Transcription of Punctuation and Symbols (1.7.3, 1.7.5)

6JSC/CCC/16
4 August 2016 (i.e. 2015)

Transcription of Punctuation and Symbols (1.7.3, 1.7.5)

 

Submitted by Bill Leonard, Canadian Committee on Cataloguing Representative

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14 Responses to Transcription of Punctuation and Symbols (1.7.3, 1.7.5)

  1. Tina Shrader says:

    I think this proposal makes good sense.

  2. Kathy Glennan says:

    The rationale for this proposal is rooted in an understanding of responsiveness to user needs (RDA 0.4.2.1). This essentially contains the various FR user tasks (find, identify, select, obtain, understand). I don’t think “find” comes in to play, since that’s really about preferred names & titles (i.e., not transcription). I think the strongest argument here is for “identify” — specifically:
    “identify the resource described (i.e., confirm that the resource described corresponds to the resource sought, or distinguish between two or more resources with the same or similar characteristics).” How compelling is this argument?

    Since the Alternative already exists to address these situations in 1.7.1, I’m not sure the modifications to 1.7.3 and 1.7.5 are necessary. Isn’t this a question of training?

    I’m also not convinced that any instruction in 2.17 currently would “permit” recording a note about the omission or substitution of punctuation, especially if it encompasses more than one element (e.g., title & statement of responsibility).

    In terms of reproducing symbols affecting clarity (1.7.5), I think that providing the variant titles should solve that problem.

    This whole proposal is closely tied to CCC/19. As I mentioned in my first comment on the blog page for that proposal, this all comes down to what we mean by transcription and why we do it in the first place.

    • Larisa Walsh says:

      I think Exceptions already provide options to omit or add punctuation, if necessary (if it “hinders clarity”).
      If modification of punctuation needs to be stated clearly, then maybe a better option could be to add word “modify” to the Exceptions section: Add or MODIFY punctuation, as necessary, for clarity.
      I agree with Kathy that adding a note on changing punctuation is not in the 2.17. Plus – it can introduce a whole lot other cases which were successfully (I think) handled so far without overexplaining – for example, title in lower case letters instead of capital letters as appears on the piece, and many other.
      Symbols could be a different matter, but 1.7.5 already covers it.
      .

    • Tina Shrader says:

      After further discussion about this proposal with my colleagues here at NLM, we think that it would clarify the instruction, and make it less wordy, to simply change the instruction in 1.7.3 to read, “Add, omit or modify punctuation, as necessary, for clarity.” This would remove the need for an alternative to remove punctuation for clarity and would treat all changes to punctuation in transcribed elements in the same way.

      Like you, though, they wonder if the instruction at 1.7.1 addresses this issue already.

  3. Robert Bratton says:

    This proposal seems reasonable to me, but I don’t think the examples they’ve chosen are the best. Are slashes around SoR elements really hindering clarity? Is an errant equals sign a symbol?

    Kathy, when you mention the alternative already exists, are you referring to the Alternatives at 1.7.1 that allow for agencies creating the data to establish in-house guidelines?

    • Kathy Glennan says:

      Yup; sorry for the short-hand here. I think my comments about this on the page for CCC/19 are relevant, and I guess I forgot which page I put that on!

  4. Matthew Haugen says:

    The RBMS commenters all supported this proposal. Even in rare materials/special collections contexts where high-fidelity transcription of punctuation might be considered especially important for representation and identification, and where tricky cases might be encountered most frequently, the DCRM manuals provide for modernization, omission and/or modification of punctuation in several cases.

    Ellipses and square brackets found on the source could be mistaken for omissions or interpolations by the cataloger, so AACR2 1.1B1 provided specific instructions to replace those marks. This alternative doesn’t go so far as to require that replacement, but at least gives us the option to do so again. It also allows for omission or modification of punctuation serving as line breaks, as well as virgules and other typographic conventions often encountered in early printed works, Gothic typefaces, etc. (e.g. Esq;=Esq.)

