principles seem to be working at a very high level, that is, the need to identify particular works in a catalog. The Functional Requirements extend these principles to the level of manifestation. If a function of the catalog is to allow a user to find a particular manifestation, certain additional access must be given and the Functional Requirements attempt to list what these elements are. However, the work of the Task Force on rule 0.24 has offered, among various options, Option C, which moves in a different direction than does the Functional Requirements document. CC:DA voted to recommend (a) a modified Option C and (b) that the modified Option C be used as a starting point for further, wider discussions. The recommended Option C, as modified by CC:DA, would indeed support the Paris Principles requirement of identifying individual works in a catalog but not necessarily the Functional Requirements statement that one should be able to find particular manifestations. Of course, what a cataloger creates and what the online catalog displays need not be the same. There needs to be a clear distinction between expectations of record creation and expectations of record access and display.

    The added entries which Delsey calls into question fall into different categories. Some, like performers, are intimately connected to the concept of an expression of a work and arguably should be considered as authors. Others are needed to identify a particular expression (e.g., compilers and editors), and others provide useful access points that are difficult to characterize in general terms (addressees of festschrifts).

    In order to resolve the complex issues surrounding these "non-author" entries, we first need to articulate the functions of the catalog and then define the functional requirements for bibliographic records needed to support these functions. Only then could we articulate broad guidelines and remove ourselves from specific rules for specific formats.

  5. The Concept of the "Work"
  6. Delsey Recommendation: Using the model as a frame of reference, test the feasibility of developing and articulating principles relating to the identity of the work or works manifested in the content of an item that can be applied at a more generalized level than is currently reflected in the specifics of the rules for choice of entry.

    Task Force Response: The "concept of the work" is, of course, one of the most crucial discussions taking place at this time. As the code itself lacks a definition of "work", Delsey has taken his from the ALA glossary of library and information science, noting the great similarity between this definition and the definition for "content" used in his model. One cannot help but sense a bit of wry humor as Delsey looks to the rules for main and added entries and the formulation of uniform titles for inferences "about the operative meaning of the term 'work' and its implicit boundaries." What follows is an exposition on one of the most labyrinthine sections of AACR.

    The need "to develop and articulate principles relating to the identity of the work or works manifested in the content of an item" is an essential one. In his most expansive comments, Delsey lays out choices of main entry for works of single, shared, and mixed responsibility. Further complexities are noted for performing, editing, or augmenting a previously existing work. Last, the myriad issues in determining main entry for collections with or without a collective title are detailed. Admittedly, the boundaries of a work and of its various kinds of editions – such as revised text or merely different typography – can be fuzzy, and some arbitrariness is necessary in determination. However, these rules betray a piecemeal approach to the resolution of this problem and a leaning towards resolution by format. Delsey rightly notes the concepts behind this list of exceptions must be analyzed and coordinated if we ever hope to create "general" rules that can be applied to emerging forms of publication and expression. The end result would be more manageable rules that require fewer exceptions of a specific nature.

    Caution must be taken in this exercise, however, not to allow the operative meaning of "work", if it can be ferreted out at all, to define "work" in the abstract. The issues are related yet separate. We need a rigorous examination of the rules to demonstrate how the concept of "work" has been used up till now, with a clear exposure of the conflicts thus far codified . We need to define for ourselves, however, the concept of work on which AACR should be based, and use the analysis the modeling has exposed for its clear, consistent expression in the rules.

    Delsey Recommendation: Re-assess the current restrictions imposed by the application of the "rule of three" on the identification of individual works in items containing collections of works by different persons or bodies.

    Task Force Response: The inclusion of "the rule of three" in AACR2 is related to the amount of staff time required for authority work and to the production of catalog cards, both very practical aspects of cataloging. There were practical limitations on the amount of information that could be typed on the catalog cards before the size of the catalog record(s) became unwieldy and took up too much space in the catalog drawers. In addition to the question of the size of the catalog card was the time consuming job of actually typing the catalog cards and the headings thereon. Today most libraries have eliminated catalog cards. Cataloging is done online using bibliographic utilities and the cataloging records reside in OPACs. Hence the practical aspects relating to catalog card production and maintenance are mainly eliminated with regards to "the rule of three".

