Discussion Paper 2008-DP05/4: Items not requiring MARC 21 format changes for RDA
In January 2008, the MARC Advisory Committee discussed Discussion Paper 2008-DP04: Encoding RDA data in MARC 21. This paper was submitted by the Joint Steering Committee for Development of RDA (JSC) and presented issues for consideration and direction regarding what changes may be required to the MARC 21 Bibliographic and Authority formats to encode RDA data. The MARC Advisory Committee discussed all items in Discussion Paper 2008-DP04 and identified selected items that the Committee concluded no changes to the MARC 21 formats were needed.
Using the results of the MARC Advisory Committee deliberations, the RDA MARC Working Group discussed these issues in more detail. In addition, the Working Group discussed other items in Discussion Paper 2008-DP04 for which the MARC Advisory Committee recommended possible changes to MARC 21. This discussion paper lists each of the items discussed by the Working Group for which the Working Group is recommending that no changes are needed to MARC 21 content designation at this point. However, for some of the items, the Working Group suggests possible adjustments to the MARC documentation, for example, to the Guidelines for Applying Content Designators sections, but these are not structural changes to the format.
The following sections name the issue and include: reference to the section numbers in Discussion Paper 2008-DP04; the statement of the issue by JSC; and the MARC Advisory Committee recommendation as summarized in Discussion Paper 2008-DP04 after the January meeting. A summary of the discussion by the RDA MARC Working Group and its recommendation completes each section.
2.1 Mode of Issuance
The JSC explained in Section 3.2.1 of Discussion Paper 2008-DP04:
An element in RDA has been defined to signal mode of issuance. The RDA element Mode of issuance contains the following terms:
MARC 21 Leader/07 (Bibliographic level) contains values for Serial (code s) and Integrating resource (code i), the value for Monograph (code m), covers both single units and multipart monographs. It is acknowledged that Leader 07 is used extensively in processing bibliographic records and is used to determine which 008 field [in the case of language materials].
- Single unit
- Multipart monograph
- Integrating resource
The MARC Advisory Committee favored adding another value to Leader/07 (Bibliographic level) to avoid processing the combination of codes in Leader/07 (Bibliographic level) and Leader/19 (Multipart resource record level).
The RDA MARC Working Group discussed how adding a new value for Multipart monograph in Leader/07 (Bibliographic level) may be very difficult to implement, introduce redundancy in the Leader, and be incompatible with existing records. Leader/19 already identifies those monographs that are multipart monographs. The Working Group thus recommended using the existing value “m” in Leader/07 (Bibliographic level), along with Leader/19 (Multipart resource record level), values “a,” “b,” or “c” to identify multipart monographs.
The JSC explained in Section 3.2.2 of Discussion Paper 2008-DP04:
An element in RDA has been defined to indicate the script used to express the language content of the resource. Inclusion of “Script” as an element will allow users to select a resource that they can read. The script is not always obvious from the language, for example, Sanskrit, Kashmiri, Mongolian, and Inuktitut are among the languages that can be written in more than one script.
The MARC Advisory Committee originally recommended recording script in field 041 (Language code), using the codes in ISO 15924.
Based on the outcome of its April 2008 meeting, the JSC confirmed that the names of the script codes in ISO 15924, Codes for the representation of names of scripts would be used to indicate script in RDA. The JSC also slightly revised the scope of the Script element to: “Script is the set of symbols used to express the written language content of a resource.”
After further study, the RDA MARC Working Group concluded that script is represented in RDA as a textual note, not as a coded value. Therefore, MARC 21 bibliographic field 546 (Language note) may be used to indicate the script and thus no changes to the format are required. Field 546 is defined as:
Textual information on the language of the described materials. A description of the alphabet, script, or other symbol system (e.g., Arabic alphabet, ASCII, musical notation system, bar code, logarithmic graphing) may also be included.
The indicators are undefined. The following subfields are defined:
- $a - Language note (NR)
- $b - Information code or alphabet (R) -- RDA script
- $3 - Materials specified (NR)
- $6 - Linkage (NR)
- $8 - Field link and sequence number (R)
546 ## $a Container inserts written in English, French, and Inuktitut (both syllabic and transliterated) 546 ## $a Kazah, Uighur, and Chagatai $b Cyrillic $b Arabic 546 ## $a Sanskrit $b Latin $b Devanagari
2.3. Production, Publication, Distribution
The JSC explained in Section 3.3 of Discussion Paper 2008-DP04:
RDA has defined separate elements for production, publication and distribution; each element has separate sub-elements for “place of publication”, “publisher's name”, and “date of publication”.
