ALCTS - Association of Library Collections & Technical Services

Task Force on the Review of the Logical Structure of AACR

Working Document:
Key Issues and Recommendations

The following is extracted from the text of the model and is offered here as a template for discussion and comments.

Part I

Key Issues and Recommendations

  1. Does the concept of class of materials as currently reflected in the code serve as a viable basis for an extended structure accommodating new forms of digital materials?

    Recommendation: Use the model developed for this study to assess options for restructuring Part I of the code to facilitate the integration of rules for new forms of expression and new media. One option for consideration would be to use the ISBD(G) areas of description as the primary organizing element for the overall structure of Part I.

    We agree that this is a significant issue, and a problem that must be discussed and solved.

    As to the recommendation, we are of the opinion that restructuring the code by organizing Part 1 in the order of ISBD(G) areas of description is a good framework, that will result in the elimination of repetition and inconsistencies. At the same time, we perceive that Part 1 is such a mishmash of chapters relating to intellectual content (and assumptions about that intellectual content), physical carrier, seriality, and published or unpublished status, that there needs to be a clear directive - on the order of the comments in the Report of the ALCTS CCS CCDA Task Force on Rule 0.24 - in what order and how the cataloger deals with these many facets - each deserving of attention - of an item to be cataloged."

    Additional comment from John: Personally, I think that there are so many problems with the class of materials concept as currently embodied in the chapters in Part I that it is fundamentally flawed and stands as an impediment to applying the rules to an increasingly large number of types of material. The most important are those things that are digital in form (infixion?) but have a different intellectual content (e.g., text or cartography or sound). It seems to me that we are ever more frequently needing to catalog materials that have characteristics of more than one of the present chapters in AACR. There are a lot more things that could be said about the pro's and con's of Tom's suggestion, most of which are to be found somewhere in the various reports from the Task Force on Rule 0.24.

    Additional comment from Mary: What is considered to be the purpose of the code overall? In 0.1 it says "These rules are designed for use in the construction of catalogues and other lists in general libraries of all sizes." Does it specifically say anywhere - or is it implied - that catalogers are expected to use the code to work through every catalog record? Because specialist catalogers for one do not; they use manuals that are BASED ON the code but that have applications specific to the material.

    Mary Larsgaard
    John Attig

  2. Does the physicality inherent in the concept of DOCUMENT constrain the logical development of the code to accommodate the cataloguing of electronic resources?

    Recommendation: Use the model developed for this study as the basis for examining the feasibility of modifying the internal logic of the code to accommodate documents that are defined in non-physical terms. Consultation should be undertaken with experts in the area of electronic document architecture.

    We suspect that the question is really aimed at electronic resources available over the Web. Other electronic resources that are on CD, tape, etc. have clear physical existence and, hence, the code should work for them.

    However, documents that are stored on the web are not without physical existence. Just because an information resource is digital, does not mean it does not have a physical existence. Au contraire, documents out on the web are stored on a computer somewhere. One need only think about the hard drive on a pc, and how quickly it fills up with digital documents. Digital resources take up bytes and that means that not only is there a quantitative measurement, there actually is a physical area that is being taken up on a disk/tape of some kind, some where. Of course one cannot hold it in ones hand and measure it and see that the chief source of information stays stable, etc.

    The Delsey study shows that the code is "inconsistent". For example, the logic does not always use physical existence as the determining factor in area 5, sometimes the determining factor is intellectual content. We agree.

    AACR2 can be said to default to text in book or pamphlet form area 500 and especially marc 300|a makes this assumption among many other assumptions. An item being cataloged is assumed to be text in book/pamphlet form on paper, black ink printed on white. So the intellectual content component of the document -- that it is text -- is never mentioned. It is so to speak, the default value.

    To be consistent in its treatment of all forms of content AACR2 should from the beginning have area 5 contain BOTH a term for intellectual content AND a term for physical carrier, e.g.