    The time spent on authority work to authenticate and establish authority records associated with a cataloging record is still an issue and an important consideration when discussing authorship as well as "the rule of three". The new electronic metadata schemes developed on the internet have made it possible to retrieve and create data elements directly from the electronic document and use them in the cataloging record(s). This may ease somewhat the workload concerns related to the creation of an authority record, but the establishment and authentication of the heading is still important in this environment.

    As the OPACs and the internet mature the demand for easy and extensive access to documents both in online and in hard copy versions is rapidly increasing. The limitations enforced by "the rule of three", as well as other special AACR2 rules of authorship, do not make much sense in this online environment, nor do they meet the demand of the information seeker of today, if they ever did. Clearly, it is in the users' best interest to have access to each person or body having to do with the intellectual content and production of an item being cataloged.

    The above-mentioned issues are all very practical issues. In AACR2 the rules for diffuse authorship are very complicated. The complex nature of the issues is clearly demonstrated in the Delsey report, especially when looking at the figures in Part 2. These figures model the rules for choice of main entry. It takes 16 figures to describe "Entry under personal name heading (Figures 3a-3p)". However, all of these intricate rules in AACR2 and the accompanying LC interpretations pay some attention to the practical consideration of the limitations of catalog cards and time involved in doing authority work. In today's information environment, aspects of these considerations are becoming outdated. The AACR2 rules for authorship are often very difficult to interpret and implement. Therefore, it seems very appropriate to review these rules concerning authorship for improvements which will work well in the online environment. The logic in the Delsey report works well as a tool to map the current application of "the rule of three" and to reassess the current restrictions imposed by this rule (as well as broader issue of the complexity of the rules for authorship) described in AACR2.

  7. The Concept of "Edition"
  8. Task Force Comment: In referring to the Paris Principles once more, the catalog should allow the user to identify "which editions of a particular work are in the library." The vocabulary indicates an edition is "the embodiment of a work in a particular typographical form" and that "different editions may embody an identical or varying texts." It must be understood that a priori one must define the concept of "work". Care should be taken about applying this part of the Paris Principles to Web resources in particular, since typography is not one of the elements that authors/publishers can control in a Web environment.

    Delsey's comments focus on the use of uniform titles as a collocating devise for bringing together various editions of the same work, as well as separating distinct editions of that work. He rightly notes exceptions in the rules which allow what might be considered editions of the same work to be entered under different main entries (e.g., revisions of texts). These exceptions do need to be analyzed to see if the exceptions provided for should be further generalized, or, perhaps, eliminated.

    The uniform title itself, and the many functions it must serve (i.e., identifying, organizing, distinguishing, etc.), is in need of further logical modeling. Perhaps the uniform title is not the best mechanism for achieving all these ends?

    It is tempting to make a connection here to the citation form of a work. If, however, the catalog's aim is to identify which editions of a particular work are in a library, this collocation may take place from added as well as main entries. At times, the exceptions in AACR appear to be a compromise between the need for explicit, practical rules for transcription and the need to embrace larger concepts of organization. It is extremely valuable to be able to note where illogical exceptions have been made in the rules and to re-evaluate them. But any revision must still keep in mind the need that drove the exception.

  9. The Citation Form of a Work
  10. Delsey Recommendation: Using the model developed for this study, re-examine the use of the citation form as it is developed in the code to determine whether it is an optimally effective device for reflecting work-to-work relationships in the catalogue in light of the technology currently available to support bibliographic databases.

