Joint Steering Committee for Development of RDA
Historic Documents
Photo of JSC October 2005

L-R: Marjorie Bloss; Deirdre Kiorgaard; Hugh Taylor; Sally Strutt; Barbara Tillett; Jennifer Bowen; Margaret Stewart; Nathalie Schulz; Tom Delsey

Outcomes of the Meeting of the Joint Steering Committee Held in
London, U.K., 10-14 October 2005

The Joint Steering Committee for Revision of AACR (JSC) met at the British Library in London from October 10-14, 2005. This is a summary of the meeting, which includes decisions made by the JSC that will be reflected in the content of RDA. This document also contains summaries of discussions held during the meeting and plans for further action. A complete list of topics discussed is contained in the agenda.

RDA in General

RDA Project Manager

The JSC was pleased to be joined at the meeting by the new RDA Project Manager, Marjorie Bloss. The JSC discussed with the Project Manager the ways that she will assist in outreach regarding RDA, and other activities in the lead up to publication in 2008. One of these activities is to work with the JSC and publishers to identify functionality required in the Web-accessible version of RDA.

New JSC Chair

The JSC selected a new Chair, Deirdre Kiorgaard, the Australian Committee on Cataloguing Representative. It is anticipated that Kiorgaard will stay in this role during the preparation period for RDA.

Meeting with representatives from the UK book industry

While in London, the JSC held a meeting with representatives from the UK book industry to discuss possible synergies between RDA, the International Standard Text Code (ISTC) and the proposed ISO Party Identifier. It was agreed at the meeting that a small working group would be formed to consider further issues such as the possibilities for interoperability between the metadata sets. In addition, the JSC's GMD/SMD Working Group has been asked to examine the ONIX code lists in the context of the RDA elements of type and form of content and type and form of carrier.

Numbering of chapters in RDA

Following the release of the Prospectus in July 2005, there were comments from both within and outside the constituencies that the numbering scheme was confusing. As a result, the JSC decided that the first chapter in part I will be chapter 1, and the numbering of chapters will be sequential between the parts, with no gaps.

Part I of RDA

The majority of the meeting time was spent discussing part I of RDA. There was discussion of the detailed comments from the review of the December 2004 draft of AACR3 part I, and of proposals on: levels of description, access, and authority control; sources of information; publication information; provisions for archival and manuscript resources; and, musical format information.

Comments arising from the review of AACR3 part I
  • Background: The constituency review of the December 2004 draft of AACR3 part I generated hundreds of detailed comments. Those comments that related to the style and arrangement of the draft contributed to the new approach taken in RDA. Comments that referred to examples were passed to the RDA Examples Group, and typographical errors were passed directly to the Editor. The remaining comments were transferred to a spreadsheet and in July 2005 the JSC representatives briefly indicated agreement, disagreement, and requests for discussion. In cases where there was agreement, the Editor incorporated the changes in a September 2005 preliminary draft of RDA part I.
  • At the October meeting the JSC considered those comments in the spreadsheet on which there was not agreement. This was done in the context of the September 2005 draft RDA chapters provided by the Editor.
  • Some of the major decisions made as a result of this process are below:
  • Transcription
    • The general guidelines on transcription will provide instructions on capitalization, abbreviations, etc., with reference to additional instructions that are given in appendices. However, there will also be the option to either use in-house guidelines or to take the data “as is” through scanning or copying from digital sources of information.
    • The AACR2 practice for inaccuracies is for the inaccuracy to be transcribed followed by “[sic]”, or “i.e.” and a correction in square brackets. In RDA, inaccuracies will be transcribed as found on the source and “[sic]” and “i.e.” followed by a correction will not be used. If necessary, a note will be made correcting the inaccuracy and/or an additional access point will be provided for the corrected form. There will be an exception for resources issued in successive parts.
  • Statements of responsibility
    • The limitation of the “rule of three” in statements of responsibility has been an issue under consideration by the JSC for a number of years.
    • The instruction in RDA will be for all names in a single statement of responsibility to be recorded. However, there will be the option to omit all but the first and indicate the others by the mark of omission.
  • Resource identifiers
    • In RDA persistent identifiers for online resources will be covered by the instructions on recording resource identifiers.
    • The JSC agreed to consider further how URLs might be included in RDA, and if there is agreement, to incorporate text in the December 2005 draft of part I.
Mandatory elements for description
  • Background: At the April 2005 JSC meeting there was agreement that the current levels of description in AACR2 rule 1.0D should be examined. After that meeting, the ACOC representative prepared a discussion paper on levels for description, access, and authority control, to which each of the constituencies responded. The discussion paper proposed two levels of description, a minimum level and a standard level. The LC response to the paper proposed a different approach, to specify a set of mandatory data elements.
  • At the October meeting it was decided to consider only issues relating to levels for description. The concept of levels for RDA part II (relationships) and part III (access point control) will be discussed at the April 2006 meeting.
  • The JSC agreed to include in part I of RDA a set of mandatory data elements necessary for identification. Reasons for the decision included the desire by individual organizations and programmes to set their own higher levels, based on specific local needs and requirements, and the benefit to interoperability with other resource description standards that a mandatory element set will bring.
  • The following mandatory elements for description were agreed:

