Joint Steering Committee for Development of RDA
Historic Documents

Outcomes of the Meeting of the Joint Steering Committee
Held in Chicago, USA, 13-22 April 2008

Photo of JSC April 2008

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

The Joint Steering Committee for Development of RDA (JSC) met in Chicago, USA, from April 13-22 2008. This is a brief summary of the major decisions made at the meeting; further detail will be provided in the meeting minutes. The agenda provides a listing of the JSC documents for each topic.

During the first week of the JSC meeting, the Committee of Principals for AACR (CoP) also met in Chicago. The JSC and CoP held a joint meeting to discuss the RDA project. Topics covered at that meeting included the project timeline up to the first release of RDA, progress made by the Co-Publishers in the development of the RDA Online product, and the future governance of RDA. There were also preliminary discussions on a pricing model for RDA Online.

Timing of Complete Draft for Constituency Review

In consultation with the CoP, the JSC agreed to change the date of issue for the complete draft for constituency review to early August 2008. There were two reasons for this decision. Firstly, the JSC wants to deal with as many comments on the December 2007 draft as possible before issuing the complete draft. Secondly, it is anticipated that by August development of RDA online will be at such a point that the constituency review can be undertaken using an early version of the product. This will assist the constituencies in seeing how the different sections and chapters will work together, and that will be the focus of the review.

Move from “Required” to “Core” Elements

The JSC decided that, with the expansion of the number of elements in RDA, it would be preferable to designate certain elements as “core” rather than designating all elements as either “required” or “optional”. It will be possible in the online product to restrict the view to the core elements.

Prior to the meeting, IFLA's ISBD Review Group and FRBR Review Group sent to the JSC recommendations that the following elements be required in RDA: Statement of responsibility (following a title proper, following an edition statement, and following an additional edition statement); Additional edition statement; Place of publication.

The JSC agreed that the Additional edition statement and Statement of responsibility following a title proper are important for identification, and that both would be added to the core set of elements. The JSC decided not to add the Place of publication because in cases of simultaneous publication or online publication it is less meaningful to users than in the past.

“Data about data”

At previous meetings, the JSC had discussed having a separate section of RDA, or an appendix to deal with “data about data”, i.e., information about the data which has been recorded for an element. At this meeting, the JSC agreed that such an appendix would not be necessary. RDA contains the following techniques for recording this type of information:

  • As a specified value for an element, e.g., “Publisher not identified”
  • As a note on the element, e.g., “Title varies”
  • Included in the element, e.g., identification of the source of resource identifiers such as Publisher's number for music
  • As a relationship designator which is added as a refinement to an element, e.g., when referencing a related work

RDA Sections 2-4, 9 - Constituency Review of December 2007 Draft

Prioritization of comments

Over 900 separate comments were received from the constituencies on the December 2007 draft of Sections 2-4, and 9. Of these, the JSC representatives identified a small number of high priority issues for discussion. Discussion of remaining issues will continue after the meeting, with the following criteria being used to prioritize the issues to be discussed:

  • Ensuring that there is a clean RDA element set
  • Ensuring correct value representation
  • Changes to the list of Core elements
RDA Organization

The ALA response to the December 2007 draft suggested refinements to the existing organization of RDA. One proposal was that there be a chapter on each of the FRBR Group 1 entities in this order: work, expression, manifestation, and item. The JSC decided to retain the existing organization based on FRBR user tasks:

Section 1 - Recording attributes of manifestation and item
Chapter 1. General guidelines
Chapter 2. Identifying manifestations and items (FRBR user task: Identify)
Chapter 3. Describing carriers (FRBR user task: Select)
Chapter 4. Providing acquisition and access information (FRBR User task: Obtain)

Section 2 - Recording attributes of work and expression
Chapter 5. General guidelines
Chapter 6. Identifying works and expressions (FRBR user task: Identify)
Chapter 7. Describing additional attributes of works and expressions (FRBR user task: Select)

A key reason for the current organization is that it mirrors the cataloguer's workflow in starting with the item in hand which represents the manifestation. This organisation also draws together, in Chapter 2, most of the core elements needed to create a brief record, with later chapters providing further elements to enrich the record.

Another proposal, supported by other constituencies, was to make an explicit division in the table of contents between the sections on recording attributes of the FRBR entities, and the sections on recording relationships among the FRBR entities. The JSC agreed that this should be done.