    We might like to see additional examples illustrating such cases. It may be that the note on modification or omission of punctuation would very often be “considered important for identification” in rare materials contexts. On the other hand, if modification is the default, maybe the more helpful note would be “Punctuation transcribed as found on the resource” when that is the case and when it’s actually important (e.g. for distinguishing two similar variants, etc.)

    But I agree with Kathy that there doesn’t seem to be a single place in 2.17 for such a general notes. Rather, you’d end up with 2.17.2.5 “Punctuation in title normalized by cataloger.” 2.17.4.4 “Punctuation in edition statement normalized by cataloger.” Etc. So maybe a new element is needed in 2.17? This would also apply to the suggestion I made on making a note for repeated words etc. in CCC/19.

    In terms of representation, we’re also not preserving typeface, point size, italicization, color, line breaks, ligatures, capitalization, etc.. I’m not trying to throw the baby out with the bathwater, but it might be that preserving all punctuation as found on the source might more often be a matter of cataloger convenience than representation. That is, simply take what you see or copy/paste rather than ponder over specific exceptions or belabor typographical eccentricities. The other extreme being a rigorous facsimile transcription system like that in the VD16 which preserves case, uses markup to indicate line breaks, and other conventions to represent the exact typographical layout of the title page, e.g. http://gateway-bayern.de/VD16+L+5182

    • Matthew Haugen says:

      1.7.5, points generally to 2.17 for explanatory notes. And since the current examples are titles, their explanatory notes show up at 2.17.2.5 note on title. So the general reference to 2.17 seems fine here. But when 1.7.3 calls for a note about treatment of punctuation across different elements there doesn’t seem to be a clear home for it in 2.17. Also, such symbols won’t always appear in titles, and the proposed example is based on a symbol found in an imprint; so variant titles won’t always be able to account for symbols affecting clarity.

    • Elizabeth O'Keefe says:

      Agree with Matthew and the other RBMS commenters. We are not necessarily representing what it is there even when adhering to DCRM standards for transcription. For some types of material, even the rigorous facsimile transcription system used in the VD16 would be inadequate. Descriptions of art works will not just transcribe the inscription but record exactly where it appears on the object: lower right, upper left), the writing implement used (pencil, pen), changes in hand (“in a later hand”). More flexibility is better.

  5. John Myers says:

    The examples offered in the exposition and to illustrate the alternative are so confusing that I can barely make out what the proposal is seeking or how it improves the situation. But once I read things through five times and then read the relevant sections of RDA, I can finally determine that the outcome should be allowance for a cataloger to “tidy up” punctuation issues in the original. I suppose I don’t object to the proposal, but if ever there was a case of “damning with faint praise” you can count this.

  6. Peter Fletcher says:

    I agree withTina Shrader’s comments of Aug. 12. Also, essentially agreeing with Kathy that there appears to be enough guidance already in RDA 1.7.3 for altering punctuation for clarity. Perhaps Tina’s recommendation is the best, slightly changing the language to give clear options

  7. Elizabeth O'Keefe says:

    A colleague has asked me to note that in response to 6JSC/CCC/13 , Revision of RDA 1.7.3 (Punctuation), submitted in 2013, ALA suggested rephrasing instruction 1.7.3 to allow the possibility of “Add[ing] or substitute[ing] punctuation, as necessary, for clarity”. Unfortunately, the possibility of substituting punctuation did not receive the approval of the JSC, and the ALA withdrew its suggestion. This is why the CCC came up this time with an alternative.

    • Kathy Glennan says:

      Thanks for that reminder! The rationale on rejecting the ALA suggestion (from my personal notes of the JSC 2013 meeting): other instructions address specific situations; changing this would open the door to wholesale substitution — which is not desirable.

  8. Lori Robare says:

    From Kevin Randall:

    I do not believe that 1.7.1 adequately covers the matters addressed in the proposal, so I believe changes to 1.7.3 and 1.7.5 would be worthwhile.

    For 1.7.3, I like Tina Shrader’s suggestion on 8/12/15 7:12 pm.

    In regard to the question of whether 2.17 allows for a note regarding the handling of punctuation and symbols, this obviously falls into 2.17.2.5, Other Information Relating to a Title: “Make notes on other details relating to a title if considered important for identification or access.”

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