Joint Steering Committee for Development of RDA
Historic Documents

Outcomes of the Meeting of the Joint Steering Committee Held in Chicago, U.S.A, 24-28 April 2005

The Joint Steering Committee for Revision of AACR (JSC) met in Chicago, U.S.A. from April 24-28, 2005. The Committee of Principals for AACR (CoP) also met that week in Chicago, and two joint meetings were held to discuss work on the new edition of AACR, and the best ways to support the project.

This is a summary of the JSC meeting; a complete list of topics discussed is contained in the agenda.

Feedback from the constituency review

  • At the meeting, the JSC reviewed the responses to the draft of part I of the new edition in the context of the goals in the strategic plan, and the wider environment:

    • The feedback from the responses indicated that the goals in the strategic plan for AACR are still seen as valid. The rules should be based on principles; they should cover all types of materials; they should be applicable to, and operate in an online Web-based environment; they should be compatible with other standards for resource description and retrieval; and, they should be easy to use and interpret. There is an expectation that the rules will be used world-wide, and will be used as a resource beyond the library community to facilitate metadata interoperability and reduce overall costs.
    • The feedback in the responses, however, indicated dissatisfaction with the arrangement of the draft of part I, particularly with respect to the separation between general rules and supplementary rules, and the scope of the supplementary chapters for specific types of content and specific types of media.
    • There was also a call by some constituencies for the code to be modelled on metadata standards used by other communities.
    • There was feedback that the language needs to be clearer and more direct, and that library jargon should be avoided.

Change in direction for new edition of AACR

  • The JSC and CoP affirmed that a new edition is still the best way to achieve the goals in the strategic plan, but agreed that a new approach was required.
  • The current environment is very different from that in which AACR2 was developed: digital resources pose new challenges, and the records produced by the rules are used in a digital environment.
  • Although the content of the new edition will be built on AACR2, and records resulting from use of the new edition will be compatible with those created in the past, what is being developed is in effect a new standard for resource description and access, designed for the digital world.
  • With the change in direction there will be an emphasis on the new edition as an online product, although a print edition will also be published.
  • The new approach will have the following features:

    • the structure will be aligned more directly with the FRBR (Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records) and FRAR (Functional Requirements for Authority Records) models;
    • instructions for recording data will be presented independently of guidelines for data presentation;
    • the layout and formatting of instructions will be more “user-friendly”.
  • The rules will be divided into three parts: the first will cover resource description; the second will cover the provision of access points for persons, families, and corporate bodies, and citations for related works, expressions, manifestations, and items; and the third will cover the formulation of name and title access points and other data used for authority control.
  • Guidelines on levels of description, access, and authority control will be linked to functionality.
  • Guidelines for the presentation of both descriptive data (e.g. ISBD (International Standard Bibliographic Description)) and authority data (e.g. GARR (Guidelines for Authority Records and References)) will be covered in appendices.
  • To signify the change in direction, the JSC has decided on a new working title: “Resource Description and Access” (RDA).

Consultation with stakeholders

  • In deciding to follow the new approach, JSC and CoP agreed that there needs to be increased consultation with stakeholders, in parallel with the revision process. Major stakeholders for the new edition include not only the JSC constituencies who have traditionally had a role in defining the content of AACR, but also library administrators, system developers, metadata communities, MARC format developers, and international programs such as the Program for Cooperative Cataloging, the ISSN International Centre, and IFLA. Plans are underway within the JSC and the CoP to consult more directly with these stakeholders as work on the new edition moves forward.
  • A prospectus outlining the new approach will be prepared to facilitate consultation with stakeholders and to provide context for constituency review of the individual parts of RDA as they become available. The prospectus will be accompanied by tables of contents for the General Introduction and all three parts as well as sample presentations of guidelines and instructions.

Change in timeline - Publication in 2008

  • The change in direction will result in an extension to the overall timeline, including allowing time for a new draft of part I to be made available for constituency review.
  • The following timeline presents a “best-case” scenario and is subject to change:

    • May 2005-July 2005: Development of prospectus
    • Oct. 2005-April. 2006: Completion of draft of part I, and constituency review
    • May 2006-Sept. 2006: Completion of draft of part II, and constituency review
    • Oct. 2006-Apr. 2007: Completion of draft of part III, and constituency review
    • May 2007-Sept. 2007: Completion of General Introduction, Appendices, and Glossary
    • 2008: Publication

Review of responses to the draft of part I

At the meeting, the JSC discussed the constituency responses to the draft of part I at a general level, in the context of the change in direction.

