Proposal: Creating instructions for using nominative case for titles (RDA 6.2), names (RDA 8.5), and places (RDA 16.2)

Tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Proposal: Creating instructions for using nominative case for titles (RDA 6.2), names (RDA 8.5), and places (RDA 16.2)

  1. Robert Rendall says:

    If the JSC agrees with LC that all these specific instructions and examples aren’t needed (and they still don’t cover other similar grammatical adjustments we might want to make in access points, in some languages, that don’t actually involve case), is there some sort of more general statement that we could put in RDA to cover the common-sense approach to this sort of situation that everyone is taking anyway? The basic principle seems to be that you make adjustments to the attested form, if necessary, so that it will “make sense” standing alone as an access point, out of its original context.

  2. Kathy Glennan says:

    It seems to me that RDA needs guidance in this area as much as it needs guidance for capitalization. In both cases, the guidance is especially needed for those who are not intimately familiar with the conventions of the language being represented.

    (Actually, it’s probably more important to have the nominative case guidance, since that affects the form of the term(s) and thus potential retrieval — the same can’t be said for capitalization.)

  3. Kathy Glennan says:

    Is there some language we could suggest in Chapters 5 & 8 that could address the general guidance Robert wonders about above? (Alas, there isn’t an equivalent “catch all” chapter for Chapter 16).

    This could take the form of adding a separate paragraph in 5.4 & 8.4 (Language and Script) that could address normally using the nominative case.

    Does anyone have wording suggestions or other ideas?

  4. Robert Rendall says:

    Comments from Adam Schiff, University of Washington:

    All of the constituents except LC support the proposal. When I read the examples in the LC proposal, I too wondered about whether they were appropriate. DNB has commented on this and I agree with them. Different examples are probably appropriate for the titles. We’d want titles that are actually for the work that the examples illustrate.

    A possible replacement for the first example is:

    Vergilii ├ćneida

    A picture of the title page is at

    The first example could be changed to:

    Title appears on resource as: Vergilii ├ćneida

    Another similar example that could be used:

    Title appears on resource as: P. Vergili Maronis Aeneidos

  5. Robert Rendall says:

    Comments from John Attig, Penn State University:

    I tend to agree with LC that this instruction should not be needed. And I have always had trouble with the examples proposed by ALA; one would not be likely to choose a name or form of name based on the titles cited.

  6. Matthew Haugen says:

    I agree that there should be some guidance here, especially in RDA’s efforts to be more international in scope. I also take LC’s point that these instructions appear to require adjustment of case for variant names/titles as well, since instructions for variants (e.g. point back to these instructions. Generally, I think variant names/titles will often also need to be changed to nominative case for the same reasons as the preferred names/titles. And I’m not sure that it’s very useful to record variants in other cases. But if that is in fact desired, the exception “Unless it is to be accessed under another case” could be considered to allow variants to be recorded in another case for that purpose. To clarify this, we could add examples of variant names/titles in different cases under the instructions for Alternative Lingusitic Form (,,,,

    Alternatively, if it is considered too difficult to account for case within the main text of RDA, could the instructions instead point to a new appendix, similar to instructions which point to the appendix on capitalization when relevant? Even if the appendix can’t treat all languages exhaustively, common cases could be illustrated, and external references/guides could be cited for more complex cases.

  7. Robert L. Maxwell says:

    Reading DNB’s response to ALA 35 and remembering the bewilderment of some at ALA about ALA 35, I realize people aren’t understanding the problem. It is true that the examples DNB cites were not about choosing the preferred title for the work represented by the full title (e.g. Adnotationes ad Vergilii Aeneidem). The point is that the term “Aeneidem” (e.g.) can be used by a cataloger as evidence *for the preferred or a variant title for the work Aeneis* and if so, should be converted to the nominative case, not recorded “Aeneidem”. It is not about choosing the preferred title for Adnotationes ad Vergilii Aeneidem. This is not evidence that the instruction is not needed.

    Regarding Adam’s suggested examples:

    “Vergilii Aeneida” comes from a Polish title page–I’m not sure where “Aeneida” comes from, but I don’t think it’s a Latin form.

  8. Robert L. Maxwell says:

    I think CCC’s proposed rewordings are better than what we came up with.

  9. Robert L. Maxwell says:

    On LC’s response:

    I don’t agree that the proposal is attempting to address an issue created by a lack of language knowledge rather than application of RDA. It is perfectly possible for me to be fluent in Latin and not know that in cataloging practice we record preferred and variant names/titles in the nominative case. Obviously you have to know the language in order to *apply* the instruction, but that isn’t the same thing.

    ALA’s proposal does not contain grammar rules.

    One reason for not recording other forms as variants is that it won’t be done consistently but users encountering it once may assume it *is* a consistent practice. As a matter of fact current practice is to record variants in the nominative case and not another, so recording them haphazardly in other cases, sometimes, is not very helpful, though perhaps not fatal. Matthew’s suggestion shows a way to cover this.

Leave a Reply