Mandatory data elements (as applicable)

Identification of the resource
Title proper
Earlier and later variations in the title proper
Statement of responsibility (person, family, or corporate body with principal responsibility)
Edition statement
Numbering (for serials)
Publisher, distributor, etc. (if more than one then only the first recorded)
Date(s) of publication
Title proper of series
Numbering within series
Resource identifier

Technical description
Form of carrier

Content description
Scale of cartographic content
Coordinates of cartographic content

Optionally, an access point may be used instead of the descriptive element, where applicable.

In addition, other elements or repetitions of an element should be provided as needed to identify the resource (i.e., to differentiate the resource from one or more other resources bearing similar identifying information).

  • It will be clear in the general guidelines that certain elements (e.g., the title) may be used not only for descriptive purposes but also to support access, so as to minimize redundancy in the recording of data.
Sources of information
  • Background: After the April 2005 meeting, the JSC and the constituencies reviewed alternative proposals on the focus of the description and sources of information.
  • At the October meeting, the JSC agreed that in RDA the first step in preparing a description will be to identify the basis for identification of the resource that is appropriate to the type of description (comprehensive or analytical) and the type of resource. For a comprehensive description of a resource other than an integrating resource or one issued in successive parts, a source of information will be chosen that identifies the resource as a whole, and there will be guidelines for when there is no separate source identifying the resource as a whole. There will be a different instruction for resources issued in successive parts, i.e., to choose the source of information identifying the first or earliest issue or part. The JSC noted that the last issue or part should also be consulted for numbering and the publication date, and guidance will be added accordingly. There will also be different instruction for integrating resources, i.e., to choose the source of information identifying the latest iteration, with the beginning date taken from the first iteration.
  • A suggestion in the responses to the December 2004 draft of AACR3 part I was that the practice of using one record to cover multiple manifestations (the “single-record technique”) be included in the new edition. JSC agreed that this practice would be mentioned in the General Introduction, but confirmed that RDA would not be providing any specific guidance in the body of the rules.
  • At the meeting there was a detailed discussion on the rules for preferred sources of information. The JSC and Editor agreed to work further on this issue prior to the completion of the December 2005 draft of part I.
  • There was agreement at the meeting to change the current practice for bracketing information in the description. In AACR2 square brackets may either indicate that information is on the resource, but not in the required location, or that it is not on the resource. In RDA only information taken from outside the resource itself will be bracketed, and this will only apply to certain elements. There will be an option to omit the square brackets for a resource of a type that does not usually carry identification information (e.g., a naturally occurring object). Containers that are not integral to the resource and accompanying material will not be considered part of the resource itself.
Publication information
  • Background: In the December 2004 draft of AACR3 part I the AACR2 practice for published materials of using “S.l.” and “s.n.” to indicate unknown place and/or identity of publisher was eliminated. As a result, all materials lacking this information were treated the same as unpublished materials had been in AACR2, i.e., no information was recorded. Constituency responses to the draft indicated a desire to restore the distinction between published and unpublished material.
  • In RDA, for resources in a published form, when no place of publication is identified in the resource and none can be supplied, there will be the instruction to add the phrase "“[place unknown]”. When the publisher is not identified in the resource, “[publisher unknown]” will be added. When no date is known or probable there will be instructions to use “[date unknown]”. For resources in an unpublished form, there will be instructions to record nothing in the place of publication, publisher, and date of publication elements (place of production, producer, and date of production will be recorded separately). When it would be misleading to record an estimated date of production for an archival resource or collection, there will be the instruction to use “[undated]”.
  • At the meeting the JSC considered a proposal to simplify the instructions relating to publication, distribution, etc. information. Constituency responses to this proposal said that it was important to include sufficient information to assist cataloguers, e.g., when multiple places and publishers are listed. JSC agreed.
  • JSC decided that in terms of RDA organization, the instructions for publisher etc. should come before those on place, because place of publication is an attribute of the publisher, rather than the other way around.
Archival and manuscript resources
  • Background: After the April 2005 meeting, a proposal was submitted to introduce concepts and rules from DACS (Describing Archives: a Content Standard) into RDA.
  • Below are the main decisions made at the October meeting, listed by RDA chapter. There will also be information given in the RDA General Introduction to direct users to DACS and other international and national standards.
  • Identification of the resource
    • Title: in general, archival and manuscript resources do not have formal titles, and it is necessary for titles to be supplied. The basic instructions for recording devised titles will be adequate for archival and manuscript resources, and these titles will be covered by the option not to use square brackets.
    • Date of creation or date of record keeping activity: there will be the provision for recording inclusive dates for a resource that spans a period of time.
    • Reference codes: these will be considered as “other resource identifiers”.
  • Technical description
    • Extent: the instructions on recording extent for a collection described as a whole will allow for recording the number of separate items as well as the number of linear or cubic feet occupied.
    • In place of existing AACR2 rule 4.7B23 there will be a reference to AMREMM (Descriptive Cataloging of Ancient, Medieval, Renaissance, and Early Modern Manuscripts) for detailed instructions.
  • Content description
    • Existence and location of originals and existence and location of copies: instructions will be included in the section on “Related content”.
    • Administrative/biographical note: JSC decided that the DACS convention of including this note in the description does not fit with RDA.
    • Finding aids: these will be covered with indexes.
  • Information on terms of availability, etc.
    • Name and location of repository: an exception for archival resources will be included in the section on contact information.
  • Item-specific information
    • Immediate source of acquisition or transfer: instructions for recording this information will be included.
    • Custodial history: this will be covered by the instructions for recording provenance.
    • Restrictions on access and use: there will be instructions for making notes on both types of restrictions for all resources, not just archival resources.
    • Appraisal and accrual: there will be provision to add this information for all resources when there is a bearing on the interpretation and use of the resource.
Musical format information
  • At the meeting, the JSC considered a proposal to eliminate the musical presentation statement area (AACR2 5.3). Responses to the proposal agreed that there were deficiencies with the current rule, including that information can only be included if it is present on the chief source, and that there is no provision for statements of responsibility. The proposal suggested that information about musical format be included in the edition element, but the constituency responses did not agree with this suggestion.
  • JSC decided that in the chapter on content description, “Type of score” and “Form of notation” would both be listed as logical attributes and would not be grouped under the heading “Presentation of musical content” as identified in FRBR.
  • In RDA, information on “Type of score” will be able to be taken from any source. If statements of responsibility relating to the type of score are considered to be major they will be recorded in the element on statements of responsibility, or in a note.

