Proposal by BL: Post-nominal letters as Other Designation (Additional examples for RDA and, and addition to Appendix E)

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27 Responses to Proposal by BL: Post-nominal letters as Other Designation (Additional examples for RDA and, and addition to Appendix E)

  1. John Myers says:

    I would think that “post-nominal letters” would qualify under “”other term indicative of rank, honour, or office” rather than “other designation”. This is consistent with their treatment of being “precede[d] by a comma and a space” rather than “enclose[d] in parentheses”. Maybe such an example can be added to as an easier solution?

    Failing that, at the very least, we could better organize E.1.2.2 so that there is a cluster for dates, a cluster of titles/terms preceded by a comma, and a cluster of designations enclosed in parentheses — the current hodge-podge with the tacked on post-nominal line is unsatisfactory.

    • Kathy Glennan says:

      I agree with John; this seems to fit better with “title” than with “other designation” — although neither of them are particularly great solutions.

      • Kathy Glennan says:

        I f we were to approach this as a solution under “title”, then we’d need to modify the scope statement at to include this category. That instruction currently reads:
        Title of the person is a word or phrase indicative of royalty, nobility, or ecclesiastical rank or office, a term of address for a person of religious vocation, or another term indicative of rank, honour, or office.

        I’d be inclined to add a separate paragraph to include the two AACR2 categories that were previously dropped here — something like:
        Title of the person includes initials of an academic degree and initials denoting membership in an organization.

        However, the usual caveat applies to this suggestion: anything that is not the same between AACR2 & RDA should be assumed to be intentional. During RDA development, these two categories were not included in this set of instructions at 9.4, presumably because they aren’t particularly strong examples of “titles” and fit better as “other designations”.

  2. Kathy Glennan says:

    On the BL comment under the Justification paragraph:
    Yes, I think that Saint should be considered a title of a person; I agree that this has been misclassified as “Other Designation” associated with the person.

  3. Kathy Glennan says:

    There appear to be two categories from AACR2 22.19B1 that aren’t directly addressed in RDA: initials of an academic degree & initials denoting membership in an organization. [However, religious orders are addressed in and other terms of rank in .]

    The terminology “post-nominal” is new to AACR2/RDA. Wikipedia says” Post-nominal letters, also called post-nominal initials, post-nominal titles, or designatory letters, are letters placed after the name of a person to indicate that the individual holds a position, educational degree, accreditation, office, military decoration, or honour, or is a member of a religious institute.”

    So, I think there’s some overlap in this wording and some of the existing RDA instructions. If that’s the case, then I think more specific wording is needed in RDA — maybe a separate sub-instruction?

  4. Kathy Glennan says:

    I am not comfortable with the proposed change to Appendix E (which then spills over into the rest of the proposal). There are no instances where the same RDA element has different punctuation conventions based on content. I think it is inadvisable to try to start that now. If different punctuation is needed for the post-nominal letters, then either a separate instruction is needed for this, or this situation needs to be addressed in an existing instruction that gives the desired result.

    • John Myers says:

      I strongly concur with Kathy’s observation here (on August 11, 2014 at 7:38 pm). I would favor modification of the existing instructions to align with the punctuation treatments.

  5. Kathy Glennan says:

    Query about statement in Impact paragraph:
    The BL states that “post-nominal letters are felt to be useful data to record at the element level”. I don’t see how this proposal changes any of the status of these letters, which can be recorded per and

    It seems to me that the lone argument for this change is the punctuation conventions for the authorized access points. I would appreciate hearing from others if they read this differently.

  6. Kathy Glennan says:

    So, I’ve thought of several different approaches, which have been touched on above. Which does CC:DA prefer — if any?

    1. Modify 9.4 to include something about post-nominal letters — effectively considering them a type of title.

    2. Create a separate sub-instruction (probably in 9.6) to specifically call out academic degrees and whatever else we think is lacking. This would likely require an additional instruction in 9.19 as well.

    3. Do nothing; just get people to change the punctuation for “Ph.D” [etc.] from being preceded by a comma to being surrounded by parentheses. After all, this information is only added to the AAP for disambiguation purposes (, and similar punctuation changes associated with other MARC21 authorities field 100 $c content have already taken place.

    4. Accept the BL proposal, probably with some suggested tweaks.

    Are there any other solutions to consider?

