ALCTS - Association of Library Collections & Technical Services

Task Force Activities, June 1998– July 1999


Draft Agenda for June 26, 1998 Meeting
Brief Report on Brainstorming Session, June 26, 1998
Full Report on Brainstorming Session, June 26, 1998
Draft Agenda for January 29, 1999 Meeting
Tentative Agenda, 6/25/99


Friday, June 26, 1998 — 2-4 p.m., June 26

Chair: Martha M. Yee
Recorder: Shirley Lincicum

  1. Is it necessary to set formal ground rules for an informal brainstorming session such as this? (5 min. – 2 to 2:05 p.m.)

  2. The four possible approaches to modifying the cardinal principle in 0.24 (10 min. – 2:05 to 2:15 p.m.)


    • Do these exhaust all possible approaches?
    • Do any of them need to be broken out into more than one approach?

  3. The four “facets” method of distribution, content, carrier, method of management (10 min. – 2:15 to 2:25 p.m.)


    • Are these accurate?
    • Are there any more “facets” we have failed to identify?
    • Should any of these be collapsed together?
    • Are these names descriptive? confusing?

  4. The nine types of fundamental content (10 min. – 2:25 to 2:35 p.m.)


    • Is this an exhaustive list?
    • Is anything left out?
    • Should anything be broken out of existing categories? Why?
    • Is “mixed” adequate to cover kits, interactive multimedia, archival collections that include multiple media, etc.?
    • Does/should “mixed” cover exhibition catalogs (pictures and text), web sites with text and digitized images (e.g. the Spanish Civil War posters)?
    • Will there be new forms of content in the digital format that cannot be encompassed by these categories?
    • [JCA: To what extent should we be influenced by the USMARC categories identifying similar types of bibliographic material?]
    • [JCA: The discussion of “fundamental content” of bibliographic records gets us not only into the parallel categorization in the USMARC Leader and 008 field, but also into the list of General Material Designations in 1.1C of AACR2. If our discussions lead us to a recommendation on how to organize the fundamental categories of bibliographic material, we should probably look at the implications of that recommendation for the GMD. I have included an email exchange on this subject among the Discussion Documents.]

  5. Should we tackle the question of what is an edition? (30 min. – 2:35 to 3:05 p.m.; roughly 7 min. per issue listed below)

    Related issues:

    • What do we mean by edition? See John’s discussion: does it mean 1) a change in the text (classically a change in the setting of the type) 2) change in the marks of description (change in title, change in statement of responsibility, change in edition statement, change in publisher, change in date, etc.) or 3) both? Are some changes in marks of description (e.g. change in title) more important than others (e.g. change in date of distribution)?

    • What do we mean by content? In this context, does it perhaps mean “edition”? Does printed music contain the same content as the same music performed on sound recording? on videorecording (when mere recording) (i.e. are these the same edition of the same work, or a different edition of the same work)? Does printed text contain the same content as when the identical text is read on sound recording? on videorecording (when mere recording)?

    • What do we mean by carrier? When text is reproduced on microform, is microform the carrier? When printed music is performed on an audiocassette, is the audiocassette the carrier? When the audiocassette is released as a CD, is the CD the carrier for the audiocassette, or for the performance, or for the edition of the work contained in the printed music performed, or all of the above?

    • Given the fact that the leader 06 byte in the USMARC format mixes content-based and carrier-based categories, and there is no way the millions of existing records could be changed to clean this up, should we allow AACR2 to be driven by USMARC, or should we “allow the rules to disconnect from the coding (force catalogers to ask a different set of questions when using the rules in Part I of AACR2 and when assigning the USMARC codes),” as John Attig put it in a recent Email to me? [JCA: I hope to include a brief statement of this point to be included among the discussion documents. Stay tuned.]

  6. Should we attempt a solution that requires tiered records? (30 min. – 3:05 to 3:35 p.m.; roughly 5 min. per related issue listed below)

    Related issues:

    • Should AACR2 provide rules for identifying and describing holdings?

    • Should AACR2 provide rules for identifying and describing holdings of the same edition of the same work in different physical formats (“near-equivalents”)?

    • Should AACR2 provide rules for identifying and describing holdings of the same edition of the same work distributed by different distributors (“near-equivalents”)?

    • Could the rules for multilevel records already in AACR2 (Chapter 13) be modified to allow hanging near-equivalents from the same bibliographic record?

    • Should a tiered record approach be limited to unpublished reproductions?

    • Should a tiered record approach be used for all near-equivalents?