    Task Force Response: This recommendation raises two distinct issues:

    1. Is the author/title citation the best way to express work-to-work relationships in bibliographic databases?

    2. Do the specific rules for main entry and for uniform titles provide for a consistent citation form for works?

    The expression of relationships within the catalog needs to be analyzed (as the Delsey report suggests) "in the context of a shared cataloguing environment." At the present time, our global bibliographic system works through the communication of discrete self-sufficient records. All relationships between records have to be expressed through the data contained in those records. Although it is possible within a given catalog to link related records directly (e.g., through control-numbers), it is difficult at this time to communicate these links beyond the system in which they were created. So we need a consistent, objective means of expressing relationship that can be translated to any catalog into which the records are loaded. And in order for this link to be generated and understood universally, the information that generates the link must be held within or constructed from the item being cataloged itself, in contrast to an element that is supplied by a local system.

    The author/title citation is not the only possible means of doing this. The primacy of the author is definitely a cultural artifact. However, in the Anglo-American world, author/title citation is a familiar and usable concept – both for catalogers and for users. To abandon the author/title citation for this type of linking would introduce further complexity to the bibliographic record and have unknown ramifications in the world of those that use the catalog.

    The need for a consistent, objective citation for a given work (and indeed for a given expression or manifestation) depends on a consistent set of rules for both choice of main entry and establishing uniform titles. The Delsey report has identified an embarrassing number of exceptional cases in which special rules have overruled general principles, and the choice of main entry depends, not on the nature of the work or the expression, but on attributes of particular manifestations (e.g., the order of authors names on a title page). The optionality of the rules for uniform titles – and indeed cases in which the rules specify that a uniform title not be made – is also a problem. These exceptions should indeed be examined and either – as the report recommends – be generalized or – perhaps better – be eliminated. It should be noted that many of these exceptions occur in what Gorman would term the "case-law" portions of Chapters 21 and 25.

    Once these work-to-work relationships are clearly defined and appropriate links established, one could use current technology to create various types of displays which would express these relationships much more clearly than is currently in practice.

  11. The Organization of the Rules for Choice of Entry
  12. Delsey Recommendation: Examine the feasibility of re-structuring the rules in Chapter 21 with a view to simplifying the use of the rules and facilitating the application of general rules to particular cases in the absence of rules dealing specifically with the case in question.

    Task Force Response: In his analysis of rules for choice of entry, Delsey skillfully charts the growing confusion from a simple choice in works of single authorship (author or title) to twenty entities on which the main entry may be based in the case of works of mixed responsibility. Among other issues, Delsey asks if the line between works of shared and mixed responsibility is sufficiently clear. He also notes many of the rules for works of mixed responsibility are format based and one must extrapolate beyond them to include other forms of media not explicitly mentioned.

    Very similar thoughts were expressed by the CC:DA Task Force on Works Intended for Performance. The Task Force notes most rules in Chapter 21 on mixed responsibility are based on format rather than on conditions of authorship and that there are no rules in general for mixed responsibility in new works. Both Delsey and the Task Force focused their attention on works of mixed responsibility.

    The Task Force on Works Intended for Performance makes some excellent recommendations on rules that need to be examined and perhaps rewritten. If this is the direction that is taken, this report can make a good starting point. Delsey, however, moves in another direction. He questions the usefulness of the primary categories for works of shared and mixed responsibility and suggests a simpler approach based purely on number of people having responsibility for the content of the item. This approach has the benefit of extensibility to any medium but is perhaps too simplistic. Certainly other factors are more or equally important. If this decision point were chosen, the remaining crucial issue would be how much impact one would need to have on the item to be included as having responsibility for it. Again, one is thrown back to the issues surrounding "work". Once this key issue has been resolved, others, like the structure of Chapter 21, may fall more easily into place.


Members of the Task Force

Philip Schreur, Chair (August 1999)
Joan Schuitema, Chair (April-July 1999)
John C. Attig
George F. Johnston
John Kloswick
Mary L. Larsgaard
Ingrid Mifflin
Cecilia Sercan