Revision Proposal from the TF on Machine-Actionable Data Elements in RDA Chapter 3

CC:DA/TF/Machine-Actionable Data Elements in RDA Chapter 3/6/rev
July 17, 2015

Revision Proposal from the TF on Machine-Actionable Data Elements in RDA Chapter 3


Earlier proposal: Task Force on Machine-Actionable Data Elements in RDA Chapter 3 : Revision Proposal (June 8, 2015)

Submitted by Francis Lapka and Diane Hillmann, Co-chairs, Task Force on Machine-Actionable Data Elements in RDA Chapter 3

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10 Responses to Revision Proposal from the TF on Machine-Actionable Data Elements in RDA Chapter 3

  1. Chair says:

    From Francis Lapka, co-chair, Task Force on Machine-Actionable Data Elements in RDA Chapter 3

    Changes implemented since Annual


    Changed all occurrences of “set of sub-elements” to “set of measurement sub-elements” (per Glennan suggestion).

    For each occurrence (in the instructions) of “set of measurement sub-elements,” added reference to x.y (per Glennan suggestion).

    3.4 Extent of the Carrier

    Major changes Removed the guidelines for Units and Sets of Units with Identical Content (, prompted by Glennan suggestion. The appropriate location to record such information is in Extent of the Content. (Subunits): Applied a more principled approach to resources for which subunits parallel those issued as a volume (e.g,. PDFs and microfilm) making a distinction between those that reproduce other resources and those that don’t. (Subunits of Volumes): Vastly pared and simplified the instructions for recording number of pages and leaves (as extent subunits) — eliminating all reference to how the resource represents itself (which is handled by pagination and foliation). Per suggestions of Reser and Maxwell. This approach is more principled and fully embraces the distinction between extent and pagination/foliation. (Location of the Part Within the Larger Resource): The proposal suggests that this data should be recorded in a new element associated with relationships: Location within a resource (24.7) — see RBMS proposal.

    Minor changes Added the sentence “Record the term in the singular or plural, as applicable.” (per Glennan comment) 2nd paragraph, final sentence through the end of the instruction: Changed to a reference to instead (per Glannan suggestion). … Folded Leaves: added instruction for the condition of some leaves folded (per Glennan comment) Fixed value “incomplete” to “not yet complete” (per Glannan comment); changed one of the examples to “unknown”. Implemented Glennan suggestion: “I suggest rewording, so that it does not say “Record the extent by giving the extent….” I think the current RDA wording is OK here. Similar rewording needs to happen at 7.x.1.11.3.”

    x Pagination and Foliation

    Major changes

    x.5 Misleading Numbering: The proposal removes the instruction to correct misleading numbering within the pagination element. It would be more consistent with RDA’s current approach to transcription to make such a correction in a note.

    Minor changes

    x: Proposed that the element is core if the resource is complete or the full pagination and foliation is known.

    x.5 Misleading Numbering: Implemented Glennan suggestion: If we’re removing the examples for “48 leaves, that is, 96 pages”, then the “e.g.” statement needs to be updated to remove “when only alternate pages are numbered or”.

    x.6 Incomplete Volume: Per Glennan instruction, implemented instructions for volumes missing pages other than at the end.

    x.8 Complicated or Irregular Paging, Etc.: Removed method ‘a’ (e.g. 1000 pages in various pagings) which can be recorded with a combination of Extent and Pagination & Foliation, if desired.

    x.9: Implemented Glennan suggestion: In Pagination and Foliation, x.9, please do not reintroduce “of text” in the 1st paragraph. Non-textual works can have plates. I suspect that something like “main sequence or sequences” could be used instead.

    3.5 Dimensions

    Major changes

    3.5.1… : For dimensions of the face of the cartridge (etc.), changed the instruction to record height × width (formerly length × height).

    [Still mulling over how best to make the distinction between dimensions of the image and dimensions of the sheet]

    7.x Extent of the Content

    Minor changes

    7.x.1.3.b. Implemented Glennan suggestions: “In 7.x.1.3.b, I think we should remove the final sentence: “Omit the term for measurement type”. This appears to be covered in the subsequent exception. (Or, there should be some other way of reconciling this language.)”