Note that production statements in RDA include statements relating to the inscription, fabrication, construction, and/or manufacture (printing, duplicating, casting, etc.) of a resource. Producer in MARC 21 is strictly associated with film-making.
[Note: At the April 2008 JSC meeting, it was agreed to add a new element for manufacture statement. “Manufacture” in RDA will apply to mass-produced resources. Manufacture statements will i nclude statements relating to the printing, duplicating, casting, etc. “Production” in RDA will apply to resources that are hand-produced either as a single-exemplar or in very limited quantity. Production statements will include statements relating to inscription, fabrication and construction.]
MARC 21 field 260 currently uses the same subfields for publication and distribution data (260 $a, $b and $c). Subfield $b may be qualified to provide an indication of function (i.e., [distributor]). MARBI may wish to consider if there is a need to distinguish between publication and distribution data through MARC 21 content designation.
The MARC Advisory Committee favored defining new content designation in field 260 (Publication, Distribution, etc. (Imprint)) for distributor. The RDA MARC Working Group decided against that since the RDA elements may be currently mapped in field 260 (Publication, Distribution, etc. (Imprint)) subfields $a (Place of publication, distribution, etc.), $b (Name of publisher, distributor, etc.) and $c (Date of publication, distribution, etc.) and as there has not yet been demonstrated a need to provide further granularity for the field.
2.4. Copyright Date
The JSC explained in Section 3.4 of Discussion Paper 2008-DP04:
RDA contains a separate element for copyright date. In MARC 21, the copyright date is recorded in field 260, subfield $c (Date of publication, distribution, etc.) preceded by the lower case c, or for sound recordings, or lower case p. (In RDA, copyright and phonogram symbols will be recorded.) MARBI may wish to consider whether there is a need to have specific content designation for the copyright date.
The MARC Advisory Committee discussed coding copyright date in the newly defined field 542 (Information relating to copyright status) subfield $g (Copyright date). However, further discussion suggested that field 260 (Publication, distribution, etc. (Imprint)) would be a more appropriate place to encode copyright date because field 542 (Information relating to copyright status) may not be implemented by all institutions.
After further study, the Working Group noted that the use of “c” and “p” for the copyright and phonogram symbols is an AACR stipulation, as the symbols are a part of the MARC-8 character set. Therefore the use of the “real” symbols will themselves be flags for the date information, if RDA says to include the symbols whenever they apply. Currently they are not recorded when the copyright date substitutes for the missing publication date.
The RDA MARC Working Group therefore concluded that continuing the current practice of recording the copyright date in field 260 (Publication, distribution, etc. (Imprint)) is sufficient to provide access to the copyright date when it is a surrogate for the date of publication. The working group also found that there is little to gain in creating a separate element in field 260 (Publication, distribution, etc. (Imprint)), except for the sake of providing a discrete element for indexing of the copyright date, which can be done from the copyright and phonogram copyright symbols. However, there does not seem to be a critical bibliographic need for this.
The Guidelines for Applying Content Designators section in the field 260 (Publication, distribution, etc. (Imprint)) documentation may need to be slightly revised. The following statement may be added:
If the date of copyright acts as a surrogate for the date of publication, it must be recorded in subfield $c (Date of publication, distribution, etc.) preceded by the appropriate copyright or phonogram copyright symbol. Additionally, it may be recorded in subfield $g (Copyright date) of field 542 (Information relating to copyright status).
2.5. Numbering of serials
The JSC explained in Section 3.5 of Discussion Paper 2008-DP04 that:
The RDA element for numbering of serials includes separate element sub-types for:
This will support total flexibility with regard to what is displayed and how the element sub-types are displayed (i.e., formatted or unformatted).
- 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
- Numeric and/or alphabetic designation of last issue or part of first sequence
- Chronological designation of last issue or part of first sequence
- Numeric and/or alphabetic designation of first issue or part new sequence
- Chronological designation of first issue or part new sequence
These RDA element sub-types can be mapped to MARC 21 field 362, subfield $a. While it is acknowledged that the benefit of defining separate content designation is questionable, the option is provided below for MARBI's consideration.
The MARC Advisory Committee suggested considering coding field 363 (Normalized date and sequential designation) for the numbering of serials by adding caption information to this field.
The RDA MARC Working Group members discussed the numbering of serials at length both within the group and with others in the CONSER community. Because the RDA element subtypes for serials are largely considered “holdings” data, the working group felt that encoding this holdings data at the level of granularity required by RDA in the MARC 21 Bibliographic record is redundant and represents a duplication of effort and data input. Likewise, the serials community currently favors unformatted numbering statements. For example, the CONSER Standard Record recommends unformatted numbering statements. Because of these reasons, the RDA MARC Working Group decided to record the RDA numbering of serials elements in field 362 subfield $a (Dates of publication and/or sequential designation).