      1 text (v, 123 p.) in book form paper

    as the cart.-mtls. world has had for many years

      1 map on 9 sheets
      9 maps on 1 sheets

    [Yes, there are default assumptions among special catalogers too -- if it's one map, it's assumed that it's on 1 sheet, and it's always assumed to be on paper, black ink printed on white]

    None of this was a problem until all of the sudden we are dealing with large numbers of digital resources available over the Web. Now, all of our assumptions are causing us problems and should be re-evaluated.

    Concerning infixion, etc. It is a good idea to attempt to view an item in a clear logical way and attempt to see the logic of the item and its components as the Delsey report is attempting. However, the current model needs further work. The logic is at times hard to follow consistently. For example, sometimes it is hard to see the difference between an infixion and an attribute. Martha Yee's Interim Report from Task Force on Rule 0.24 addresses this concern well.

    With electronic resources it is much more important to describe the software and hardware necessary to display the document than its physical dimensions. At the moment AACR2 does not address this issue well.

    The Delsey report states that ". . . networked electronic resources . . . effectively have no physical dimension." It might be more accurate to say that networked electronic resources have no STABLE physical dimension. The issue of the stability of the networked electronic resource and AACR2 needs to be addressed.

    Ingrid Mifflin
    Mary Larsgaard

  3. Is the division of the universe of objects described into two categories — published and unpublished — adequate to accommodate the description of digital objects disseminated on-line?

    Recommendation: Using the model developed for this study as a frame of reference, examine the issues raised with respect to the notion of “publication” in a networked context in consultation with experts in the area of electronic documents.

    Delsey's recommendation in this simple form makes sense, however, his expanded explanation on pages 30-31 are troublesome. Before going any further, I'd like to pull out some of his definitions

    1. Production the act of physically creating a document
    2. Creation the act of originating intellectual or artistic content
    3. Manufacture the act of making copies of a document by means of a mechanical or electronic process
    4. Release the act of making copies of a document available to the public

    The "real world" entities that make up an unpublished document are, to a large extent, the same that make up a published document. The additional "real world" entities attached to a published document are manufacture, release, copy, impression, issue, and edition.

    The model fails to recognize a major change of flow with digital objects disseminated on-line. The acts relating to a physical object are active ones publication, dissemination, manufacture. With digital objects, the transitive acts of production, manufacture, and release are replaced by the passive (to the document) aspect of access. The transitive aspects have been placed in the hands of the user rather than the producer. Even the realm of creation becomes blurry as electronic "documents" become broken down into constituent parts and are able to be reconstituted in unique combinations by individual researchers.

    The vocabulary of the model, as it reflects AACR2 as currently written, has been designed to describe the production, manufacture, and release of physical items. The question posed is whether or not the dissemination of non-physical documents can be accommodated in this model. As the vocabulary, however, was not geared to adequately describe electronic documents (even that word seems inappropriate), the fit can never be right. The vocabulary used determines the result. Delsey states "The question to be addressed, therefore, is whether the concepts underlying the entities defined as RELEASE and COPY can be extended." Again, the assumption is the model will still apply with an extension of vocabulary.

    As an example, one of the most perplexing terms is manufacture. For many digital objects disseminated online, the act of production and manufacture are the same there may be only one copy of an item to which multiple users are allowed access (e.g., websites). You may also have an object which is manufactured in the traditional sense, and then the separate copies made available on-line to multiple users (e.g., Cataloger's Desktop). Perhaps the only valid distinction is made by "release"? If no access is allowed to an electronic item, should it be considered unpublished? Does the mere act of accessibility constitute publication (e.g., allowing networked access to a digital "copy" of a dissertation)? Where would the fixing (through downloading to a disc) of a networked serial resource that is meant to be continuously updated fit into the scheme?

    In sum, the question posed by Delsey is an important one. However, his implied solution (expansion of current model vocabulary) is inadequate. The vocabulary of Delsey's model is simply not rich enough to capture the myriad of possibilities in the description of digital objects disseminated on-line. By merely enhancing the same terms used to discuss physical items in order to encompass digital objects, the result becomes artificial. Unless we are cautious, we will move from a set of outdated rules to an equally constrained model.