Originating body

Prior to the meeting, ALA and LC had both requested discussion on the concept of “originating body”. The JSC discussed two options: including the intent of AACR2 21.1B2 in RDA; or, treating corporate bodies as creators whenever that is applicable, irrespective of the type of resource. The JSC decided to favour consistency with current practice and retain the AACR2 provisions by including those provisions in the definition of creator. Chapter 19 (Persons, families, and corporate bodies associated with a work) will no longer include an element for Originating body.


In the Constituency responses to the December 2007 draft, ALA, CCC, and CILIP all asked for the reinstatement of “Selections” as used in AACR2 as an addition to uniform titles or as a collective uniform title. LC supported an addition to the preferred title to ensure that an aggregate of parts of a work is not misidentified as the complete work. The JSC found the arguments presented persuasive, and AACR2 use of “Selections” will be retained.


The JSC confirmed the inclusion of the element for Gender in the chapter on Identifying persons. The JSC decided to remove the value “other” which is not included in the equivalent lists in INTERMARC, UNIMARC, and ISO/EIC 5218.

It will be made clear in the General Introduction that for all lists of values, if the values in the list are not adequate, other values may be used.

Proposed revision of RDA chapter 6, Additional instructions for musical works and expressions

The JSC decided that due to the specialist nature of the proposal (5JSC/LC/12), it would be preferable for experts from some of the constituencies to discuss the responses, rather than the JSC making decisions at the meeting. Plans are underway for a small number of music specialists from ALA, CCC, and LC to meet and prepare a joint proposal for the JSC's consideration. If accepted by the JSC, the changes will be included in the complete draft due August 2008.

Designation of Roles in RDA

The JSC reviewed the constituency responses to the proposed appendix on Designation of roles in 5JSC/LC/11. In particular, the JSC discussed the comments made by ALA and CCC regarding roles related to moving image resources. The JSC agreed to add the following roles at the work level: Film director; Cinematographer; Producer; Production Company; Screenwriter (as a subcategory of Author). A number of roles were also added at the expression level for moving image resources, e.g., Costume designer and Film editor.

Additions to the RDA element set

The following additions were made to the RDA element set:

  • Manufacture statement to chapter 2 (Identifying manifestations and items) Addition of this element will result in better alignment with ISBD and MARC 21.
  • Interpretive content to chapter 7 (Describing additional attributes of works and expressions). This element will include captioning and audio narration that is added to video content.
  • Numbering of issue or part to chapter 24 (General guidelines on recording relationships between works, expressions, manifestations, and items). This element is an attribute of a relationship, e.g., between an individual volume in a series and the entire series.

Constituency Review of March 2007 Draft of Chapter 3 (Describing carriers)

Since the October 2007 meeting, the JSC has discussed a large number of the constituency comments on the March 2007 version of chapter 3 using a wiki. At the April 2008 meeting, discussion focused on prioritized comments, in particular those that would result in a change to the RDA element set.

The following elements were moved to chapter 7 (Describing additional attributes of works and expressions):

  • Colour (now Colour content). However, the instructions on noting item-specific carrier characteristics in Chapter 3 will continue to include examples of items which have been hand coloured.
  • Presence of sound (now Sound content).

Appendix B - Abbreviations

The JSC discussed recommendations from the Appendices Working Group (5JSC/Chair/9/Chair follow-up/8/Rev). The JSC agreed with the Group that there would be no abbreviation by the cataloguer in the transcribed elements of edition statement, places of production/publication/distribution, and names of producers/publishers/distributors. The JSC also decided that there would be no abbreviation in transcription of the series statement, or for numbering within series and subseries. Transcription without the addition or substitution of abbreviations supports the principle of representation. However, the JSC considered that consistency is of value in series access points, and as a result, the new element in chapter 24 for Numbering of issue or part will refer to Appendix B. When making this decision the JSC took into account the recent MARBI discussion paper (2008-DP02) that proposed to make the 440 field obsolete in favour of 490 and 8XX fields.

Next meeting

The JSC will meet in March 2009 in Chicago. At this meeting, the JSC will finalize the text for the first release of RDA.

Nathalie Schulz
Secretary, JSC

8 May 2008
Revised: 29 August 2008 (date of next JSC meeting)
Last updated: 1 July 2009
Webmaster: JSC Secretary