2.6. RDA element labels encoded in MARC 21
Section 3.7 of Discussion Paper 2008-DP04 outlined how labels may be generated from RDA element names and definitions, thus, not requiring explicit labels to be carried in the MARC 21 record. However, the discussion paper also listed several instances when labels for RDA elements may not be supported by MARC 21. These were:
- Dissertation or thesis information
- Performers of music and featured players, performers, narrators and/or presenters
- Digital file characteristics and notes on equipment and systems requirements
In all of the above cases, the RDA/MARC Working Group concluded that labels could indeed be generated for the above RDA element names using MARC 21 field tags or subfield codes. The Working Group agreed that a general principle could be applied, namely, display labels can be system-generated based on a field tag or subfield code if an application desires them, in the preferred wording and language of the application. This is already common practice in the community for labeled displays.
2.6.1. Dissertation or thesis information
The MARC Advisory Committee recommended defining both an indicator position for “Display constants controller” and subfield $i (Display text) to indicate display constants in field 502 (Dissertation note). However, the RDA MARC Working Group concluded that the RDA element “Dissertation or thesis information” may be generated by the occurrence of MARC 21 field 502 (Dissertation note) without additional content designation.
2.6.2 Performers of music and Featured players, performers, narrators and/or presenters
The MARC Advisory Committee recommended defining both an indicator position for “Display constants controller” and subfield $i (Display text) to indicate display constants in field 511 (Participant or performer note).
The Working Group discussed this issue among themselves and with others and decided that it was not necessary to define print constants, as the data recorded in the element was intelligible without labels.
The RDA MARC Working Group therefore concluded that for the RDA elements, Performers of music and Featured players, performers, narrators and/or presenters, display constants are not required as RDA data is meaningful without them.
It should be noted that the first indicator in field 511 (Participant or performer note) remains defined as “Display constant controller” with values 0 (No display constant generated) and 1 (Cast). It is presumed that if the indicator is 1 (Cast), that label would be used, although use of display labels is a choice of an implementation.
The MARC Advisory Committee suggested coding field 034 (Coded cartographic mathematical data) for scale; however, it does not include a subfield for scale expressed as free text (i.e., not parsed in subfields). It also recommended defining both an indicator position for “Display constants controller” and subfield $i (Display text) to indicate display constants in fields 255 (Cartographic mathematical data) and 507 (Scale note for graphic material). However, the RDA MARC Working Group concluded that the RDA element, Scale may be generated by the occurrences of MARC 21 field 255 (Cartographic Mathematical Data) subfield $a (Statement of scale) and/or field 507 (Scale note for graphic material) without additional content designation.
2.6.4. Digital file characteristics and Notes of equipment and systems requirements
The MARC Advisory Committee recommended defining both an indicator position for “Display constants controller” and subfield $i (Display text) to indicate display constants in field 538 (System details note). However, $i (Display text) is already defined in field 538. The RDA MARC Working Group concluded that no display constants are required as the RDA data is meaningful without display constants.
2.7 Descriptive cataloging form
The JSC explained in Section 3.8 of Discussion Paper 2008-DP04:
In order to identify records created following RDA, JSC requests that the following values be defined:
The value for RDA would identify records described using RDA. The value for RDA/ISBD would identify records that satisfy the ISBD punctuation guidelines (as provided in an RDA appendix).
The MARC Advisory Committee favored coding new description rules in field 040 (Cataloging source) subfield $e (Description conventions). It recommended that bibliographic field Leader/18 (Descriptive cataloging form) and authority field 008/10 (Descriptive cataloging rules) should not be changed.
After further study, the RDA MARC Working Group agreed with MARC Advisory Committee’s recommendations. New codes in the MARC Code Lists for Relators, Sources, Description Conventions code list could be defined for “RDA” and “RDA/ISBD” to be used in field 040 (Cataloging source) subfield $e (Description conventions). The Working Group recommended that LDR/18 be clarified as being the location for designating that ISBD punctuation is in the record at subfield boundaries, obviating the need for RDA/ISBD in 040 $e.
The RDA MARC Working Group also discussed how manuals that become “RDA-compatible” will be coded in field 040 (Cataloging source) subfield $e (Description conventions), if they are developed. One solution is to define new codes containing the prefix “rda,” such as “rdadcrb” (the original code is “dcrb” for Descriptive cataloging of rare books).
