Joint Steering Committee for Development of RDA
Historic Documents

Outcomes of the Meeting of the Joint Steering Committee
Held in Chicago, USA, 15-20 October 2007

Photo of JSC October 2007 - 46275 Bytes

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

The Joint Steering Committee for Development of RDA (JSC) met in Chicago, USA, from October 15-20, 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.

New Organization for RDA

At the meeting, the JSC agreed on a new organization for RDA. This organization was suggested by the Editor based on the following concerns expressed by the constituencies:

  • That the organization of RDA was too closely based on current database structures of linked bibliographic and authority records, when the ultimate aim is a relational / object-oriented database structure [ACOC]. (See 5JSC/Editor/2 for details of the database implementation scenarios.)
  • That organization of RDA is insufficiently aligned with Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records (FRBR) and Functional Requirements for Authority Data (FRAD) [ALA].
  • That the inclusion of relationships between works and expressions in Part A, Chapter 7, is inappropriate [LC].

The new organization relates data elements more closely to both FRBR entities and user tasks. The existing Part A and Part B will be replaced by ten sections which fall into two groups, focusing on recording the attributes of each of the FRBR entities and on recording relationships between these entities, respectively:

Recording attributes
Section 1 ? Recording attributes of manifestation and item
Section 2 ? Recording attributes of work and expression
Section 3 ? Recording attributes of person, family, and corporate body
Section 4 ? Recording attributes of concept, object, event, and place

Recording relationships
Section 5 ? Recording primary relationships between work, expression, manifestation, and item
Section 6 ? Recording relationships to persons, families, and corporate bodies associated with a resource
Section 7 ? Recording relationships to concepts, objects, events, and places associated with a work
Section 8 ? Recording relationships between works, expressions, manifestations and items
Section 9 ? Recording relationships between persons, families, and corporate bodies
Section 10 ? Recording relationships between concepts, objects, events, and places

Each section will contain a chapter of general guidelines and chapters for the entities. Each chapter will be associated with one of the FRBR user tasks and one or more FRBR entities; for example, chapter 2 in section 1 will cover elements primarily used to identify a manifestation or item and chapter 19 in section 6 will cover elements primarily used to find a work. The chapters on recording attributes and relationships for the FRBR group 3 entities (concept, object, event, and place) will be placeholders, provided to allow a complete mapping to FRBR and FRAD and as a template for possible future development of RDA to cover these entities. Instructions on recording the attributes and relationships for places have been included, but will not initially go beyond the scope of AACR2 chapter 23.

In addition to these sections, there will be a General Introduction, Glossary, and various appendices, including those on capitalization, abbreviations, initial articles, and data presentation included in the current RDA Prospectus.

Advantages of the new arrangement are:

  • The closer alignment with the FRBR and FRAD models and direct reference to the FRBR entities and user tasks will make it easier for cataloguers to learn and understand RDA concepts and for system designers to create powerful applications to support resource discovery.
  • The new organization is not tied to any specific record structure. As a result it will be more easily understood by communities using a range of database structures.
  • The new organization will be more adaptable and extensible; it will provide a better framework for RDA to move into a future increasingly defined by object-oriented models and relational structures.

The overall scope of RDA is unaffected by the new organization, and no additional content will need to be developed. Content developed for RDA to date will be slotted into the new organization. The JSC does not anticipate that the change in organization will require any adjustment to the existing timelines (including those for constituency review) leading up to the first release of RDA in 2009.

The remaining RDA content (the former ?Part B? chapters) will be issued in the new organization for constituency review, along with revised versions of the RDA Prospectus and RDA Scope and Structure documents, which will further explain the details of the new organization.

Former Part B (Access Point Control)

Much of the meeting was spent discussing draft chapters of the former part B prepared by the Editor. These chapters will be made available for review in December 2007, in the context of the new organization.

