It Ain't All Puppy Dogs and Rainbows : When RDA Meets MARC

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1 It Ain't All Puppy Dogs and Rainbows : When RDA Meets MARC Mark K. Ehlert LITA/ALCTS MARC Formats Interest Group January 21, 2012 Introduction From catalog card printing mechanism, to communications format, to a kind of encoding standard, MARC stands as the primary vehicle through which bibliographic and authority data are displayed to the cataloger and passed between library systems. This standard, now over four decades old, will continue playing these roles with RDA s possible implementation in This paper summarizes some of the practices, questions, and consequences of marrying RDA with MARC by touching upon three themes: terms and codes, granularity, and linking. Due to their complex nature, I will concentrate my comments on bibliographic records, and then only to a few of the more popular MARC tags and RDA guidelines. Authority records by their nature direct their attention to a single entity a person, a group, a work and are simpler creations comparatively. Terms and Codes The MARC standard has for a long time now provided the means by which to post cataloging data, whether using spelled out terminology as dictated by cataloging rules, brief codes as directed by MARC instructions, or a combination of the two. RDA in its way follows in the footsteps of AACR2: it employs and relies to a greater extent on controlled lists of terms from which catalogers select and apply to bibliographic and authority records. When giving such terms in the body of the bibliographic record, we follow RDA s instructions to record... using one or more appropriate terms from the list or some similar statement. The MARC environment, however, forces us to interpret these instructions in the light of various codes that that standard offers. One such example is found under RDA 2.13 (Mode of Issuance). We are told to record one or more prescribed terms from a table, which lists and defines the expressions single unit, multipart monograph, serial, and integrating resource Mark K. Ehlert MARC Formats Interest Group Page 1

2 MARC provides no place to record these designations, however. What catalogers must do is take RDA s vocabulary and translate them for the MARC record. So in the case of 2.13, we apply these terms via codes to the Leader/07 (BLvl). (The Leader/19, in tandem with the BLvl code, would distinguish between a single unit and multipart monograph; this byte, however, is not implemented on any catalog system in the U.S. that I am aware of.) RDA Element Terms In MARC Leader RDA 2.13 Mode of Issuance Single unit Multipart monograph Serial Integrating resource BLvl: m BLvl: m BLvl: s BLvl: i A similar focus can be paid to the 007 field codes and equivalent information in the 300 field and new 34X block. Catalogers have the option to record written out forms in the 3XX fields, codes in the 007, or both. One advantage the 34X offers is when an equivalent 007 code is marked as other. A cataloger may apply a term (whether devised or found on another list) in the 34X, allowing the catalog system to act on it in some way, such as for indexing. Below is an outcome to following RDA (Video Format): e z... (Videorecording format (007/04) for an HD DVD) HD DVD... (Term taken from another list) We read under RDA 7.15 (Illustrative Content) that information on any illustrative matter is recorded using the term illustration or illustrations, as appropriate; alternatively, we can substitute for or append to illustration(s) other terms such as portraits, maps, genealogical tables, and so forth. (RDA mentions nothing here about recording appropriate singular or plural forms.) With MARC, this raises a pair of issues. First, the codes for 008/18 21 (Ills) that match these terms only appear to represent the plural form. Is a separate code for the singular form necessary? Or do these codes represent the illustrative form irrespective of grammatical number? And second, must we spell out illustrations and other prescribed wording in the 300 b? The guidelines seem to suggest this, but if the Ills codes fulfill the purpose of RDA's controlled vocabulary, the 300 b might then offer a suitable location for the display form of the terms, whether illustrations, illus., or ill. in English or synonymous wording in other languages Mark K. Ehlert MARC Formats Interest Group Page 2

3 RDA Element Terms In MARC 008 Field In MARC 300 Field RDA 7.15 Illustrative Content illustrations portraits Ills: ac 300 b illustrations, portraits b ill., ports.... Relationships described in bibliographic and authority records have their own set of controlled terms and phrases called relationship designators: Between a name heading and a resource RDA Appendix I author editor of compilation book designer donor Between one resource and another RDA Appendix J novelization of (work) basis for libretto (expression) electronic reproduction bound with Between one name heading and another RDA Appendix K real identity descendants employer These stock terms and phrases are available for use with: access points for names and titles (e.g., 100 e and 700 i), and formal notes pointing to other resources (RDA s structured descriptions, e.g., 534 p and 787 i) Some formal notes, such as those for earlier and later titles of serials, appear as linking entries in MARC records. Many of these linking fields are defined in such a way that they already mirror relationship designators. For instance, the 780 tag means Preceding entry and the second indicator 0 refines this to Continues, which so happens to be a designator found in Appendix J (see J.2.6). This allows catalogers to avoid using spelled out designators for some MARC tags. The Library of Congress describes one other situation in their rule interpretations for RDA: In some instances, MARC content designation (e.g., field, indicator, coding) will satisfy some RDA elements and relationships. For example, the use of second indicator 2 (analytical entry) in a 7XX field indicates a contained work so that the 2012 Mark K. Ehlert MARC Formats Interest Group Page 3

