Capitalization Instructions and RDA

29 July 2015

Capitalization Instructions and RDA


Submitted by Pat Riva, Chair, JSC Capitalization Instructions Working Group

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8 Responses to Capitalization Instructions and RDA

  1. Robert L. Maxwell says:

    p. 3 “in some writing systems the issue is irrelevant”. True, but guidance is still needed for capitalization of romanized forms of those systems.

    p. 5. Length. Length is no more or less of an issue in the tools tab than in Appendix K. In either case this will take up the same amount of space.

    p. 5. Sort order. Sort order may be an issue, but why not just list them in alphabetical order by the name of the language in any given translation of RDA, with internal numbering within each language, but without assigning an appendix number (or letter) to the individual language? In translations of RDA, as in the English version, the language of the translation could be given first, with the rest in alphabetical order of the language name in the language of the translation.

    On the whole I prefer these to be in Appendix A because it’s far more obvious there and is part of the “official” RDA. Many catalogers are and will remain barely aware of the contents of the Tools tab, and so shifting capitalization rules there will effectively hide them from many.

    • Kathy Glennan says:

      I think that Bob is right about the “length” argument. It’s hard to envision how a Tools Tab solution (which presents the English-language version of the capitalization guidelines in an English-language subscription) would differ in length from a scenario where these same guidelines are accommodated in Appendix A. In both cases, I don’t think the guidelines developed for the RDA translations (French, German, etc.) would be presented to English-language subscriptions as a default.

      Sort order is more of a problem, since numbered guidelines/instructions have used the same numbers in RDA to date. Bob’s solution above is reasonable, but it doesn’t follow the current practices of numbering in the Toolkit.

  2. Kathy Glennan says:

    I know that the capitalization guidelines are important to many, but I personally think that RDA spends too much time and effort on creating and maintaining this particular Appendix. Surely there are language style guides that could be used instead, by those who care. Capitalization practices should rarely affect the FR user tasks.

    That being said, this is certainly a minority opinion (after all, there’s a JSC working group to deal with this situation!), and I’ll be happy to hear from those of you who have particular opinions to include in the ALA response to this proposal.

  3. Kathy Glennan says:

    I would personally prefer the hybrid Appendix A/Tools Tab solution. Keeping the language-specific instructions in the Tools Tab would be a lot simpler to maintain. It would also help clarify that following Appendix A is optional in the first place.

  4. Matthew Haugen says:

    I don’t have strong feelings about how capitalization guidelines should be implemented in the toolkit, and I agree with Kathy that Capitalization practices don’t affect all user tasks.

    Thankfully, 1.7.1 and Appendix A.1 already provide options to use in-house capitalization guidelines (including Take what you see, copy and paste, etc.) or another published style guide (e.g. MLA, Chicago Manual of Style, DCRM(B), etc.) so RDA need not treat all languages exhaustively with limited resources and expertise.

  5. Robert Bratton says:

    Page 2: Incorrect examples. If the WG has identified obvious errors, can’t those be correct via FastTrack.

    I feel Kathy’s pain that RDA (and AACR2) seem to belabor things like capitalization, but it really is important to try to get this right. I know that I lose confidence in data that is incorrectly capitalized in English.

    I, like Bob Maxwell, would prefer for these to be in Appendix A, rather than the Tools tab.

    I would welcome an “in case of doubt” provision, but then again I always want “in case of doubt” provisions!

  6. John Myers says:

    I can’t disagree with any of the previous comments. We expend way too much energy on this issue. But having said that, the primary guidance should be within the RDA text rather than the Tools Tab, with some hybridization possible for language communities that have not yet adopted RDA (or for those largely outside the scope of RDA adopters).

  7. Mary Anne Dyer says:

    I agree with the previous comments. I would prefer for this information to be in Appendix A. I am also in favor of an “in case of doubt” provision.

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