Joint Steering Committee for Development of RDA
Historic Documents

Outcomes of the Meeting of the Joint Steering Committee Held in
Ottawa, Canada, 16-20 April 2007

Photo of JSC October 2006

L-R: Margaret Stewart; Marjorie Bloss; Hugh Taylor; John Attig; Barbara Tillett; Deirdre Kiorgaard; Alan Danskin; Tom Delsey

The Joint Steering Committee for Revision of AACR (JSC) met in Ottawa, Canada, from April 16-20, 2007. This is a brief summary of the meeting; further detail will be provided in the meeting minutes. The agenda provides a listing of the JSC documents for each topic, and the majority of the documents can be found on the Working Documents pages.

During the same week as the JSC meeting, the Committee of Principals for AACR (CoP) also met in Ottawa. The JSC and CoP held a joint meeting, which included discussions on development of the online RDA product.

The JSC discussed plans for the London Data Model meeting, and briefed the Editor and Barbara Tillett, its representative to that meeting, on the JSC's objectives and desired outcomes.

Name change for JSC

One outcome of the CoP meeting was the decision to change the name of the JSC to the “Joint Steering Committee for Development of RDA”. This change will be made across the JSC Web site by the middle of 2007.

National Library of Australia to join CoP

The CoP decided to invite the National Library of Australia to join the CoP. Their membership is to be effective immediately upon acceptance of the invitation.

RDA Scope and Structure

The JSC discussed the RDA Scope and Structure document, noting that it represents the current state of thinking about RDA, not necessarily the state of the drafts that are publicly available. This document will be updated throughout RDA's development as the JSC's thinking progresses. The JSC also discussed an analysis prepared by the Editor, which mapped RDA elements, sub-elements, and element sub-types to various models. A revised version of this analysis will be issued in three tables: (a) an RDA Element Analysis; (b) an RDA to FRBR Mapping; and (c) an RDA to DCMI Element Mapping*.

Throughout the meeting, the JSC identified elements in the draft RDA, which do not describe the resource per se, but are actually “data about data” (e.g., details of the issue or part used as the basis for the description of a serial or multipart monograph). The JSC agreed that in the interests of well-formed metadata, instructions on recording “data about data” would be moved to a separate section of RDA, tentatively a new Part C.

Encoding RDA Data

The JSC discussed a document prepared by the Editor on “Encoding RDA Data”. This document argued that RDA is a metadata schema and an application profile, as well as a content standard; that in the absence of a formal RDA metadata element set, RDA data will need to be encoded using a “proxy” syntax such as MARC 21, MODS, or XML implementations of Dublin Core; and that alternatives need to be considered for encoding (a) controlled lists of values and (b) designations of roles and relationships. The JSC discussed these issues. The JSC affirmed that although RDA will specify the use of “terms” in these cases, allowance will be made for the use of equivalent “terms” or “coded values” taken from other schema in place of the RDA terms. If a term or coded value from another schema is used, the source of the term or coded value will need to be identified.

Part A, Chapters 1-2, 4-5

The JSC discussed and made decisions on the following constituency proposals:

  • Internationalization of part I (5JSC/LC/5/Rev)

    Some of the changes suggested by LC were modified by comments from the other constituencies. (See also below under Part B.)

  • Persistent identifiers and URLs (5JSC/ACOC/1/Rev)

    The JSC agreed that the distinction between Standard Identifiers and Other Resource Identifiers in chapter 2 should be removed. The fingerprint identifier used in the identification of early printed resources will be covered by the instructions in chapter 2.

    The new instructions on Uniform Resource Locators (including resource identifiers that potentially resolve to an online resource) will be placed in chapter 5 of RDA.

  • Extent of item for notated music (5JSC/ALA/4)

    The JSC agreed with the ALA proposal to redefine the use of the term “score” so as to better reflect common and specialist usage of the term. Minor changes to the proposed ALA wording will be referred back to the Music Library Association.

  • Additions to RDA based on MARC 21 elements (5JSC/ACOC rep/2)

    • Projected date of publication (MARC 21 tag 263): will not be included in RDA.

    • Scale of graphic content (MARC 21 tag 507): will be included in RDA chapter 4. There will be a general element for Scale, with sub-types for Scale of cartographic content and for Scale of still image or three-dimensional form.

    • Date/Time and Place of an Event (MARC 21 tag 518): provisions will be made for date/time and place of events such as recording and broadcast. Tentatively, provisions will also be made for date/time and place associated with the “finding” of an object (naturally occurring or otherwise).

    • Preferred citations (MARC 21 tag 524): will be included in RDA chapter 2. This expands the scope of tag 524.

  • Numbering for serials (5JSC/LC/10)

    JSC decided to take a different approach to that proposed by LC and to include in RDA separate elements for the following:

    • Numeric and/or alphabetic designation of first issue or part;
    • Chronological designation of first issue or part;
    • Numeric and/or alphabetic designation of last issue or part;
    • Chronological designation of last issue or part.