The starting point for these chapters is AACR2 chapters 22-26. When assessing any changes to AACR2 instructions, the JSC considered the potential impact on existing authority files. The cover letter for the chapters that go out for review will contain details of changes in the formulation of access points, and also potential changes that have been deferred for consideration after the initial release of RDA.

In addition to providing direction to the Editor on the draft chapters, the JSC discussed the following:

Bible uniform titles (AACR2 25.18A)

Following confirmation by the constituencies that they believe the impact of implementation to be justified, the JSC agreed to the following (originally proposed in 5JSC/LC/8):

  • 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 groupings of the Bible as aggregate works.

Initial articles

The JSC discussed whether the instructions should be revised to allow the retention of initial articles in the names of corporate bodies, phrases used as the names of persons, and in the titles of works, etc., with an option to omit them. Although highly supportive of making this change, the JSC decided that this issue would need to be addressed after the initial release of RDA. The main factors in this decision were that the majority of libraries using RDA would not be able to apply a revised instruction, but would need to apply the option for the foreseeable future, and because of the expected impact on existing files.

Access points for treaties and international agreements (AACR2 21.35A)

In order to make the instructions in RDA more international, the Library of Congress originally suggested in 5JSC/LC/5/Rev that the instructions for treaties, etc. between two or three governments be handled in the same way as treaties between four or more governments, i.e., by primary access point under title. In 5JSC/CCC/1/LC response/LC follow-up/ALA follow-up, ALA recommended that the instructions for naming works comprising treaties be consistent with the basic instructions for naming works in RDA.

In the case of collaborations, the preferred access point representing the work will be a combination of the preferred access point for the person, family, or corporate body commonly named first when citing the work, and the preferred title for the work. The number of persons, families or corporate bodies involved is not a consideration. The JSC agreed that treaties will be considered collaborations, and that accordingly the first part of the access point representing the work (the AACR2 ?main entry?) will be the corporate body named first on resources embodying the treaty, or in reference sources, or if these are inconsistent, the one named first on the first received.


A number of changes were made to the instructions in the part B chapters to make them more suitable for adoption worldwide, including removing references to the English language.

IME ICC 5.2.4

The document 5JSC/CILIP rep/1 outlined concerns with section 5.2.4 (Forms of Uniform titles) in the IME ICC draft Statement of International Cataloguing Principles. The JSC agreed to submit these concerns (and those included in responses from the constituencies) to the other participants in the process.

Former Part A

The JSC discussed those issues in the responses to the June 2007 version of chapters 6 and 7 that impact the instructions on recording relationships between works and expressions. Further discussion on these chapters and the revised chapter 3 will be conducted by teleconference and at the April 2008 meeting.

The JSC also made some decisions on outstanding issues in chapters 1 and 2, including the following:

Changes to continuing resources requiring a new description

In addition to the existing changes requiring a new description for serials (a major change in the title proper; or, when a change in responsibility requires a change to the preferred access point representing the serial as a work), the JSC agreed that the following changes will require a new description:

  • For all resources: change in mode of issuance; change in media type
  • For integrating resources: issuing of a new base set.

Introductory words in titles

In 5JSC/CILIP/5, CILIP suggested that the instruction (based on AACR2 1.1B1) which says not to transcribe words that serve as an introduction and are not intended to be part of the title be removed from RDA. The JSC considered the arguments in the ALA response that the instruction be retained, as introductory words should not in any case be transcribed. The JSC decided that although the definition of title proper, i.e. “The title proper is the chief name of a resource (i.e., the title normally used when citing the resource)” should make it clear that these words are not part of the title proper, additional guidance is helpful to the cataloguer and so will be retained.


Throughout the meeting the JSC discussed a number of issues relating to RDA and MARC 21 which will be included in a discussion paper for MARBI be issued at the beginning of December.

Next meeting

The JSC will meet in April 2008 in Chicago, USA (dates to be announced in due course).

Nathalie Schulz
Secretary, JSC

12 November 2007

See also the Executive Summary.
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