    Philip E. Schreur

  4. Can the notion of “seriality” as reflected in the code be extended to accommodate electronic forms of “publication” or dissemination of documents “intended to be continued indefinitely”?

    Recommendation: Continue the examination of the “seriality” issue initiated as a follow-up to the Conference on the Principles and Future Development of AACR, using the frame of reference set out in the model developed for this study as a tool to assist in the analysis of the issues.

    [See the report of the Task Force on Seriality and AACR2.]

  5. What are the implications of applying the logic of the code to documents in which the intellectual content is not permanently “fixed” within a physical object?

    Recommendation: Review the conventions and rules for reflecting change in the attributes of the item described, as currently established, to determine their applicability to changes in the attributes of digital objects, and extend them as necessary to accommodate a broader range of variables.

    Internet resources can, and sometimes do, change quite frequently, and sometimes quite drastically. There is no guarantee that the resource one sees on the screen today will be exactly the same tomorrow. The code needs to reflect, and make allowances for this reality, while at the same time providing guidelines on how much a document can change before being considered an entirely new document. LCRI 1.0, which is based on AACR2, does give guidelines on determining if a given item is a new edition, or just a copy (with perhaps some modifications) to an existing item. AACR2 and the LCRI assume, however, that one has ready access to the original item, or at least to it's surrogate, the cataloged record. With digital documents, however, in most cases, the new version completely replaces the old version of the document, and thus the original "document" no longer exists as a separate entity. Even the cataloged record for that original document may not be enough to dtermine if what we see now is a new edition or not.

    It seems logical that AACR2, especially rule 0.24 and LCRI 1.0 be revised to accomodate the reality of digital documents, giving guidelines on how far a digital document can change before being considered an entirely new item, and that this revised LCRI be made a part of the code.

    While there are many ways to go about revising AACR2 to accommodate new forms of documents and new technology, the Delsey Report points towards one way to go about this task. Among these tasks are identifying the attributes that change and organizing them and AACR2 for possible revisions in such a manner that future revisions to the code will be minimized is a positive step towards keeping the code viable for the future.

    George F. Johnston

Part II

Key Issues and Recommendations

  1. Functions of the Catalogue

    Recommendation 1: Using the model developed for this study as a frame of reference, develop a specification for the functions of the catalogue that fully articulates the objectives underlying the rules in the code that relate to the choice of access points and the construction and use of uniform titles. The tables used in Chapter 7 of the Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records might serve as a model for structuring the specifications.

    Delsey's recommendation is an essential one and his suggestion for resolution very useful. Assuming the functions of the catalogue are based on the Paris Principles of 1961 is logical. The functions of the catalogue in the Paris Principles, however, are stated broadly. By contrast, the tables in Chapter 7 of the Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records are very detailed. They develop specifications to allow a user to Find manifestations, Find a particular manifestation, Identify a work, Identify an expression, Identify a manifestation, Select a work, Select an expression, Select a manifestation, and Obtain a manifestation. The tables are divided into three columns "To enable the user to-" / "the basic level national bibliographic record should reflect these logical attributes and relationships-" / "and should include these specific data elements." The structure is clear and the model practical for developing specifications for the functions of the catalogue.
    Philip E. Schreur

  2. The Concept of “Authorship”

    Recommendation 2: Re-assess the concept of “authorship” as it relates to the functions of the catalogue, and determine whether the exceptions in the rules that limit the assignment of access points in certain instances (including the “rule of three”) should be altered.