    This will allow for better structured metadata and the generation of improved OPAC displays.

Comments on the December 2005 draft of Part I

Since the October 2006 meeting, the JSC members have been discussing outstanding constituency comments on the December 2005 draft of RDA Part I. As a result, agreement has been reached in some areas, and some original comments have been withdrawn. The JSC discussed some major issues arising from the constituency responses at the meeting, including:

  • Mode of issuance in RDA

    The JSC agreed that there needs to be an element in RDA for mode of issuance (i.e., whether a resource is issued as a single unit, issued in two or more parts simultaneously, issued in successive parts, or issued as an integrating resource). The JSC also asked the Editor to ensure that the element also covers intended termination for resources issued in successive parts (i.e., whether it is a multipart monograph or a serial).

  • Sources of information

    The JSC continued a discussion begun during a teleconference in February 2007 and provided further direction to the Editor.

  • Provenance, custodial history, and immediate source of acquisition

    The JSC agreed wording to resolve constituency concerns regarding these instructions, including that the meaning of the term “provenance” differs between user communities. This term will not be used in RDA, and revised instructions on the following will be included in the meeting minutes:

    • Creation of a collection or an archival resource
    • Recording custodial history
    • Recording immediate source of acquisition.

  • Alternative title

    The JSC decided that alternative titles will no longer be considered part of the title proper. An element sub-type for “Alternative title” will be added to the title element.

  • No publisher/place/date identified

    Constituency comments on the draft of Part I suggested a number of English language alternatives to the terms “Publisher unknown” (, “Place of publication unknown” (, “date unknown” ( used in the draft. Because of the ambiguity of a number of the alternatives and the placement of the instructions in the chapter on identification, the JSC decided to use “Publisher not identified”, “Place of publication not identified”, and “Date of publication not identified”. (Note: according to 0.1.9 agencies preparing descriptions in different language contexts will be able to use equivalent terms in the appropriate language.)

Part A, Chapters 6-7

At the October 2006 meeting, the decision was made to reverse the order of the chapters issued in the June 2006 draft of chapters 6 and 7. At this meeting, the JSC reviewed Editor's drafts of the following:

Chapter 6 - Persons, Families, and Corporate Bodies Associated with a Resource
Chapter 7 - Related Resources

Chapter 6

The chapter reviewed by the JSC contained instructions on assigning access points arranged in terms of the function played in relation to the resource:

  • creators and contributors of content (of works and expressions);
  • other persons, families, and corporate bodies associated with the content of the resource;
  • producers, publishers, etc. (of manifestations);
  • owners, custodians, etc. (of items);

The JSC confirmed that instructions on assigning access points for persons and corporate bodies associated with the following specific categories of works would remain separate:

  • legal works;
  • religious works;
  • official communications;
  • academic disputations.

As agreed at the previous meeting, the chapter did not contain instructions on determining the primary access point (see under Part B below).

There was agreement at this meeting to simplify the instructions on assigning access points for creators and contributors of content, including removing the distinction between creators and collaborators.

The JSC decided to give more prominence to the instructions on designation of role and to include in an appendix a controlled vocabulary of terms designating role. It is anticipated that further work will be necessary post the first release of RDA to refine and map this vocabulary to other controlled lists. There will also be an alternative instruction to allow the use of terms taken from other standard lists.

Chapter 7

The constituency responses to the June 2006 version of the chapter on Related Resources indicated a number of difficulties with the structure of the chapter. Following the October 2006 meeting, the JSC decided to organise the chapter according to the taxonomy of relationship types developed by Barbara Tillett[1] and the Editor's draft contained the following sections:

  • equivalence relationships;
  • derivative relationships;
  • descriptive relationships;
  • whole-part relationships;
  • accompanying relationships;
  • sequential relationships.

A section on primary relationships (between the FRBR entities work, expression, manifestation, and item) was also included in the Editor's draft of the chapter. During discussion of the draft, the JSC agreed to give more prominence to the instructions on designation of relationship and to include a list of terms designating relationship in an appendix. There will also be an alternative instruction to allow the use of terms taken from other standard lists.

Revised chapters 6-7 are scheduled to be issued for review in mid-June 2007.

Part B of RDA (Access Point Control)

Constructing Access Points for Works, etc.

At the October 2006 meeting, the JSC agreed that guidelines and instructions on choosing the primary access point that had been in the June 2006 draft of Part A, chapter 7, would be moved to Part B, Chapter 13 as guidelines and instruction on “naming” works, expressions, manifestations, and items.