040 ## $a DLC $e rda [RDA is the description convention of the bibliographic record that originated at the Library of Congress]
2.8. Data about data
The JSC explained in Section 3.12.1 of Discussion Paper 2008-DP04:
[The] JSC has agreed that an appendix for “data about data” would be developed for the first release of RDA. As expressed by the Editor at the April 2007 JSC meeting, “...these would be “free-floaters” and could be added to any element, in a similar way to DC refinements.” (April 2007 JSC meeting minutes, 156.4.2)
The MARC Advisory Committee expressed concern that the RDA appendix for “Data about data” would not be developed in time for a proposal presented at the 2008 annual meetings.
An indication given unofficially by the RDA editorial team (the editor, the JSC secretary, the JSC chair) to the RDA MARC Working Group is that the appendix on data about data will not be part of the initial release of RDA.
The RDA MARC Working Group agreed that it would be inefficient to pursue this further until the appendix has been written. Once the appendix is drafted, reviewed by the constituencies, and is approved by JSC, the RDA MARC Working Group and/or the MARC Advisory Committee may reopen this issue.
The RDA MARC Working Group concluded that there is no need to propose changes in MARC related to the anticipated RDA appendix that addresses data about data.
2.9. RDA Transcription of data
The JSC explained in Section 3.12.2 of Discussion Paper 2008-DP04:
RDA provides instructions to transcribe an element as it appears following guidelines for capitalization, numerals, etc. Alternatives have been included to provide some flexibility by allowing elements to be transcribed according to in-house manuals/published style manuals or by accepting the element as derived from a digital source using an automated scanning, downloading or copying process. MARBI may wish to consider whether there is a need to distinguish different approaches to recording data.
The MARC Advisory Committee recommended that externally published profiles could be relied upon to distinguish between different approaches to recording data (i.e., through transcription or data harvesting).
The RDA MARC Working Group discussions evolved around the following assumptions:
- 1. The word “transcription” refers to a cataloger manually recording data for a field(s) from the object being described.
- 2. Data for a field(s) may be derived/harvested in digital form from sources or methods (e.g., scanning).
- 3. The notion of “externally published profiles” refers to a document posted on a site that describes technical information about records that have been created to describe a collection. This technical information could address where data for the records came from, how the records were generated, etc.
The RDA MARC Working Group discussed the need for indicating to a user (whether end user or cataloger) something about the quality and source/method of the data for one or more fields in a record, especially in cases where the data are not of a high quality precisely because they were derived, scanned, or otherwise entered through a process that did not involve the manually recording (i.e., transcription) by a cataloger.
Several options currently available in MARC were discussed as potential places where this indication could be made, such as Leader/17 (Encoding level) or field 042 (Authentication code).
Leader/17 (Encoding level) is currently defined as a one-character alphanumeric code that indicates the fullness of the bibliographic information and/or content designation of the MARC record. It includes the following values:
- # - Full level
- 1 - Full level, material not examined
- 2 - Less-than-full level, material not examined
- 3 - Abbreviated level
- 4 - Core level
- 5 - Partial (preliminary) level
- 7 - Minimal level
- 8 - Prepublication level
- u - Unknown
- z - Not applicable
Field 042 (Authentication code) may indicate that the record has been reviewed in a specific way, using data values from the MARC Code Lists for Relators, Sources, and Description Conventions
There is also an option for adding a new field in MARC that specifies the origin of the record. It could apply to the whole record (where a record was converted from another metadata source) or a field in the record. Conventions could be established to specify particular fields. This is currently included in MODS because it seemed useful to handle, for example, conversion of records between different formats.
Based on the needs and options listed, the following list presents other issues discussed and the Working Group’s assessment:
- 1. Since a record may have some fields with data recorded manually by a cataloger and some with derived data, is it cost-beneficial to indicate specific fields/subfields that have data that are derived? The RDA MARC Working Group concluded that it is not.
- 2. Given that data in a record may have mixed sources, would it be cost-beneficial to have new values for field 042 (Authentication code) that would indicate information about the entire record such as: XXX = All data are fully transcribed; YYY= Data in some fields were transcribed and in some fields were derived; ZZZ= Data in all fields were derived and not transcribed. The RDA MARC Working Group concluded that it is not.
- 3. Could a collection provide an “externally published profile” that describes the quality of the records for that collection, the ways in which data were recorded, and the likely fields/subfields that might have derived data? The RDA MARC Working Group concluded that this would be an appropriate approach.
Overall, there is a tension between the costs of additional MARC data to indicate the quality, source of data, how it was recorded, etc., and the benefits to end-users (versus catalogers).