Part II of RDA

In May 2005 the JSC Chair issued a call to the constituencies for proposals to simplify AACR2 chapter 21 special rules for musical works (21.18-21.22), art works (21.16-21.17), certain legal works (21.31-21.36), certain religious works (21.37-21.39), and academic works (21.27). Proposals were received from CCC, LC, ALA, and CILIP, and were commented on by all of the constituencies.

Due to time constraints at the meeting the JSC did not discuss the proposals in detail. In order to progress this work the JSC decided that in the few cases where there was agreement to simplify the rules the Editor would do so. In all other cases, the special rules will be included in the draft of part II, which will be issued in mid-2006.

Part III of RDA

At the April 2005 meeting the JSC considered issuing a call for simplification of chapter 22-25 rules to mirror what was being done for chapter 21. At the October 2005 meeting the JSC decided that the most effective way to advance work on part III was for the constituencies to respond to the draft of part III (scheduled for late 2006), rather than to issue a call for proposals.

Immediate actions arising from the meeting

During November the JSC, Editor, and Project Manager will be working on the following with the aim of making them available on the JSC Web site in December 2005:

  • the draft of RDA part I
  • a revised Prospectus
  • a list of the objectives and principles for RDA parts I and II
  • FAQs on RDA
  • a revised strategic plan
  • a revised version of the RDA presentation
  • a revised JSC policy and procedures document

Next meeting

JSC will meet from April 24-28, 2006 in Ottawa, Canada.

Date posted: 14 November 2005
Last updated: 1 July 2009
Webmaster: JSC Secretary