Suggested Rda/Marc Modifications To Make Records More Patron-Friendly
Rules Were Made for the Patrons, not Patrons for the Rules: Handout
J. McRee (Mac) Elrod, 17 October 2010
Although I think MARC21 fixed fields need a major overhaul and
simplification, there are only two departure from present fixed field
practice I will suggest you adopt. MARBI refused to assign an 007/04
Videorecording format code for DVD-HD. Just because HD's are no
longer being produced, is not to say we don't have them in archival
collections. The British Museum even has quite a collection of clay
tablets. We still have a MARC code for Beta. Unless and until MARBI
come to its senses, code HD as "v" DVD, not "z" Other. Patrons think
of them as DVDs.
State university press publications should be excluded from 008/28 = s
meaning state government document. No patron will think of the
electronic version of a state university press monograph as a state
document, nor want it if searching or creating a bibliography based on
While the PCC standard for the provider neutral electronic monograph
record takes advantage of the MARC 020|z for ISBNs representing the
original print version, it does not do the same for 010|z LCCN, but
rather instructs the use of 776|w, even though that subfield is not
dedicated only to the LCCN. Many more of our small clients index
010|z than 776|w. In addition to 776|w for those who wish it (only
one client so far), we give the print LCCN in 010|z.
Classification numbers, whether 082 DDC or 050 LCC, should be assigned
to all materials in your collection. It is a matter of integration
with the collection. Class numbers serve many more purposes than just
"mark and park".
In October of 1999 there was a discussion on Autocat (an e-list for
cataloguers) of the advantages and disadvantages of classifying
Internet resources catalogued locally, which grew to include a
discussion of cataloguing electronic resources generally.
While some librarians do see classification as primarily a method of
assigning a shelf location for a physical item, many others see
classification as a valid subject approach for all the materials in
the collection, or available to the library's patrons through the
In the Autocat discussion there was a fairly clear division between
those who saw classification as call number assignment and who felt no
need of it for material not physically present in the collection, and
those who saw classification as a means of subject organization. The
latter saw classification as important for all library materials,
placing resources in a systematic array, with mammals from Aardvarks
to Zebras together, as opposed to being scattered alphabetically.
In addition, the class number may be used in measuring the strength of
the collection in certain areas, and for producing bibliographies.
Although over a decade old, these arguments still seem valid to me.
RDA, unlike ISBD and AACR2, is written without regard to display. SLC
agrees with Martha Yee (whose paper for IFLA is on our website), that
the best display is an unlabeled ISBD one. Not only are labels space
consuming in display, using space better used for helpful data, they
are often simply wrong. To label actors, directors, composers, and
even criminal defendants as "Authors" is misleading at best.
Adapting and Creating Description
For the sake of interfiling with derived records, we should probably
adhere pretty closely to the rules for choice and form of main entry.
The only departure we have made to author main entry, at a client's
insistence, was do enter the Dalai Lama as "Dalai Lama", with dates.
We even got the approval of his office in India to do that.
The abandonment of the rule of three will result in a lot of what
would have been 700 author added entries being 100 author main
entries, with a lot of what would have been 130 authority records
being 100|a|t authority records. This is, I suspect, where
superimposition will come into play, with our leaving well enough
alone in older records.
As we move down the MARC fields, there are more patron helpful
practices I would like to urge upon you.
We find DVD records require more adaptation to be patron friendly than
any other genre.
130 Uniform title as main entry requires change much more often than
100 personal author entry. Our clients reject a 130 saying "(Motion
picture)" for a motion picture on a DVD. "It's not a motion picture"
they say, "it's a videorecording." They see no need to distinguish
the title from another title they don't even own. They see no logic
to sometimes having that 130 and sometimes not.
A 130 in a different language from 245 gets moved to 246 1
|iTranslation of:|a or 730, uniform title. Ditto 240. The only 130s
most of our clients like are ones for the Bible, and the only 240s
they accept are for classical music and Shakespeare's plays. I
suspect most patrons feel the same, and find them confusing.
Title 245 is where we get really radical, particularly in the case of
foreign language films. If the English title (and, in the case of
bilingual Canada, the French title) is prominent on the case, that's
what they want in 245|a, and what they wish used as the basis for the
Cutter. So we do a bit of cutting and pasting to reverse the order,
regardless of the title frame, and the foreign language parallel
title goes in 246 alternate title as opposed to the English one. The
patron sees the case, not the title frame, in selecting the item.
While we are at 245, our clients dislike a long statement of
responsibility for a motion picture which clutter brief display, and
divides persons and corporate bodies from those credited in 508. So a
bit of cutting and pasting moves those credits to 508, with a
semicolon, and the first word already in 508 changed to lower case.
Ms Olson bases her instruction to divide credits between 245|c and 508
on AACR2. RDA is less clear on this (as it is less clear on many
Just as a knowledge of yee olde unit card helps one understand AACR2,
a knowledge of AACR2 helps one understand RDA. How library school
students coming to RDA without background will understand it, I've no
For example, you know how I feel about dividing non cast credits
between 245|c and 508 for video recordings.
RDA says at 2.4.1 (which I assume applies to 245|c):
2,4,1 "A statement of responsibility is a statement relating to the
identification and/or function of any persons, families, or corporate
bodies responsible for the creation of, or contributing to the
realization of, the intellectual or artistic content of a resource."
But RDA says at 188.8.131.52:
"For statements identifying persons who have contributed to the
artistic and/or technical production of a motion picture or video
recording, see the instructions given under 7.21."