    [JCA: Comment on tiered records and USMARC: This technique got a bad name during the multiple versions debacle. First, AACR2 clearly does recognized tiered descriptions (Chapter 13). Second, USMARC clearly supports tiered records if (a) the tiers are communicated in separate records, and (b) one of the tiers is communicated in a holdings record. The case is less clear if both tiers are communicated in bibliographic records. However, with coordination of the implementation with the USMARC people, I’m confident it is possible. It is even possible now to communicate both tiers in the same bibliographic record using the subfield $8 technique for marking the fields that belong to each tier. I’m not aware of anybody who has implemented this solution yet, but the format (if not most systems) does support it. All of which is the long way of saying that I don’t see any insurmountable barriers to recommending a tiered approach. But if we do, we need to involve the USMARC people in this discussion.]

  7. What does our obligation to conform to the ISBD’s imply for the work of this Task Force? (10 min. – 3:35 to 3:45 p.m.)

  8. Are the charts in the appendix useful? accurate? (10 min. – 3:45 to 3:55 p.m.)


I would propose that our goal for this initial meeting should be to get all of the issues, problems and potential solutions out on the table in as uncritical a manner as possible. (That is why I have referred to this meeting as a brainstorming exercise, albeit an informal one.) Once we have done this, we should be able to take a more critical approach in Email discussions leading up to our next meeting at Midwinter, and at the Midwinter meeting itself. In the more critical approach, I would expect that we would prioritize the issues, problems and potential solutions, and perhaps drop some of the more insoluble problems and impractical solutions. We could also start to identify areas where we need to do various kinds of research and investigation, and assign this work to members of the Task Force.

Brief Report on Brainstorming Session

June 26, 1998 — Washington, DC

It was agreed that the following four possible approaches were the only four possibilities we could think of currently:
  1. Modifying the language of 0.24 only.
  2. Reversing the order of chapters to place chapters 1-13 after chapters 21-26.
  3. Reorganizing chapters 1-13 so that they are based on ISBD areas rather than a mixture of content and carrier categories.
  4. Reorganizing chapters 1-13 so that they are based strictly on content.

Brainstorming on the facets, the lack of analysis of which has led to the cross-classification apparent in the current division of AACR2 into chapters 1-13, led to a change in the listing of the possible facets involved, as follows:

  1. Published vs. unpublished
  2. Whether or not there is a frequency of publication involved; categories:
      Serial (AKA successive indeterminate, to use CONSER terms)
      Dynamic (AKA integrating, to use CONSER terms)
  3. Content; interestingly, though the group could not agree on what constitutes content, and what the useful content categories would be
  4. Carrier
  5. Type of management; categories:

It was agreed that 0.24 currently has at least two functions, that perhaps should be separated out:

  1. It tells you which chapter(s) to use in formulating a description for an item with multiple characteristics (e.g. a digitized manuscript map).
  2. It is the only place in which AACR2 attempts to address the question of the object of a bibliographic record, and the question of when to make a new record, the implication of 0.24 being that if a manifestation is physically different from a manifestation of the same expression of the same work already represented by a record, you make a new record for the physically different manifestation.

We agreed on the following goals for our work on 0.24:

  1. Clarity for catalogers in deciding how to formulate a description for an item with multiple characteristics.
  2. Clarity for catalogers in determining when two similar items should be described on two different bibliographic records.
  3. Clarity for both the public and for catalogers about what the object of a bibliographic record is, or about what a record represents (i.e., whether it represents a particular expression or a particular manifestation).
  4. The outcome of our work must agree with the principles of AACR2 as determined by the Joint Steering Committee.
  5. The outcome of our work must be a code that is expansible to cover new materials.
  6. Clear decision-making for catalogers cataloging an item with multiple characteristics when a particular rule for one aspect of the item conflicts with the same rule for another aspect of the item.
  7. Practices that clearly express to the public the situation in which two items represent the same expression of the same work and differ only in carrier; the clarity of expression should be tested by means of user studies.
  8. Rules that produce exchangeable records.

It should be noted that there was a lot of support for avoiding assigning primacy to one manifestation among several that all represent the same expression of the same work, i.e., for moving away from the idea of “the original.”

And finally, the need to maintain conformity between AACR2 and the ISBDs was noted, although it was not clear what the implications of this were for our work on 0.24. It was noted that the division into AACR2’s chapters 1-13 does not correspond perfectly now to the division into the various ISBDs that have been published (ISBD(NBM) is represented by several chapters in AACR2, for example), and that it should be possible to reorganize the chapters and still produce ISBD-based descriptions with the same elements of description in the same order as at present.

Full Report on Brainstorming Session

June 26, 1998 — Washington, DC

Among those present:
Martha Yee, Chair
Michael Fox
Ed Glazier
Laurel Jizba
Sherry Kelley
Elizabeth Mangan
Adam Schiff
Paul Weiss
Mary Woodley

Shirley Lincicum, recorder; rev. by Martha Yee

Note that the following records comments of individuals who attended the brainstorming session which may not necessarily represent the consensus of the group.


