Additional instructions in Chapter 27 for Structured Descriptions of the “Contained in” and “Container of” Relationships

CC:DA/TF/Instructions for Recording Relationships/9
June 6, 2015

Additional instructions in Chapter 27 for Structured Descriptions of the “Contained in” and “Container of” Relationships


Nathan Putnam, Chair, Task Force to Investigate the Instructions for Recording Relationships in RDA

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10 Responses to Additional instructions in Chapter 27 for Structured Descriptions of the “Contained in” and “Container of” Relationships

  1. Robert Bratton says:

    At (pages 10-11) why would the designator “Container of (manifestation)” precede an entire contents note?

  2. Kathy Glennan says:

    For revision #1: FYI, the change to add “Present the data in the order specified by a recognized display standard…” in 24.4.3 came with the RDA rewording project. To see what RDA said before that, check the 2012 instruction archive. If we change this paragraph, a corresponding change will need to be made to the Glossary definition for “structured description”.

    In all of the instructions for “Identifier for the Related [WEMI]”, the explanation of the reference to chapter 6 instructions does not match RDA style and should be struck. For example, should just say “Provide an identifier for the related work by applying the instructions at 6.8.”

    In relation to unstructured descriptions, RDA includes this information: “When using an unstructured description, include information about the nature of the relationship as part of the unstructured description.” Should this information be incorporated into all of the instructions for “Unstructured Description of the Related [WEMI]”? For example, could say: “Provide an unstructured description of the related work (i.e., a full or partial description written as a sentence, paragraph, etc.). Include information about the nature of the relationship as part of the description.” [I’m certainly open to improved wording for this!]

    Personally, I like the explanation in (and the related instructions for the other FRBR Group 1 entities) more than the language used in 24.4.3 about structured descriptions. I wonder if there should be a greater correspondence between the wording of these. After all, if we’re proposing changes to 24.4.3 anyway, we could seek to improve the language there.

    In, I’m not a great fan of using the word “part” (occurs multiple times), although working through the Glossary definitions, it seems OK. Is there any other terminology that could be used instead (related manifestations?), or should I just get over it?

    In the 4th example of, please correct the two occurrences of “songs without works” to “songs without words”. I also wonder if “Songs” should be capitalized in “4 Songs” and “2 Songs”.

    • Tracey L. Snyder says:

      Regarding Kathy’s last two points:

      In, instead of saying “parts,” which I agree is problematic, can we say “Construct a structured description of the contents of the resource being described…?”

      In, 4th example, Kathy is right to suggest that “songs” should be lowercase. (So should “words, when it is changed from the incorrect “works.”)

  3. Dominique Bourassa says:

    On behalf of Francis Lapka, Yale Center for British Arts:

    The issue treated in this proposal is thoroughly woven with the issue of aggregates. The JSC has just implemented an Aggregates Working Group ( While I understand the desire to expeditiously implement a proposal that provides a solution for “contents notes,” I’m wary of going forward with the present proposal before the work of the aggregates working group.

    I remain concerned with the premise that contained in/container of relationships “are most effectively conveyed as related manifestations, using the data provided in the manifestation.” I encourage consideration of the “alternative approach” to aggregates as described in Appendix B of the IFLA Working Group on Aggregates ( To my mind, the model that most accurately and usefully renders our bibliographic reality for aggregates is that proposed in FRBRoo, with its concepts of Publication Expression and Publication Work, and its properties incorporates/is incorporated in (see:

    The descriptions that we compose for contents notes serve primarily to key the user to the content of the resource (as the very label “contents note” suggests). Some of these aggregations of content will be published in multiple manifestations. These are both arguments for recording the container of relationship at a WEMI level intended for content (i.e., not a Manifestation).

    Francis Lapka
    Yale Center for British Art

  4. Dominique Bourassa says:

    I agree with what others have said so far.

    In 24.4, I don’t mind splitting into structured and unstructured description (proposed c) and d). However, the sentence following 24.4 d) does not work anymore. It says: “Record an appropriate relationship designator to specify the nature of the relationship (see 24.5).” But now this sentence follows a description of unstructured description. It seems to imply that even unstructured descriptions contain relationship designators from appendix J. But they don’t always do.

    I do agree with Kathy that the definitions in 24.4.3 should match those in the index.

    I don’t mind adding instructions before each set of examples in chap. 25-28.

    New proposed instructions: and I am afraid I will disagree again on this. I don’t see why we should have special instructions for the contained in (manifestation) relationships. I think all structured descriptions of all related manifestations should follow similar instructions. The instructions in need to be specific enough but at the same time flexible enough to work in all cases.

    When we describe manifestation as instructed in RDA chap. 2, we do include some information that represents the work and expression (title, statement of responsibility, edition, etc.) but as presented on the resources and not as authorized access points. It seems that a structured description of a related manifestation should focus on whatever elements are allowed in chap. 2 (and maybe 3) no matter what the relationship is. I don’t think mentioning expression in c) is appropriate. Could we just refer to chap. 2 to let people know what the appropriate elements are?

    Biggest problem: Some of your examples are relationships at the expression level, not at the manifestation level. As Matthew mentioned why should a “container of (manifestation)” precede an entire contents note? For example, if your last example in were really a “container of (manifestation)” relationship, you would need separate structured descriptions for each manifestations. Obviously this would not work because you only have 1 CD, ergo 1 manifestation with many expressions on it. This should be a structured description of many container of (expression) relationships.

    After reading Francis’ comment, I think it might be better to wait to see what the aggregates working group recommends before sending such a proposal.

  5. Matthew Haugen says:

    Following off of what Francis and Dominique have said, the manifestation (a CD) has several expressions (each with expression-level attributes such as contributor, duration, medium of performance, etc.). But it seems to me the manifestation doesn’t “contain” the expressions but “manifests” them, per the primary relationship between a manifestation and expression, in Chapter 17.

  6. Tracey L. Snyder says:

    OK, I keep trying to enter this comment and am not seeing it show up. Maybe it’s because I tried to include a link to the Midwinter discussion of the prior document. Instead of including the link, I’ll advise people to click on “recording relationships” in the tag cloud.

    Regarding the current discussion of “container of (manifestation),” the CC:DA sentiment at Midwinter was similar. MLA commenters on the present document are also questioning this.

  7. Tracey L. Snyder says:

    Some editorial comments from an MLA member (June 18):

    In the clean copy of the RDA rules, at 24.4.3, some of the underlines from the edited copy have not been removed.

    At The instructions talk about the “item,” but we’re supposed to be covering the work, right?

    At The information for Appendix J is “(see appendix J (J.4.4).” Should it be, (see appendix J.4.4)? Same at

  8. Robert Bratton says:

    Now that I’ve had more time to think about this and digest the discussion from ALA more. . .

    I think RDA gives us a lot of options for making our metadata work, and this is a very good thing. I think it is pretty clear how we would use AAPs and relationship designators to link works/expressions/manifestations (option 1). The glaring omission is when you opt to use a contents note instead of access points (option 2). Therefore, should the instructions about recording contents notes appear instead at RDA 2.17, 6.6, and 6.18?

  9. Tracey L. Snyder says:

    2.17 is also what came to my mind during the discussion in SF. I think that adding a brief instruction and examples for contents notes somewhere in 2.17 would be logical and useful and maybe even simple.

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