The RDA MARC Working Group concluded that there is no need to propose changes in MARC 21 for the transcription of data issue.
2.10 Language context
The JSC explained in Section 3.12.3 of Discussion Paper 2008-DP04:
RDA has elements that are recorded using terms for an English language context, e.g., “publisher not identified”. It may be useful to identify such elements through MARC 21 coding. This could facilitate the reuse of records internationally by enabling terms recorded for one language context to be replaced by terms for a different language context.
The MARC Advisory Committee suggested coding field 040 (Cataloging source) subfield $b (Language of catalog) for information about the language of the catalog and the context within which the record is relevant.
Field 040 (Cataloging source) subfield $b (Language of catalog) is currently defined to contain the MARC code for the language of cataloging in the record. The expectation is that any data that would be in the “catalog language context” such as, for example under AACR2 rules, the heading qualifiers and the notes, would exemplify the language in 040 $b.
040 ## $a CaQQLA $b fre $c CaOONL [Record created by Laval University in French and transcribed by the Library and Archives Canada.] 040 ## $a CaOONL $b eng $c CaOONL [Cataloging produced in English and input by the Library and Archives Canada.]
After further investigation, the RDA MARC Working Group concluded that field 040 (Cataloging source) subfield $b (Language of catalog) serves for the language context of a record per the RDA description of language context.
2.11. Identification of Supplied Data
The JSC explained in Section 3.13 of Discussion Paper 2008-DP04:
It has been widely acknowledged that the convention of using square brackets to identify supplied data or corrected data is not understood by users. The number of instances where square brackets have been previously called for is reduced in RDA. There are two different situations when a convention may be needed to indicate supplied data: (1) identifying when an entire element or sub-element has been supplied; (2) identifying when only a portion of the data within an element or sub-element has been supplied. For the second situation, square brackets will continue to be used.
JSC requests that MARBI consider defining coding (e.g., control characters) to identify when an entire element or sub-element has been supplied. Such coding would eliminate the need to use square brackets to identify supplied entire elements or sub-elements.
The MARC Advisory Committee suggested using a Unicode controlled character to identify supplied data, although it was not clear what advantage this has over the use of square brackets for the end user. During its meeting, the JSC representatives agreed to further study this issue.
During its April 2008 meeting, the JSC discussed MARBI’s unease with defining a “coding” option to indicate supplied data. The JSC, however, agreed to leave the wording in the instruction (i.e., “indicate that fact either by means of an annotation or by some other means” (e.g., through coding or the use of square brackets)).
After further investigation, the RDA MARC Working Group concluded that no change to the MARC 21 formats should be made since use of square brackets or other coding mechanisms to indicate supplied data are institutional system and implementation issues.
The JSC explained in Section 3.14 of Discussion Paper 2008-DP04:
RDA has been designed to establish a clear separation between the presentation and recording of data. Guidelines for presenting RDA content in MARC 21 and ISBD displays (including punctuation) will be given in an appendix.
It is assumed that MARC 21 documentation will continue to provide guidance on punctuation and that those input conventions would be considered as an “add on” to the instructions in RDA for recording the data for the element.
The MARC Advisory Committee agreed that an appendix about ISBD punctuation would be very useful in the RDA documentation. The committee was reminded that the MARC Input Conventions are guidelines only and are not compulsory.
Since ISBD punctuation will be dealt within an appendix in the RDA documentation and no changes of punctuation will be initiated by RDA, the RDA MARC Working Group concluded that no changes of punctuation practices are required in MARC 21. Punctuation guidelines may however need to be organized differently in the documentation for they currently occur in several places, such as the main body of the text and under the Input Conventions sections.
As discussed in Section 2.4 of this paper, a new description convention code for RDA may be defined for use in field 040 (Cataloging source) subfield $e (Description convention). The inclusion of ISBD punctuation will be indicated as it currently is in field Leader/18 (Descriptive cataloging form) value “i” (ISBD).
2.13. RDA Technique
The JSC explained in Section 3.15.4 of Discussion Paper 2008-DP04:
Technique (RDA 6.15), defined as an attribute of an expression, is the method used to create a graphic image (e.g., engraving) or to realize motion in a projected image (e.g., animation, live action). There is currently no place in the MARC 21 authority format to record this data.
The MARC Advisory Committee agreed that defining subfields for the new RDA authority elements could provide granularity of RDA. Users could choose more or less granularity since different communities have different needs. After some discussion, the RDA MARC Working Group defined technique as an attribute of expression used to describe content. Because of this, the Working Group decided that technique should be recorded in MARC 21 bibliographic field 500 (General note).