    Reconsidering the "rule of three" for co-authors should not be one of our most prominent concerns about AACR2. With more than three authors, authorship becomes so diffuse that title entry seems very appropriate. Increasing the number of author added entries required has more to do with how much name authority work we can afford than with the logical structure of the cataloging rules, and it can be considered apart from the reorganization of the rules. It is interesting that section 2.1 of the Paris Principles as quoted under key issue no. 1, Functions of the catalogue, seems to assume one author per book and a certain parsimony with access points, although Delsey doesn't take it that way--thanks to the new technologies, I suppose. I'm glad to see non-authorship added entries discussed, especially since too many OPACs label them as authors, but I assume that they fall under recommendation 3.
    John Kloswick

    Recommdation 3: Assess the need to reflect additional relationships between persons and corporate bodies and the content of an item in the context of newly emerging forms of intellectual and artistic expression and multimedia productions.

    Delsey’s comments center around the concept of authorship as defined in Chapter 21 of AARC2 and the articulation of the functions of the catalog as set out in the Paris Principles of 1961. The Principles state the catalog should be an efficient instrument for identifying whether a library holds a particular book by its author (2.1(a)) and which books by a particular author the library holds (2.2(a)). An examination of the concept of "authorship" in Chapter 21 in light of these principles reveals two problem areas. First, exceptions are made to the entries one would expect based on the definitions of single, shared, and mixed personal authorship. Delsey suggests these exceptions need to be examined and a rationale developed to explain them, so that this pattern of exception can be expanded to new forms of production (e.g., multimedia works).

    Second, Delsey notes certain added entries are made (performers, compilers, etc.) which are not required by the Paris Principles’ statement on the function of the catalog. If these entries are to be made, one needs to develop guidelines as to what types of relationships (outside of authorship) should be reflected in the added entries as specified by the code. Again, reasoned principles need to be developed so that they can be logically extended to other forms of intellectual and artistic expression as they emerge.

    The concept of "authorship" is a complex one in AARCR2, not only in itself but for the function it serves in the catalog. This concept not only dictates how differing works will be entered into the catalog but also how different manifestations of the same work will be related. The rules must not only define authorship, but consider authorship in relationship to the "work" and its collating function. Any consideration of authorship must not only consider "choice" of access point but the purposes behind this choice. Further confusing the picture, the rules for authorship of works of mixed responsibility in particular show irregularities as they are format rather than concept driven, a particular problem for developing media. Finally, in creating a complete picture, one must not ignore more practical issues as well, i.e., cost. Do some of the limits on entries listed by Delsey exist because of an unclear understanding of authorship, or because the number of controlled access points they would require would be cost prohibitive to create? Any thorough review of authorship in AACR2 must concern itself with consistency, collation, and cost.

    Any sort of response to Delsey’s second concern is intimately tied to the definition of a work and the report of the Task Force on 0.24, and also the Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records. The Paris Principles seem to be working at a very high level, that is, the need to identify particular works in a catalog. The Functional Requirements extend these principles to include: Find manifestations, Find a particular manifestation, Identify a work, Identify an expression, Identify a manifestation, Select a work, Select an expression, Select a manifestation, and Obtain a manifestation. If a function of the catalog is to allow a user to find a particular item, down to the manifestation level, certain additional access must be given and the Functional Requirements attempt to list what these elements are. However, the work of the Task Force on rule 0.24 has moved in a different direction. Their recommendation has been to optimally put all manifestations of a work onto one record. This recommendation would indeed support the Paris Principles requirement of identifying individual works in a catalog but not necessarily the elaboration in the Functional Requirements stating one should be able to find particular manifestations.

    The added entries which are called into question fall into many different categories. Some, like performers, are intimately connected to the concept of a work and arguably should be considered as authors. Others are needed to identify particular manifestations (e.g., compilers and editors), and others provide useful access points (addressees of festschrifts).

    In order to resolve the complex issues surrounding these "non-author" entries, we need to first fully articulate the functions of the catalog and then define the functional requirements for bibliographic records needed to support these functions. Only then could we articulate broad guidelines and remove ourselves from specific rules for specific formats.