4 appendix J relationship designator Contains (work) should not be given. (LCPS 0.12) Questions arise, however, regarding approaches to added entries for expressions a not uncommon phenomenon and the designator Contains (expression). Designators are not used with informal notes pointing to other resources (RDA s unstructured descriptions, such as those in 500 fields). The examples in RDA do a poor job at getting this point across despite the explicit instructions under 24.5 and scattered about Appendix J. Here is a sample of a couple different approaches to recording a notation on translations: Jones, Adam, e author Title of the work. l German Der Titel der Arbeit / c Adam Jones ; übersetzt von Hans Stoltz Translation of: The title of the work i translation of a Jones, Adam. t Title of the work. (Either approach alone would likely be taken in a real-world cataloging situation, but for illustrative purposes I am using both.) The stock introductory phrase in the 500 and 700 fields is the same; however, it seems only the 700 i phrase can be labelled a relationship designator. It is set apart in its own subfield and, moreover, can be acted upon by the catalog by virtue of that dissociation. The translation of in the 500 note may be considered an introductory flourish to an informal note. As the sample list of designators above shows, some most notably those for resourceresource relationships include parenthetical information that, frankly, is of absolutely no use to the end user. Despite this, the Library of Congress is displaying these designators as-is in their own catalog, with initial capitalization and a final colon (see LCPS J.1) i Novelization of (work): t... Perhaps only displaying the word or phrase before the parenthetical would be enough for the public. One suggestion I read recently spoke of entering parentheticals in their own subfields: i novelization of z (work) t... (A made-up example) 2012 Mark K. Ehlert MARC Formats Interest Group Page 4

5 A better way to do this, in my view, is to establish a list of codes that mirror those terms found in Appendix J (akin to MARC relator codes for names). A hypothetical example using the 700 i: MARC relator code for RDA Appendix J designator: mpaw = motion picture adaptation of (work) In MARC: i mpaw a Le Carré, John, d t Tinker, tailor, soldier, spy. In the public display: Related work: Film adaptation of: Le Carré, John, Tinker, tailor, soldier, spy. This would enable local catalog systems to display appropriate user-friendly labels with formal notes and access point while still fulfilling the obligations of RDA s instructions. The use of the same or different subfield would have to come into play if a designator not found in Appendix J is formulated (a practice allowed by RDA). A similar solution might be made for name-name relationship designators used in the authority record s 5XX (See also) fields. Granularity One of the more obvious takeaways from examining RDA-MARC records is that a number of separate RDA elements may inhabit a single MARC subfield. Following on the illustration commentary above, I will consider color. Under AACR2, the presence of illustrations and whether they are colored (beyond black-and-white) are recorded together in a single phrase as part of the physical description area: b col. ill.... RDA considers these separate characteristics of the resource s content and divides their cataloging guidelines between separate instructions: 7.15 (Illustrative Content) and 7.17 (Colour Content). MARC, as you see above, does not differentiate between the two in the 300 b; both nestle together in a single subfield. Other groups of RDA elements that are applied to single MARC subfields include subtitles and statements of responsibility in series statements, some forms of edition statements, and serial numbering. The last has a little-used partner, the 363 field, that distinguishes between start and end enumeration and chronology data offering 2012 Mark K. Ehlert MARC Formats Interest Group Page 5

6 another opportunity to implement a display form (362) with a system-friendly data form (363) for specific cataloging data. RDA Element Attributes In MARC RDA Designation of Edition RDA Statement of Responsibility Relating to the Edition RDA Designation of a Named Revision of an Edition RDA Statement of Responsibility Relating to a Named Revision of an Edition RDA Numeric and/or Alphabetic Designation of First Issue or Part of Sequence RDA Chronological Designation of First Issue or Part of Sequence RDA Numeric and/or Alphabetic Designation of Last Issue or Part of Sequence RDA Chronological Designation of Last Issue or Part of Sequence RDA Other Title Information of Series RDA Statement of Responsibility Relating to Series Designation, named revision Designation / Person One, named revision / Person Two First issue number (start date) last issue number (end date) Series title : series subtitle Series title / Person One 250 a Designation, named revision 250 a Designation / b Person One, named revision, Person Two 362 a First issue number (start date)-last issue number (end date) /x a First issue number i start date /x a Last issue number i end date 490 a Series title : series subtitle 490 a Series title / Person One Other parts of RDA, like AACR2, ask catalogers to give all attributes if more than one applies. Take, for instance, multiple statements of responsibility for a work. In MARC, we transcribe these in a single 245 c / c written by John Smith ; edited by Susan Johnson ; illustrated by Adam Jones. RDA s instructions imply that one statement appears per element (see RDA (More Than One Statement of Responsibility)). For the example above, the element would be repeated three times, each with its own statement. The question arises then as to whether this should equate with repeating the c delimiter in the 245 field, and what advantages, if any, this would present to users and systems. The MARC standard at present does not allow a repeating 245 c Mark K. Ehlert MARC Formats Interest Group Page 6