At the April 2007 meeting, the JSC discussed a strawman proposal from the Editor on how section 13.1 could be written and organized. The strawman assisted the JSC in assessing simplification of the instructions on the choice of primary access point that were suggested in the constituency responses to chapter 7. The JSC decided that some of the more radical simplifications, such as omitting the specific criteria for considering a corporate body to have responsibility for a work, would not be made for the first release of RDA. However, there was agreement to remove the “rule of three”[2].

One issue, which the JSC discussed in depth, is whether RDA will contain any changes to AACR2 practice in terms of choice of main entry and form of access points. There was agreement that there will be no deviation without strong justification. The JSC intends to closely monitor the status of the following recommendation from the IME ICC draft Statement of International Cataloguing Principles on forms of uniform titles: The uniform title should be the commonly known title in the language and script of the catalogue when one exists for the resource, otherwise the uniform title should be the original title or the title most frequently found in manifestations of the work.

This differs from the rules in AACR2 chapter 25 which instruct, for works created after 1500, to use the form of title in the original language. As the IME ICC recommendation is still under consideration by participants, the JSC will discuss this issue further at the October 2007 meeting, and the CILIP representative will prepare a paper to assist with the discussion.

Treaties and International Agreements

There was agreement with CCC (as proposed in 5JSC/CCC/1) that an instruction is needed in RDA to cover the naming of a work for an agreement between two or more national governments and one or more other jurisdictions.

JSC discussed the LC proposal (5JSC/LC/5/Rev) to use the title as the primary access point for all treaties and international agreements. Some of the constituencies, ALA in particular, have concerns regarding the change this will represent to AACR2 practice. JSC asked LC to prepare a revised response to 5JSC/CCC/1 to show all of the proposed revised instructions. ALA will then decide whether to prepare an alternative proposal for constituency response and review at the October meeting.

Family Names (5JSC/LC/6)

The JSC discussed the nature of the instructions that should be included in RDA on formulating access points for families. The issue is difficult because there are already differences in practice amongst the various communities. To progress the discussion a new proposal will be prepared by either ACOC or the ACOC representative (possibly in combination with LAC), with responses to be discussed at the October 2007 meeting.

Bible Uniform Titles (5JSC/LC/8)

All constituencies supported removal of the bias inherent in the current uniform titles for the Bible, but there was disagreement as to the best way to do this. The JSC decided that some changes could be made for the first release of RDA, but that other changes would be considered later.

The constituencies will be asked to confirm that they agree with the following changes and that the expense of implementation is justified:

  • The Old and New Testaments will be referred to by their spelled out forms, not the existing AACR2 abbreviations “O.T.” and “N.T.”
  • Access points for individual books of the Bible will use the name of the book immediately following “Bible” rather than interposing the name of the appropriate Testament.
  • Access points in the form “Bible. Old Testament”, “Bible. New Testament”, and “Bible. Apocrypha” will be used to identify those parts of the Bible as aggregate works.

The JSC agreed at the meeting that an instruction will be added for sacred works identified as works of personal authorship to allow for the use of the name of the personal author as the primary element in the access point representing the work.

Internationalization of part B

The Library of Congress will prepare a proposal on how Part B can be internationalized, as part of the process begun with 5JSC/LC/5. This will include an identification of instructions in the current chapter 23 of AACR2 which refer to former jurisdictions, e.g., Yugoslavia.

The complete draft of RDA part B will be made available in December 2007.

Required elements

JSC discussed the labelling of elements, and agreed to have only two labels: “required” and “optional”. The “required if applicable” label will no longer be used. It will be made clear at 1.4 that an element labelled as “required” is required only if applicable to the resource being described.

In the revised chapters 6-7 the following will be labelled as required:

  • Creator (if more than one, only the first recorded is required);
  • Relationship between a manifestation and a work or expression embodied in the manifestation (if more than one work or expression is embodied in the manifestation, only the predominant or first-named work or expression is required).

Next meeting

The JSC will meet from the 15-19 October 2007 in Chicago, U.S.A.


[*] June 2007: There are no plans at this stage to issue the RDA to DCMI element mapping as a separate document, but there will be a DC-RDA mapping in Appendix D of RDA.

[1] “Bibliographic Relationships”, Barbara B. Tillett. Ch. 2 in: Relationships in the Organization of Knowledge, edited by Carol A. Bean and Rebecca Green. Dordrecht, Boston, London: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 2001, p. 19-35. See also the Appendix in 5JSC/RDA/Part A/Chapters 6-7/ALA response.

[2] AACR2 Chapter 21 has numerous rules which require a cataloguer to provide main or added entries based on the number of persons, bodies or works involved. Added entries are provided to up to three persons or bodies performing the same function, or with the same degree of responsibility, and for up to three closely related works. If there are more than three, entry is limited to the one named first in the item being catalogued. (Source: 4JSC/ACOC/1/ACOC follow-up - 21 December 2000)

Date posted: 18 May 2007
Hyperlinks added: 18 June 2007
Last updated: 1 July 2009
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