Conventional Collective Titles in RDA: a Discussion Paper (part 1 & 2)

6JSC/BL/Discussion/1-part 1

1 August 2015

Conventional Collective Titles in RDA: a Discussion Paper (part 1)

6JSC/BL/Discussion/1-part 2

Conventional Collective Titles in RDA: a Discussion Paper (part 2)


Submitted by Alan Danskin, British Library

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24 Responses to Conventional Collective Titles in RDA: a Discussion Paper (part 1 & 2)

  1. John Myers says:

    Isn’t this essentially what New Zealand was arguing in its proposal last year?

  2. John Myers says:

    Although this paper is predicated on implementation in a database environment, what are the implications for card and dictionary catalogs? Do we care? Should we care? Should the possibility of CCTs be allowed as an alternative?

    • Kathy Glennan says:

      A related question: what’s the impact on classification decisions? I know this isn’t strictly speaking RDA’s problem, but we’ve seen the fallout in this area from the decision to no longer have “performer main entry” for example.

      I certainly would still like to see all of the complete collections of Dickens’ novels shelved together, rather than shelved by the given title.

      • Robert Bratton says:

        Kathy, I think the short answer is: we can class and cutter however we want. We’ve had some discussions along these lines at GW Law, and we’ve come to view cutters as things of local concern.

  3. Matthew Haugen says:

    I know this is a controversial topic but I continue to support getting rid of CCTs. So while I was sorry to see the New Zealand proposal fail last year, I can see how the minor revisions to the instructions didn’t really solve the problems that proposal sought to address, whereas this discussion paper goes a lot further.

    If our proposal to remove Laws, etc. is accepted, I think that’s a helpful precedent toward following principle over a convention.

    • Tina Shrader says:

      I agree with this, and so do the colleagues I’ve discussed this with at NLM.

      We don’t see CCTs as being helpful to users in an online environment, and would support the idea of getting rid of them entirely. We don’t think they should be allowed in alternative instructions either.

  4. Steve Kelley says:

    I fully agree with Matthew. I think it is essentially the same as the Laws, etc. proposal, and I like his phrase “following a principle over a convention.” For that reason, I would say no to John Meyer’s question “Should the possibility of CCTs be allowed as an alternative?” I would think that if the alternative were allowed, many (if not most) libraries would retain the CCTs for ease’s sake, rather than for a principled reason.

  5. Elizabeth O'Keefe says:

    Art librarians were interested in this paper. We do not have as much need for CCTs as communities that deal with music or with literature, so would hesitate to endorse a wholesale elimination of CCTs. However, there is one type of art-related CCT not mentioned in the paper that we would gladly dispense with: the type of CCT used to indicate that a publication includes, or consists largely of, reproductions of the work of an artist, e.g. [Artist]. Works, or [Artist]. Sculptures. Selections. We feel these CCTs are misleading (the publication does not contain the artist’s works, it contains 2-dimensional images depicting with varying levels of accuracy the works, or portions of the works), and unhelpful (virtually every art book contains some reproductions of art works, so these headings simply clutter the catalog). We found the writer’s comparison of CCTs with RDA 6.3 particularly illuminating. If RDA 6.3, instead of a CCT, were used to provide access to the form of the resource being described, we doubt that “Sculptures” would be recorded as the Form of Work for a catalogue of Cellini’s sculptures. This suggests that it should not be used as the CCT either.

    The issue of how to provide access to reproductions of art works is of great importance to art librarians, since these reproductions are the lifeblood of art documentation. It could well be that neither CCTs or RDA 6.3 are the right way to achieve this, but we thank the writer for taking a fresh look at CCTs.

  6. Robert Bratton says:

    As someone who was involved with drafting proposals to eliminate “Laws, etc.” and “Treaties, etc.” I will say that I don’t see the point of using CCTs in our current and foreseeable contexts. What we were trying to accomplish with “Laws, etc.” and “Treaties, etc.” can be done better with genre/form AAPs. However, I do not want to speak for any other community that uses CCTs that I am unfamiliar with.

    Each CCT should be evaluated individually, which I assume is what would have to happen in an actual change proposal.

  7. Tracey L. Snyder says:

    From Damian Iseminger, Chair of the JSC Music Working Group:

    Count me in the camp that CCTs should probably be deprecated from RDA, mostly because I think that we are misrepresenting compilations by not identifying them with the title by which that compilation is known. However I have some reservations with BL’s assertion that CCTs no longer perform any useful purpose.

    I believe that BL’s analysis of CCTs is incomplete. While CCTs did serve as filing titles for collocation of works in a single form, they also served as a mechanism for finding “sets” of resources. If a user wanted to know how many sets of complete works existed for an author or a composer, the CCT made it quite easy to answer that question. To put it in FRBR, there is a SELECT task that CCTs can fulfill, namely selecting sets of resources that are complete works or complete in one form.