    Philip E. Schreur

  3. The Concept of the “Work”

    Recommendation 4: Using the model as a frame of reference, test the feasibility of developing and articulating principles relating to the identity of the work or works manifested in the content of an item that can be applied at a more generalized level than is currently reflected in the specifics of the rules for choice of entry.

    The attempt "to develop and articulate principles relating to the identity of the work or works manifested in the content of an item" would probably be worth the effort. The boundaries of a work and of its various kinds of editions--such as revised text or merely different typography--can be quite fuzzy, and some arbitrariness is necessary. Except perhaps for some versions of the Bible, uniform titles do not always do a good job of sorting out variants. Uniform titles are more likely to bring together editions that bear different titles than to differentiate variants with the same author and title. Although settling disagreements among editors as to which of Emily Dickinson's poems, for example, are variants of each other and which are works in their own right is beyond the reasonable scope of library cataloging, it is more reasonable to expect catalogs to alert their users that these editions of Ulysses or those editions of The red badge of courage have been re-edited from their authors' manuscripts and, though not new "works", are significantly different from the versions that have become traditional.
    John Kloswick

    Recommendation 5: Re-assess the current restrictions imposed by the application of the “rule of three” on the identification of individual works in items containing collections of works by different persons or bodies.

    I believe that for the cataloging code to stay viable and useful in the age of internet information explosion and current drastic changes in the manner information is being created, shared and retrieved on the internet, AACR2 must be revised in a way that makes it more applicable to current ways of storing and sharing information. The Delsey report explores one logical way to depict the rules in a manner that facilitates understanding of its internal structure and logic. Understanding the internal structure and logic can help develop changes that need to be made in order for the code to work better for the future. The Delsey report shows how to logically explain the rules in a manner that makes it possible to reconstruct it in a different way and to better see its weaknesses and where the rules do not work or need improvements. The model facilitates discovery of where the rules are inconsistent or where there is room for improvements. I am sure there are other ways to describe the logic of AACR2 that would also work, but the model used in the Delsey report works well, so why not use it. Many inconsistencies have been pointed out in the model. This does not negate the model but rather shows there is room for improvement and refinement in the logic. As one should expect, the model could be improved upon.

    Next we turning to "the rule of three" and looking at the history of "the rule of three". The inclusion of "the rule of three" in AACR2 is related to production of catalog cards, a very practical aspect of cataloging. There were practical limitations on the amount of information which could be typed on the catalog cards before the size of the catalog record(s) became unwieldy and took up too much space in the catalog drawers. In addition to the question of the size of the catalog card was the time consuming job of actually typing the catalog cards and the headings thereon. Today most libraries have eliminated catalog cards. Cataloging is done online using bibliographic utilities and the cataloging records reside in OPACs. Hence, the practical aspects relating to catalog cards production and maintenance are mainly eliminated with regards to "the rule of three".

    The time spent on authority work to authenticate and establish authority records associated with a cataloging record is still an issue and an important consideration when discussing authorship as well as "the rule of three". The new electronic metadata schemes developed on the internet (such as, HGML, SGML, XML, etc.) have made it possible to retrieve and create data elements directly from the electronic document and use them in the cataloging record(s). This should ease the workload concerns related to establishing and authenticating related authority record(s) to a large extent.

    As the OPACs and the internet matures the demand for easy and extensive access to documents both in online versions and in hard copy versions is rapidly increasing. The limitations enforced by "the rule of three", as well as other special AACR2 rules of authorship, do not make much sense in this online environment, nor do they meet the demand of the information seeker of today. There is going to be an increasing demand for access using any appropriate name found in an electronic document.

    The above mentioned issues important to "the rule of three" are all very practical issues. In AACR2 the rules for diffused authorship are very complicated. The complex nature of the issues is clearly demonstrated in the Delsey report, especially when looking at the figures in part 2 of the report. The figures attempt to describe access to a work through authorship to that work. It takes 16 figures to describe "Entry under personal name heading (Figures 3a-3p)". However, all of these intricate rules in AACR2 and the accompanying LC interpretations pay some attention to the practical consideration of the limitations of catalog cards and time involved in doing authority work. In today's information environment this consideration is fast becoming outdated and too archaic. The AACR2 rules for authorship are often very difficult to interpret and implement. Therefore, it seems very appropriate to review these rules concerning authorship for improvements which will work well in the online environment. Looking at the Delsey report or using the model to see where the rules can be simplified and condensed is also a good idea.