7 Similar practices are put into effect under RDA for resources with multiple titles proper and multiple subtitles. With respect to the former, MARC has the 740 field to manage the indexing of the second and subsequent titles proper appearing to the 245 field. RDA Element Attributes In MARC RDA (Resource Lacking a Collective Title) RDA (Resource Lacking a Collective Title) RDA (More Than One Statement of Responsibility) First title / Author One Second title / Author One Third title / Author One First title / Author One Second title / Author Two Third title / Author Three Written by Person One Edited by Person Two Illustrated by Person Three 245 a First title 245 b Second, third, etc., titles 740 a Second title 740 a Third title 245 a First title 245 c Second, third, etc., titles 740 a Second title 740 a Third title 245 c Person One, Person Two, Person Three, etc. RDA s penchant for granularity does not go unchallenged, however; MARC provides greater granularity in some areas. Two good examples are found with names. According to RDA, roman numerals attached to given names, such as those for kings and queens, are an integral part of the name (RDA ). MARC, on the other hand, separates such numerals from the base name using the X00 b, whether the heading appears in bibliographic or authority records. RDA also allows retaining any relationship terms that are part of personal names that include surnames. Again, these may appear as roman numerals, as well as abbreviated terms ( Jr. ) or full words ( père ). A separate X00 c in the heading provides a place for this data. RDA Element Attribute In MARC RDA General Guidelines on Recording Names Containing Neither a Surname nor a Title of Nobility Elizabeth I a Elizabeth b I,... RDA Words, Etc., Indicating Relationship Following Surnames Hank Williams, Jr. Frederick C. Hatfield, II a Williams, Hank, c Jr., a Hatfield, Frederick C., c II 2012 Mark K. Ehlert MARC Formats Interest Group Page 7

8 Linking Catalogers often present information about other data found in records. These typically take on the form of notes concerning such features as titles, edition statements, and places of publication. This is no different under RDA. And though the instructions on notes are separated by several degrees from the instructions on posting aspects of resources (e.g., Title under 2.3, Note on Title under ), I wonder if notes presented in the 5XX block, especially those in generic 500 fields, would benefit from linking to the element commented on. MARC has such a linking mechanism already in place: the /x a A Christmas carol /x a Title from cover. Data thus coded would allow systems to act on these notes in some manner. In the example above, perhaps the note could display with the title via user interaction rather than passively show up further down the record as directed by AACR2 and the ISBD. Linking would also serve as a binding mechanism for the content, media, and carrier (CMC) type elements ( fields), especially for those library materials made up of several carriers (e.g., kits and accompanying materials). For a book with an accompanying computer application on a CD-ROM and a folded sheet map, systems might recognize the bonds among the various CMC types with greater ease compared to the malleable free text of a iv, 113 pages ; c 28 cm + e 1 CD-ROM (4 3/4 in.) + 1 map (color ; 40 x 60 cm, folded to 21 x 10 cm) /x 3 book a text 2 rdacontent /x 3 book a unmediated 2 rdamedia /x 3 book a volume 2 rdacarrier /x 3 CD-ROM a computer program 2 rdacontent /x 3 CD-ROM a computer 2 rdamedia /x 3 CD-ROM a computer disc 2 rdacarrier /x 3 map a cartographic image 2 rdacontent /x 3 map a unmediated 2 rdamedia /x 3 map a sheet 2 rdacarrier Implementation is a problem, unfortunately. OCLC and various catalog systems do not allow or recognize the 8 in bibliographic records at present. Conclusion Some of the issues I described above may become moot with the appearance of a post- MARC encoding standard adapted for use with RDA. But until that day comes, and 2012 Mark K. Ehlert MARC Formats Interest Group Page 8

9 despite the several revisions made to MARC already to accommodate RDA, application of the new cataloging rules will continue be a sometimes challenging affair for catalogers but one that opens up opportunities for creative solutions Mark K. Ehlert MARC Formats Interest Group Page 9

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