  1. Is it necessary to set format ground rules for an informal brainstorming session such as this?

    Yee welcomed Task Force members and guests. Everyone introduced themselves. Yee explained that she envisioned this meeting as a brainstorming session to get ideas and issues out on the table. She urged members to speak freely and not be overly critical. Everyone agreed that more formal rules were not necessary.

  2. The four possible approaches to modifying Rule 0.24

    Yee opened a discussion of the four approaches to modifying rule 0.24 which she had distributed to members prior to the meeting. She asked if others could think of additional approaches to consider.

    Everyone seemed satisfied with Yee’s list of approaches, and they expressed the most enthusiasm for approach three, which proposes to reorganize chapters 1-13 by area of description. Within the rules for each area, special rules would be provided to cover special conditions related to four “facets”: method of distribution, content, carrier, and method of arrangement.

    Kelley asked how the Task Force should consider the results of Tom Delsey’s modeling exercise in conjunction with its deliberations on these approaches. All agreed that it will be important to consider Delsey’s findings, once they have been made public.

    Some urged the group to keep in mind works produced originally in alternate formats when thinking about non-book materials. There was concern that many examples were based on reproductions in non-book formats, rather than originally published works.

  3. The four “facets”: Method of distribution, Content, Carrier, Method of management

    Yee invited comments on the “facets” she had listed. She explained that she is seeking to establish categories which will allow for a single standard for description in order to avoid having to consult multiple chapters/rules to catalog something found to have “mixed” characteristics.

    Method of distribution. Problematic for a number of reasons. Some felt that the characteristics listed as examples by Yee were not mutually exclusive. The scope of the category can vary given differing definitions for what constitutes “published” or “manuscript” material. Some felt that published vs. manuscript remains an important facet, however, so it needs to be reflected somehow. “Frequency of publication” was suggested as a possible category to cover one-time vs. serial vs. dynamically updated works.

    Fundamental content. Are there actually multiple levels of content? Examples include: books on tape, printouts of birdsongs, printed music vs. performed music. Work is needed to explore and define the different levels of content; physical content, intellectual content, etc., and to define how the nature of the content affects the nature of the work. Glazier suggested basing categories on the senses: sight, sound, touch, smell, taste.

    Type of carrier. Members seemed to feel comfortable with this facet as defined by Yee.

    Method of management. Some asked whether seriality belonged here rather than under method of distribution.

  4. The nine types of fundamental content

    The current rules vary as to what facets govern how objects are cataloged and that it would be desirable to use a more consistent approach. It would be desirable to get away from the practice of choosing (often arbitrarily) “predominant” characteristics in order to describe works which display multiple characteristics, either initially or over time as new expressions or manifestations of the work are produced.

  5. Should we tackle the question of what is an edition?

    What is the appropriate relationship between USMARC and the descriptive rules? There seemed to be a consensus that USMARC should follow descriptive rules, descriptive rules should not follow USMARC. The descriptive rules do need to change because too many find them to be too impractical to use now; if people find the descriptive rules too impractical, they will simply stop following them.

    What do we mean when we say content vs. carrier? Are we really talking about expression vs. manifestation? Is a new edition (i.e. expression) produced simply by converting exactly the same intellectual content into another format? Should 0.24 allow, and even encourage, cataloging multiple manifestations of a work using a single record, emphasizing that it is the particular expression of the work which we seek to describe?

    One person asked if this wouldn’t be problematic since catalogers actually catalog at all four levels (work, expression, manifestation, and item) simultaneously. Three levels, if you consider the item level to be captured solely in the holdings record. It could be difficult to catalog an expression alone, particularly if there were no “work” level already established from which to “hang” the expression record. Everyone agreed that there is currently a lot of inconsistency in the way manifestations are handled.

    One person observed that the question of when to make a new record hasn’t ever been satisfactorily addressed by the code. Individual institutions have set their own policies. Should 0.24 attempt to legislate on the issue of when to make a new record in order to standardize practice? Is it desirable to attempt to discourage people from creating new records simply for new manifestations; mandate that new records be created for new expressions?

    Should we simply attempt to define which characteristics should be used to describe an item at a given level, leaving it up to the cataloger to determine how many records are required in a given situation? This would provide more flexibility than legislating that one expression equals one record. Do we want to discourage people from cataloging manifestations as if they were new expressions?

    Isn’t the primary purpose of 0.24 to give instructions on how to handle entities which display multiple, cross-rule characteristics, not to define when to consider an entity a new edition? How individuals interpret the rule affects whether they view a difference in carrier as grounds for cataloging an entity as a new edition, or on multiple vs. single records.