    • John Myers says:

      As my initial comment indicates, my sympathies lie with a broad interpretation of ”other term indicative of rank, honour, or office” to encompass post-nominal letters.

    • Robert Rendall says:

      I would prefer a separate sub-instruction. I don’t think letters indicating academic degrees (Ph.D.) or level of membership in a society (F.R.S.C.) fit in comfortably with noble and ecclesiastical titles, no matter how much we stretch the definition of “title.”

  7. Adolfo Tarango says:

    Reacting to Robert’s statement, it seems a cultural bias to view academic degrees or level of membership is a society as any less of a “title” than noble or religious titles. Frankly, my own cultural lens ascribes much more rank and honor to academic degrees than noble or religious titles, but that’s me, but that puts me in agreement with John Meyer’s view and suggested approach.

  8. Steve Kelley says:

    I tend to agree with Adolfo and John Meyers, which would fit with the first option Kathy offered.

  9. Robert Bratton says:

    I share Kathy’s concern: “Anything that is not the same between AACR2 & RDA should be assumed to be intentional.” But when I go back to AACR2, I don’t find an instruction about using things like academic degrees or membership in a society to qualify identical names. I was wondering if this was a NACO policy, so I checked the NACO Participant’s Manual. It is *implied* there that you could use them but gives no concrete examples (p. 47):
    Do not translate distinguishing terms such as titles of address or office that appear with personal names in conjunction with the name in statements of responsibility or in reference sources that potentially could be used as part of the heading or in a reference. Distinguishing terms may be needed to resolve a conflict. Transcribe the terms as they appear.
    Examples of Titles of Address:
    kand. biol. nauk
    Prof. Dr.

    The only place I find post nominal letters mentioned in RDA is at (which is under Title) for “initials and/or abbreviations that indicate membership in a Christian religious order.” This is the same practice as from AACR2 22.16D1.

  10. Kathy Glennan says:

    Robert, see AACR2 22.19B1 (emphasis mine):
    If neither a fuller form of name nor dates are available to distinguish between identical headings of which the entry element is a surname, add a qualifier (e.g., term of honour, term of address, title of position or office, initials of an academic degree, initials denoting membership in an organization) that appears with the name in works by the person or in reference sources. Add the qualifier after the last element of the name.

  11. Robert Bratton says:

    Kathy — aha! You’re right. So why did “they” intentionally leave that out of RDA? This seems very strange since RDA allows so many more qualifiers than AACR2.

  12. Kathy Glennan says:

    I’m thinking that this will be easier to incorporate as a new sub-instruction in 9.6 — something like: Initials Representing an Academic Degree or Membership in an Organization
    Record initials representing an academic degree or membership in an organization.

    • Kathy Glennan says:

      I would not change the core element statement at 9.6, but I would add this instruction reference to

      • Kathy Glennan says:

        However, I don’t like how this approach would fit into 9.19 (it seems like it would need to go in Other Designation Associated with the Person, but it really isn’t like those things.

  13. Kathy Glennan says:

    An alternative approach would be to modify the existing, Other Term of Rank, Honour, or Office, along the lines of the following:

    Record a term indicative of rank, honour or office, or initials representing an academic degree, or membership in an organization, if the terms appear with the name. Record the term in the language in which it was conferred or in the language used in the country in which the person resides.


    Improved wording suggestions welcomed!

    • Kathy Glennan says:

      If we put this instruction here, I would add the following as the 2nd paragraph in

      Title of the person includes initials representing an academic degree and initials denoting membership in an organization.

      With this approach, the core element statement would not need to be changed. Also, there would be no need to change Appendix E, because this instruction “Other term of rank, honour, or office” is already present in the table and uses a comma before the RDA element.

      • Kathy Glennan says:

        The only other change that I think would be needed is the first sentence of, to read:
        Add a term indicative of rank, honour, or office, or initials representing an academic degree, or membership in an organization, if the term appears with the name (see if it is needed to distinguish one access point from another.

        The BL example of “Williams, Helen, M. Phil.” could be added to this example box.

  14. Robert L. Maxwell says:

    I actually don’t see why putting these letters in a parenthetical qualifier “is not appropriate for post-­‐nominal letters” as Alan says. Yes, it’s different from what we did under AACR2 but why does that make it “not appropriate”?

    Bob, SAC

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