    Not yet implemented (but worth consideration)

    GLENNAN Question 12: I’m uncomfortable using the term “item” in relation to intellectual units, since that’s not what it means in a FRBR context. I’m not quite sure what to suggest instead. If we feel we must use “items” then I think the qualifiers are necessary.

    7.22 Duration

    Major changes

    Throughout: Inspired by Snyder’s MLA suggestion, revised the section with the assumption that there are fundamentally two types of duration: (plain) duration, a measured temporal length; and intended duration, an unmeasured temporal length, based on additional information provided on the resource or by another source. The latter is especially appropriate for resources such as notated music, notated movement, or text of performed material. Deleted examples that exclusively concerned carrier. Modified the remaining examples so that they describe content alone. New question: input from Annual suggests that the deleted examples properly belong as an attribute of the Manifestation. Can we have a note on the duration of a carrier without having a duration of the carrier element (which we certainly won’t have now — in time for this proposal)?

    • Gayle Porter says:

      Regarding Glennan’s question 12: Yes, it is worth considering what term to use instead of “item” or how to qualify it. Per a thesaurus I consulted, the most favorable synonyms included “component” and “piece,” although the latter conveys the idea of something physical, which would be too narrow for our use with data elements.

  2. Steve Kelley says:

    This is an enormous amount of material to digest, but it has been worked over for years now. Because it is so large a package of changes, I suspect that it will be tinkered with by other constituencies, but I appreciate the ambition of the project. I feel good about the proposal as it stands, and think it is ready to go forward (with the understanding that the current version may not be the version that actually makes it into RDA eventually).

  3. kelleym says:

    I had one more thought about dimensions of cassettes. I think that the current rules were not actually intended to be in conflict with h x w x l, but rather omitted height as uninteresting. When cataloging 3-d materials, it can sometimes be problematic to determine which dimension is height and so on. I was taught to measure the object using whatever its natural orientation seemed to be, but you definitely see records where catalogers seem to be operating under the principle that height = longest dimension.

    With a book, it’s clear what the height and width are since everyone knows what a book looks like on a shelf. Length then is the one that’s left. With a cassette, I think that the existing rules take as the natural orientation and then omit height as not informative. The proposed change takes as the natural orientation of the cassette.

    I don’t really think it matters so long as we all agree on how we’re orienting the object and the two dimensions currently measured are the ones that we plan to continue measuring.

  4. Tassanee Chitcharoen says:

    I have a comment from Marie Concannon, a member of the GODORT Cataloging Committee that I would like to share with the group. Here are her thoughts.

    As someone who is not a cataloger, I may not have the background to make suggestions. I can however cheer the committee on for addressing some issues I encounter a lot when searching for government publications in digital libraries like Hathi Trust or Internet Archive.

    Because so many government publications were issued as serials without hard binding, many libraries had them bound into appropriate-sized chunks for placement on library shelves, and each library might have broken the set at slightly different places. When these items get digitized, it can lead to some odd “volumes” with breaks in the middle of a year. Hathi has a bookmarking system to help a person get directly to particular issues in the lengthy files, but not all files have this fine level of documentation. For that reason I applaud this effort (taken from page 11 of the attachment you sent, Tassanee) :

    The proposal introduces… an instruction on the distinction between bibliographic volumes and physical volumes…

    The proposal suggests that data recorded for Location of the Part Within the Larger Resource ( should be recorded in a new element associated with relationships: Location within a resource (24.7). is further explained on page 46, with simple examples like “pages 210-450.” Would we want to be able say “pages 210-450 of the pdf” to avoid having it confused with numbers printed on original paper pages?

    Although the catalog in digital libraries is the first thing to come to my mind when reading these suggestions, it’s possible that the authors were considering only physical works when writing this up. The introductory section about the need for cataloging elements to be machine-actionable is what draws me to think of all of this within the digital library context.