    “Edition” isn’t used consistently enough in the publishing world to rely upon absolutely in cataloging. Perhaps “edition” should simply be a transcribed field. Catalogers should be instructed to use the concepts of expression and manifestation in determining when new records are required. Catalogers need to be able to work based on their knowledge and judgement, beyond the information they glean from an individual item. Catalogers must be able to exercise judgement about whether to treat something as a new expression or as a new manifestation – no matter what the piece claims it is. The rules should provide clear and consistent guidance to assist the cataloger in making these decisions. They don’t do this now. Currently, AACR2r is very inconsistent in its definition and treatment of editions, and by extension, expressions and manifestations.

    OCLC and others have established guidelines as to when a new record is needed. These guidelines provide some indication of what the most significant elements of description are, at least in certain environments.

    Should 0.24 state explicitly the objectives of a bibliographic record?

    What do we mean by content? The means used to express information. The type of intellectual content, type of expression. Intellectual form. Type/category of notation.

    What are we trying to achieve in rule 0.24? What are the outcomes that we want: for the task force? from the rule?

    Provide a standardized way of dealing with entities which have multiple characteristics, intellectual or physical. Provide for consistency in description and analysis, regardless of content or carrier.

    Define when to use one record and when to use more than one record, or allow for both.

    Define what we are representing in a bib. record; purpose vs. representation.

    State basic principle(s), consistent with the principles of AACR expressed by the JSC and the modeling exercise.

    Make the rule infinitely expandable; general enough that it doesn't need to be altered every time a new type of content carrier emerges.

    Remove ambiguity; provide guidelines for handling conflicts or new situations when they emerge.

    Clarity in the rule which enables it to be easily understood and interpreted by catalogers

    Produces records which present information to the public clearly.

    Test and verify the validity of the assumptions implicit in the rule.

    Produce records which are exchangeable between libraries.

    Rules should minimize the need for recataloging (fundamental restructuring of records; making additions to a record based on characteristics of a new entity may be necessary).

  6. Should we attempt a solution that requires tiered records?

    Are there tiered record solutions that could be applied to the problem of representing works which appear in multiple manifestations of multiple expressions?

    Not asking whether a tiered record solution could be applied to the problem of representing items which display multiple intellectual or physical characteristics.

    Three options are already provided in the rules for handling kits.

    Describe the characteristics which need to be included a bibliographic record, without necessarily prescribing precisely how those characteristics are laid out within the record; allow for a single record or multiple records, or some combination thereof.

    It’s multiple versions all over again! There is precedent for multiple versions records. Emphasizing content over carrier allows for cataloging multiple versions on one record, but it doesn't absolutely mandate taking that approach. “Multiple versions” records might be more viable now since USMARC now allows for intra-record field linking.

    The four levels defined in the Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records:

    • Work
    • Expression
    • Manifestation
    • Item

    It is possible to employ a tiered or multi-level record approach without having multiple physical records. Multiple “intellectual” records can be combined within a single physical record. Some don't consider these to be multiple records, instead they consider them to be a single record. Currently, single physical records can accommodate elements from all four levels. A record can be considered “tiered” no matter whether it is physically tiered or intellectually tiered.

    What is a tiered record? Is it the same as multi-level description? Employing a tiered record approach, should the record look identical no matter which manifestation was cataloged first? Should we discontinue the practice of utilizing a hierarchy amongst types of expression? Catalogers should be able to choose whether to use such a hierarchy or not, depending on the needs of their users. The rules should be written to make it clear which approach a cataloger has employed. Union databases should allow records utilizing different approaches to co-exist.

  7. What does our obligation to conform to the ISBDs imply for the work of this Task Force

    Groups are currently discussing the physical format arrangement of the ISBDs and questioning it, so this task force should not feel overly constrained by the current format-based framework of the ISBDs. Reorganizing Part One by area of description can be viewed as a structural change, still in compliance with the ISBDs. Rules 0.22 and 0.23 use terms such as type of material, class of material, type of publication. How does this affect our work on 0.24? Perhaps the work done on 0.24 can affect the development of the ISBDs (some of which are dated at this point).

    As the tables Yee prepared demonstrate, there are already some chapters in AACR2r which do not correspond perfectly with the ISBDs.

  8. Are the charts in the Appendix useful? accurate?

    Many thought that the tables are largely accurate and useful for exposing some of the inconsistencies between the different standards.

Adjourned at 4:00 p.m.


Friday, January 29, 1999 — 2-4 p.m. — Philadelphia Convention Center, 103B


Friday, June 25, 1999 — 2-4 p.m.

Chair: Martha M. Yee

  1. Introductions

  2. Timing vis a vis the Joint Steering Committee Fall meeting, and CC:DA (Brian Schottlaender is planning to attend and can give us some insight here)

  3. Should any of the options for multiple characteristics be eliminated?

  4. Should any of the options for format variation be eliminated?

  5. Do any of the options require further explanation?

  6. Should the appendices be included in the document to be sent to JSC?

  7. What needs to be brought out for discussion at the CC:DA meeting on Saturday?