    It seems appropriate to use the logic in the Delsey report as a tool to look at and to map the current application of "the rule of three" and to reassess the current restrictions imposed by this rule (as well as broader issue of the complexity of the rules for authorship) described in AACR2. However, it is not the most pressing issue concerning revision of AACR2.

    Ingrid Mifflin

  4. The Concept of “Edition”

    No formal recommendations.

  5. The Citation Form of a Work

    Recommendation 6: Using the model developed for this study, re-examine the use of the citation form as it is developed in the code to determine whether it is an optimally effective device for reflecting work-to-work relationships in the catalogue in light of the technology currently available to support bibliographic databases.

    It's only fair to warn you before I go any further on this that I have done no work with uniform titles; they very, very seldom occur with cartographic materials. So the only point I can speak knowledgably to here is in the recommendation, with which I am in favor.

    I would like to emphasize the point that what the cataloger does and what the user of the catalog sees have not, since the use of machine-readable bib data, ever been exactly the same thing, and there is no reason that they need to be. It seems to me to be essential that the cataloger catalogs each form of an item separately, not on the same record, and that it is the online-catalog software's duty to bring this various versions together in some user-friendly fashion. (?or have I misunderstood what is being said in the recommendation above?)

    I'm using a cartographic-materials example to illustrate this since that's what I know best.

    Here's the sort of thing the user should see

    Geological Survey (U.S.)
    	7.5-minute topographic quadrangle.
    	- paper    3700s VAR .U5
    	- microfilm   3700s VAR .U5 mfilm
    	- Digital Raster Graphic (DRG)
    		3700s VAR .U5 CD

    The cataloger would catalog each of these versions separately. Note that the DRGs have as 245 DRG, not "7.5-minute ..." - so this would of course come out in a 710.

    If any of you who have experience with uniform titles would comment on this, I would appreciate it.

    Mary Larsgaard

  6. The Organization of the Rules for Choice of Entry

    Recommendation 7: Examine the feasibility of re-structuring the rules in Chapter 21 with a view to simplifying the use of the rules and facilitating the application of “general” rules to particular cases in the absence of rules dealing specifically with the case in question.

    In his analysis of rules for choice of entry, Delsey skillfully charts the growing confusion from a simple choice in works of single authorship (author or title) to twenty entities on which the main entry may be based in the case of works of mixed responsibility. Among other issues, Delsey asks if the line between works of shared and mixed responsibility is sufficiently clear. He also notes many of the rules for works of mixed responsibility are format based and one must extrapolate beyond them to include other forms of media not explicitly mentioned.

    Very similar thoughts were expressed by Martha Yee’s Task Force on Works Intended for Performance. The Task Force notes most rules in Chapter 21 on mixed responsibility are based on format rather than on conditions of authorship and that there are no rules in general for mixed responsibility in new works. Both Delsey and the Task Force focused their attention on works of mixed responsibility.

    The Task Force makes some excellent recommendations on rules that need to be examined and perhaps rewritten. If this is the direction that is taken this report can make a good starting point. Delsey, however, moves in another direction. He questions the usefulness of the primary categories for works of shared and mixed responsibility and suggests a simpler approach based purely on number of people having responsibility for the content of the item. This approach certainly has the benefit of extensibility to any medium. Of course, the remaining crucial issue would be how much impact one would need to have on the item to be included as having responsibility for it. Once again, one is thrown back to the issues surrounding "work". Once this key issue is resolved, others, like the structure of Chapter 21, may fall more easily into place.

    Philip E. Schreur