    Browsing further, I checked the entries for microfiche, folded sheets, updating loose-leafs, single sheets, complicated or irregular paging, and anything else that can be an issue in government document cataloging. It all looked fine to me.

    Another issue we encounter a lot with docs collections that I’m not sure is addressed here are updated pages intended for a base manual that is nowhere to be found (usually not distributed through the FDLP.) Maybe these would fall under, “Incomplete Resource”?

    I appreciate the detail given to “Numbered leaves or pages of plates” because fold-out plates were often skipped in the early days of digitization and it’s good to have some way of knowing they were ever there, and how many pages were skipped. This enhanced cataloging would have been helpful to me when I was trying to order the images for a 19th century French patent from Cornell University. Describing to them which exact plate I needed when they were not visible in the online “equivalent” (the Google Books copy) was challenging.

    Though all of this comes from a public services librarian who is not fluent in language of cataloging, I hope it is helpful.

    Marie Concannon
    Head, Government Information & Data Archives
    University of Missouri

  5. Kathy Glennan says:

    Some random thoughts…

    A good deal of editorial work will still be needed to turn this in to a formal proposal. This includes providing instruction numbers (rather than placeholders) when the decision is obvious (for example, see:, Portfolios and Cases).

    In its current form, I find that the proposal both gives me both too much and too little information at the same time. (The column comparison is helpful, but the lack of marked up text makes it harder to identify what’s actually changing.) Do others have this reaction? If so, what alternative ways of presenting this information would you suggest for the JSC form of this proposal?

    Do the proposed Pagination and Foliation instructions replace all of 3.4.5? We need to provide specific recommendations about what happens to the existing text as part of the significant reconceptualizing of Chapter 3.

    Missing at the moment are Glossary definitions (new or revised as appropriate), based on the various scope statements.

    Do we anticipate having a Details on Pagination and Foliation instruction in time for the JSC proposal? In any case, we will need to provide a list of things our proposal does not address, probably under the heading of “Future work”.

    Is there any part of this proposal that we hope to be implemented in 2016? If so, we need to focus on formatting the instructions so that they can be put into RDA with as little additional editorial work as possible. If not, then I suppose we can be more “loose” with the formatting and content.

    As the JSC rep, my biggest concern is how to create a formal proposal that will be the most efficient and effective way of guiding the discussion of these complex issues, especially given the limited time this proposal will have on the JSC agenda in November.

    • Dominique Bourassa says:

      From Francis Lapka, Yale Center for British Art, Yale University

      Kathy’s comments on the blog make a lot of sense to me. I apply a blanket “agree.”

      For the form to submit to JSC, I assume that the standard track-changes style (for the portions that are revised) would be most useful. I acknowledge this will take some labor, but I’m happy to do it.

      Yes, Pagination and Foliation replaces 3.4.5 in its entirety.

      I hadn’t anticipated included a Details on Pagination and Foliation instruction; I’d mentally filed it under “Future work.”

      I don’t think it makes sense to implement any part of the proposal in 2016, because so much of it is likely to require additional changes (from tweaks to overhauls).

      As to your last point, would it be useful to compile a list of the issues/questions that the TF finds most pressing or vexing?


    • Gayle Porter says:

      I did like the comparisons in columns, but I would rather see them in the standard track changes form.

      The latest phrase “set of measurement sub-elements,” is an important revision for the sake of more specificity.

  6. Kathy Glennan says:

    I’m starting to think that this may be better as a discussion paper, rather than as a proposal. Four main reasons come to mind:
    * Major changes that need buy-in beyond ALA (e.g., measurement instructions, Pagination and Foliation).
    * Uncertainty about where some of these belong in the text.
    * Incompleteness of the proposal (currently lacking Details of Pagination and Foliation, Glossary definitions, etc.)
    * The unlikeliness of any part of this being implemented in 2016.

    Are there any objections to taking the discussion paper approach? I don’t think that the substance of what we would put forward would change in any significant way.

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