ALCTS - Association of Library Collections & Technical Services

Task Force on Specific Characteristics of Electronic Resources


Interim Report (2/23/2001)
Report (8/27/2001: rev. 9/10/2001)
Report (1/21/2002)
Agenda and Report (6/2002)
Terminology in Area 5 (8/2002)

CC:DA/TF/Specific Characteristics of ER/1

August 1, 2000


The Task Force on Specific Characteristics of Electronic Resources is charged with examining and if necessary, proposing changes to the Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules for expressing specific characteristics for electronic resources, including rules for type and extent of resource (area 3), physical description (area 5), and related notes (area 7). Particular attention shall be paid to remote resources.

The Task Force shall consider areas 3, 5, and 7 of chapter 9, the roles of these areas in other chapters of AACR, and other areas of description if necessary.

The Task Force shall consult with the broader cataloging community to

  1. learn what is needed to identify and describe specific characteristics of electronic resources
  2. ascertain how areas 3, 5, and 7 are being applied and used by catalogers of electronic resources
  3. examine and test alternatives to current practices

An interim report shall be presented to CC:DA at the 2001 Midwinter Meeting in Washington, D.C. The final report of the Task Force shall be presented at the 2001 Annual Conference in San Francisco and shall be sent to the Chair of CC:DA no later than June 1, 2001.

CC:DA/TF/Specific Characteristics of ER/2

August 1, 2000


Laurel Jizba, Chair
Portland State University
Branford P. Millar Library, Room 209
1825 SW Broadway
Portland, OR 97201
work: (503) 725-4550
fax: (503) 725-5799

Greta de Groat
Electronic Media Cataloger
Stanford University Libraries
Catalog Dept., MARC Unit
Meyer Library, 3rd Floor
Stanford, CA 94305-6604
work: (650) 725-0267
fax: (650) 725-1120

Brad Eden
Head of Cataloging
University of Nevada, Las Vegas
4505 Maryland Parkway, Box 457034
Las Vegas, NV 89154-7034
work: (702) 895-2457
fax: (702) 895-1078
Preferred mailing address:
3424 Sioux Way
Las Vegas, NV 89109
home: (702) 732-7885

Gene Kinnaly
Library of Congress
101 Independence Ave., SE
Washington, DC 20540
work: (202) 707-2722
fax: (202) 707-7161

Jimmie Lundgren
Science Cataloging Unit Head
300 Smathers Library
University of Florida
Gainesville, FL 32611-2048
work: (352) 392-0351
fax: (352) 392-4788

Elizabeth Mangan
7700 Estero Blvd. #301
Fort Myers Beach, FL 33931
home: (941) 463-9648

Nan Myers
Government Documents, Patents & Trademarks
Ablah Library
Wichita State University
Wichita, KS 67260-0068
work: (316) 978-5130 or (800) 572-8368
fax: (316) 978-3048

Ann Sandberg-Fox
Cataloging Consultant & Trainer
34 Broadstreet Road
Fairfax, VT 05454-9703
home: (802) 849-2755
fax: (802) 654-2595
e-mail: or

Send e-mail to: Task Force Members

The survey period ended on November 3. The results are reported in and incorporated into the following reports.

To those who participated in the survey, thank you very much!

CC:DA/TF/Specific Characteristics of ER/4

February 23, 2001

Interim Report

The Task Force presented a series of recommendations regarding areas 3, 5 and 7 in Chapter 9 of AACR, together with draft rule revision proposals. The report is available in the following formats:

CC:DA/TF/Specific Characteristics of ER/5

August 27, 2001; rev. October 3, 2001


The Task Force presented rule revision proposals to support their recommendations. The report is available in the following formats:

CC:DA/TF/Specific Characteristics of ER/6

January 21, 2002


The Task Force reported further discussions on issues relating to areas 3, 5 and 7 in Chapter 9. The report is available in the following formats:

Agenda and Report (June 2002)

The Task Force met again during the 2002 ALA Annual Conference in Atlanta, GA.

CC:DA/TF/Specific Characteristics of ER/7

June 15, 2002

The agenda is available in the following formats:

CC:DA/TF/Specific Characteristics of ER/8

June 16, 2002

The report is available in the following formats:

Terminology in Area 5 (August 2002)

The Task Force submitted the following comments on the question of conventional terminology, as discussed in 4JSC/ALA/36/Rev/CCC response, 4JSC/CCC/6 and 4JSC/CCC/7:

CC:DA/TF/Specific Characteristics of ER/9

August 22, 2002

To:     CC:DA
From:   Task Force on Specific Characteristics of Electronic Resources
          (Laurel Jizba, Greta de Groat, Brad Eden, Gene Kinnaly,
          Jimmie Lundgren, Nan Myers, Ann Sandberg-Fox)
Date:   August 22, 2002
Re:     Terminology in Area 5

Regarding issues of terminology in area 5, the Task Force has followed the progress of the discussions with respect to chapters 6,7, and 9 with interest. These are complex issues — the earlier discussion has been informative and useful.

“Terms in common usage.” We agree with “terms in common usage” as recommended by ACOC and are believe it is an improvement over the term “conventional terminology,” for the reasons they suggest.

Area 5 in chapter 9. For chapter 9, we continue to support our report which recommends the use of “terms in common usage / conventional terminology” for the first element of area 5, and believe that the arguments for doing so are much stronger with respect to chapter 9 than for chapters 6 or 7. The SMD terminology in chapter 9 — for various reasons — was simply too far removed from terminology that is used — or even easily recognized by users. We appreciate John’s validation of this viewpoint.

Consistency. The issues surrounding consistency are complex. There is consistency between our recommendation and the electronic resources cataloging community sentiment for meaningful and recognizable terms. Looking at consistency in a broader context, we note that the location of SMD information does not change from chapter to chapter, regardless of how it is worded. We would indeed prefer not to see a good decision for chapter 9 reversed due to a drive for consistency in the formatting of the first element of area 5 in other chapters — the reasons for changing the recommendation for area 5 of chapter 9 do not seem as compelling as the reasons given for doing so with respect to other chapters. (Parenthetically, we note that the formatting of the first element in area 5 might possibly end up being formulated differently for chapter 3 than for chapters 6, 7, and 9. For example, possibly for chapter 3 we might have: __ maps on [whatever prescribed term is used] (term in common usage), or possibly __ maps on (term in common usage) or some similar formulary. As such, use of chapter 3 might not be consistently synchronized with how the rule at 9.5B1 is formulated in other cases.)

Support for “optional rule” reinstatement. If a decision is made that it is crucial to employ standard SMDs that are parenthetically qualified by “terms in common usage” for all chapters, then — with reservations — we agree that the use of “terms in common usage / conventional terminology” would best be reinstated as an optional rule for 9.5B1. Feedback indicates this option will be heavily used for chapter 9. We would welcome any “list” provided by the Library of Congress as discussed in the 4JSC/CCC/6/LC response. While we would prefer not to make the SMD longer by addition of a parenthetical qualifier — rather than use of a brief term in common usage (and we expect common terms tend to be short as compared to our official SMD’s) — there is some value in retention of defined terms that catalogers may feel more comfortable using, and then parenthetically qualifying those terms a flexible manner with more specific “terms in common usage.”

Agreement re: chapters 6 and 7. In general, we agree with the chapter 6 and chapter 7 communities, and with Michael Chopey’s comments regarding chapters 6 and 7 that there are some compelling reasons to formulate the SMDs according to prescribed terms for resources within the scope of chapters 6 and 7.

Remote terminology. We note that terminology with respect to remote resources, including Web resources, remains to be determined for most chapters.