The above would seem to me to instruct that all responsible persons
for a video be in a note. Shouldn't there be "other" in front of
"persons" if some were to be given in the statement of responsibility?
RDA says at 184.108.40.206 (which I assume applies to 508):
"Artistic and/or technical credits are listings of persons, families,
or corporate bodies (other than the cast) who have contributed to
the artistic and/or technical production of a motion picture or video
This says nothing about putting some contributors in a statement of
responsibility. But appendix examples show a 245|c for a video,
Unless one knows the distinctions made in AACR2 between statement of
responsibility and credits note, the RDA instructions are too vague
to follow. The general instruction, the reference to 220.127.116.11, and
18.104.22.168 all speak of "contributors" with no distinction made. So
let's take advantage of that vagueness, use "cataloguer judgement" and
combine credits 1n one place, namely 508.
On to 250 edition.
We find "widescreen" and "letterbox" not really to be 250 edition
statements. That information is more at home in 538 with Region and
nature of sound. Now that with RDA, DVD can at long last moved to 300
collation where it logically belongs, 538 can be limited to this sort
Next 260, imprint.
The LCRI (Library of Congress Rule Interpretation) which turned AACR2
on its head, and had us describing the print original in 260 and the
reproduction in 533, was never very satisfactory. SLC's solution was
a compound 260, with the original publisher in 260|a|b|c, and the
electronic manufacturer or agregator in 260|e|f|g. That is not, of
course, a provider neutral record. We continue that practice where
the agregator adds value to the resource, or includes it in an
electronic series which needs to be searchable.
Speaking of the little used MARC21 260|e and |f for place and
manufacturer, their use is a way of getting around AACR2 and OCLC's
instruction to omit 260|a and |b for locally produced nonbook
material. The AACR2 strong distinction between published and
unpublished became out of date with the invention of the photocopier,
not to mention copying of VHS's and DVDs. If we know where and by
whom an item was manufactured, so should our patrons.
The idea of a repeating 260 went over like a lead balloon with our
clients. Their rejection of earliest imprint in the single 260 for a
continuing resource is quite heritical. They like the integrating
resource practice of latest imprint in 260 for all continuing
resources. If they retain only the current year, why would they care
who published the first issue in the preceding century? If the whole
file is available electronically through the current publisher, why
should they care who published the earlier print version?
While RDA is supposed to be a step into the future, in some of its
provisions, such as omission of place and manufacturer for local
materials, and earliest imprint for serials, it is already out of
date. These practices are not in accord with present electronic
reality. RDA reinvented some wheels which were rolling quite nicely,
and ignored other matters in need of updating.
RDA provides that a long English phrase that publication date is
"not identified" be followed by |g manufacturing date if known,
but without place and name of manufacturer if place and publisher
are given. This would result in a very strange display: saying date
is not known, followed by a date! I suggest replacing that phrase
and AACR2 style estimated date with question mark in brackets.
Now, the field which has been most problematic for remote electronic
resources. When the Joint Steering Committee (JSC) introduced the
option of 300 Collation for remote electronic resources to AACR2, they
made the mistake of mixing up carrier and content SMD examples. The
PCC standard for provider neutral electronic monograph records not
only corrects the LCRI error of describing the print original as
opposed to the electronic reproduction one has, but also specifies a
carrier SMD followed by content extent in curves. Bravo.
The only complaint some of our clients have with the PCC standard for
300 collation is that "online resource" is too general. It can apply
equally to an electronic text, a website, a computer game, a database,
or a streaming video. Most prefer having those exact SMDs.
336-338 Content, Media Type and Carrier
These new RDA/MARC21 fields have already been discussed.
Notes are perhaps more important for the materials we catalogue than
for print items, because often the item cannot be physically examined.
As mentioned already, the numbering of 5XX does not lend itself to
good display. In addition to removing DVD from 538 in favour of 300,
there are a few other practices which help standardize order of notes
without departing from MARC tag order in display, and speeds up proof
reading of records. "Special features" becomes a 501, since the
special features are issued on the DVD with the feature film.
"Originally issued as ..." becomes a 503, since it is history; since
503 is an obsolete MARC field, that is at least one suggestion you
are unlikely to adopt. But if you have any influence with MARBI, try
to get 503 reinstated.
The cautionary tale of Sanford Berman teaches us that we can not play
too fast and loose with 6XX subject heading assignment, particularly
if it adds to the cost of subject cataloguing. The fact that
materials catalogued according to his system had the highest
circulation rate of any on the continent, did not save his methods.
I do urge you to enter what the item is about in 650, and what the
item is in 655. Someday we will have true genre indexes. In one of
their very few departures from pragmatism, some music cataloguers
continue to enter Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) music
genre terms in 650, awaiting a new music genre list for 655. The
difficulty that creates is that when adopting the new terms, global
change is difficult. One has to first determine whether the term in
650 was applied to the item because it was *about* the genre, or
was the genre, doubling the programming difficulty of the task.
7XX Added Entries and Linking Fields
In the days of the card catalogue, you could tell how much cards were
consulted by how dirty they were on top. At the University of British
Columbia Library, the entire drawer of cards filed under
"Encyclopaedia Britannica Films" was pristine white. We dumped the
cards to create room in adjacent over crowded drawers and nobody
missed them. Those 710s for production companies are a waste of
effort. If anyone wants one of those two to five production companies
association with a feature film, keyword search works fine. Patrons
do not think of them as authors.
I suggest removing the RDA/MARC21 7XX |icontains (work), and |icontains (expression) from analytical entries.
If you wish a display constant, 2nd indicator "2" could serve that purpose. These
}i phrases would be meaningless to patrons, and may complicate filing.