  • Organization of part I

    • Dissatisfaction with the organization of the draft of part I was one of the factors that led to the change in approach for the new edition.
    • Part I of RDA will be more directly aligned with the FRBR model and will focus on the attributes of the work, expression, manifestation, and item that are used to identify the resource and to describe the technical characteristics and content of the resource.
    • General instructions as well as supplementary and special instructions applying to specific types of content, media, or mode of issuance will be grouped together under the relevant element of the description.
  • Focus for the description / Sources of information

    • The draft of part I included instructions on determining the focus of the description and related this to the choice of the chief source of information. The constituency responses to the draft indicated that the instructions on focus for the description and the relationship of those instructions to instructions on sources of information need to be made clearer.
    • There were also a number of reservations expressed about the generalization of instructions for choosing the chief source of information.
    • The Library of Congress has submitted a proposal for revising the draft rules which covers what is being described, sources of information, and related rules.
    • The Editor has also prepared a follow-up document, reworking those sections of the draft rules to respond both to the proposal made by LC and to other issues raised in the constituency responses.
    • Constituencies will be asked to comment quickly on the LC proposal and the Editor?s follow-up document so that the chosen approach can be included in the prospectus.
  • Generalization

    • Constituency responses to the draft of part I were, on the whole, positive towards the work done to generalize the rules and reduce redundancy, but there were reservations expressed.
    • The responses also identified additional rules that might be generalized.
  • General material designations

    • The draft of part I included proposed revisions to the general material designation (GMD) to distinguish between the type and form of content contained in the resource and the medium in which it was conveyed. The constituency responses agreed that change was needed to the GMD, but expressed a number of concerns about what had been proposed in the draft.
    • In the new approach to part I, the separation of instructions for recording information from guidelines for presentation will allow more flexibility in recording and displaying information on the type and form of content and the type and form of carrier.
    • At the meeting, the JSC decided to form a working group to propose terms to be used in place of the current GMDs and SMDs.
  • Resources in an unpublished form

    • At the meeting the Library of Congress representative indicated that LC would be presenting a rule revision proposal for including archival rules at a basic level in the code.
  • Resources issued in successive parts / Integrating resources

    • Some responses to the draft of part I suggested that the rules for resources issued in successive parts and integrating resources not be in separate chapters from the general rules.
    • In the new arrangement, rules for these materials will be placed directly following the relevant general rule with the scope clearly indicated.
    • One feature of the draft of part I was the expansion of the numbering area to all multipart resources. In general, constituency responses were not in favour of this, and the numbering area will revert to being applicable only to serials.
  • Technical description (ISBD area 5)

    • In the draft of part I, rules pertaining to technical description were included in the general rules, with supplementary rules applicable to specific types of media in a separate section. This arrangement met with a great deal of criticism in the constituency review.
    • In the new arrangement, the rules for each element in the technical description will present both general instructions and instructions applicable to specific formats together, with the scope of each instruction clearly indicated.
    • In the new arrangement the instructions for recording both type and form of carrier and type and form of content will be presented independently of instructions on extent, and will allow greater flexibility in the way extent is recorded.
  • Simplification

    • Prior to the meeting, the Library of Congress submitted a proposal for simplification of the rules in ISBD area 4, and this will be commented on by the constituencies.

The JSC also decided on a method to deal with the large number of detailed comments from constituencies. This method will focus on identifying comments on which there is consensus as soon as possible, so that they can be incorporated by the Editor in the draft of part I. For constituency comments on which there is not consensus, there will be discussion at the October 2005 meeting.

Discussion of draft of part II

  • Prior to the April 2005 meeting, the Editor created a draft of part II for discussion by the JSC. Because of the change in direction, this was discussed only at a general level.
  • Part II of RDA will focus on the use of access points to reflect relationships between the four primary entities in the FRBR model (works, expressions, manifestations, and items) and the persons, families, and corporate bodies associated with those entities. It will also cover the use of citations to reflect the relationships between works, expressions, manifestations, and items.
  • As part of the work on part II, the JSC is exploring the feasibility of simplifying rules for choosing the primary access points for purposes of citing a work.
  • Chapter 21 of AACR2 currently contains detailed special rules for musical works, art works, certain legal works, certain religious works, and certain academic works. In time for discussion at the October 2005 JSC meeting, the JSC constituencies will be asked to assess whether any of these rules could be either eliminated or simplified, and to make proposals for doing so.

Discussion of approach to part III

  • At the meeting, JSC discussed how part III will build on the work done previously by the Library of Congress to introduce authority control principles into AACR.
  • Part III of RDA will focus on the formulation of access points reflecting both authorized and variant forms of names for persons, families, and corporate bodies, and titles for works. Part III will also cover the formulation of data elements used in citations for works, expressions, manifestations, and items, and other data elements used in authority control.
  • In late 2005 the JSC constituencies will be asked to assess whether any of the special rules currently in chapters 22-25 of AACR2 could be either eliminated or simplified, and to make proposals for doing so.

Discussion of the General Introduction

  • The General Introduction will cover the purpose and scope of the code, the underlying objectives and principles, and related standards and guidelines.
  • There was discussion at the meeting about the need for more detail on the conceptual background to the rules, and the best way to convey this in readable style.

Discussion of appendices

  • At the meeting, the JSC discussed constituency responses to a CILIP discussion paper on the principles behind usage of abbreviations in AACR.
  • JSC decided that revision of the appendices on abbreviations, capitalization, and numbering, will focus on aligning these appendices with the structure of RDA, and that the work would be scheduled at the October 2005 meeting.

Next meeting

JSC will meet October 10-13, 2005 in London, England.

Date posted: 12 May 2005; Minor revisions: 19 May 2005
Last updated: 1 July 2009
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