    I sense from the DP that BL was aware of this, especially since it proposes a solution for a resource that contains the complete works of a single person by using “complete works” in the form attribute. However I think that this solution is rather silly. Why is a term like this justified, but not “complete novels”? Or “complete symphonies”? The rub is that there are use cases where want to know that a resource is complete or incomplete. Somehow we need a way to convey this information and I don’t think that using “complete” or “incomplete” along with a form term in the form attribute is a tenable solution.

    So somehow we need to provide a way to select resources or groups of resources that are complete or incomplete. Perhaps a better solution would be to have an additional element or elements in RDA chapter 7 for recording completeness. I think this would be better because not only could you retrieve sets of complete works by a single composer, you could retrieve all resources in a collection that are complete works. This could maybe also be extended to compilations that are complete works in a single form.

  8. Tracey L. Snyder says:

    At least a few other MLA people have also expressed readiness to do away with CCTs. One person remarked that her music cataloging department stopped using CCTs over a year ago (except for complete works/sets) and has not missed them.

  9. Kathy Glennan says:

    This discussion paper affects two major things:
    1. The determination of the preferred title for a aggregate work, which leads to…
    2. The construction of an AAP for an aggregate work

    The JSC already has a WG on Aggregates (note: I have not read their paper yet). Shouldn’t this analysis be referred to them?

  10. Kathy Glennan says:

    After reading this analysis, I again wonder how to get “genre” into RDA in a more prominent way.

    I had to consult the RDA Glossary to determine what exactly is encompassed by the concept of form of work: “A class or genre to which a work belongs.”

    Is “completeness” a class of work? Are laws? Where does the subject nature of some aggregate works come in to play?

    • Robert Bratton says:

      I don’t think “completeness” is a class of work. I think that whether or not something is “complete” or not can be brought out in a variety of ways that don’t require making up generic “titles.”

      There are 1) genre/form AAPs, 2) contents notes, 3) summary notes, 4) how the resource presents itself, etc.

      However, you could argue that “Complete works” and “Selected works” should be genre/form AAPs, but you would have to determine their applicability.

      For what it is worth, Wikipedia defines the concept:

    • Robert Bratton says:

      The more I ponder this…

      “I want to access the complete works of Charles Dickens” is a reasonable user request. If the CCT for “Works” goes away, what will replace it in order to satisfy the FRBR user tasks?

      Would genre/form AAPs like “Complete works” and “Selected works” accomplish this?

      I can’t imagine a user asking for the “Selected works” of So-and-So. It seems in those cases they would be seeking either specific titles, or a certain subset (Shakespeare’s history plays), or a specific edition (the one edited by Nicholas Rowe, published in 1709).

  11. Kathy Glennan says:

    I think some situations may still benefit from the use of CCTs (at least in relation to AAPs). These were not mentioned in the discussion paper. They include:

    1) Compilations of works by one creator that do not have a collective title. Example: El laberinto de la soledad ; Postdata ; Vuelta a El laberinto de la soledad / Octavio Paz. (OCLC #29353638)

    2) Compilations of translations of works by one creator, with or without a collective title.
    Example: Conte bleu ; Le premier soir ; Maléfice / Marguerite Yourcenar ; préface de Josyane Savigneau. (OCLC #30918635).
    Example: Der Goldkäfer und andere grausige Geschichten / Edgar Allan Poe. (OCLC #45123579)

    3) Compilations of works by one creator with the same titles but different content.
    Tales / of Hoffmann (Mademoiselle de Scudery — The sandman — The Artushof — Councillor Krespel — The entail — Doge and Dogaressa — The mines at Falun — The choosing of the bride.)
    Tales / E.T.A. Hoffmann ; edited by Victor Lange. (Introduction / Victor Lange — The golden pot — Councillor Krespel — Mademoiselle de Scudéri — The mines of Falun — The fermata — The deed of entail — The sandman.)
    Tales / of E.T.A. Hoffmann ; edited and translated by Leonard J. Kent and Elizabeth C. Knight. ; illustrated by Jacob Landau. (Foreword by R. Wellek — Ritter Gluck — The golden pot — The sandman — Councillor Krespel — The mines of Falun — Mademoiselle de Scuderi — The doubles.)
    Tales / of Hoffmann ; newly selected and translated from the German by Michael Bullock. (The sandman — Mademoiselle de Scudéry –Datura fastuosa –The king’s bride –Gambler’s luck.)
    Tales / of Hoffmann ; edited by Christopher Lazare, illustrated by Richard Lindner. (Biographical note — Mademoiselle de Scudéry — Don Juan — Antonia’s song — The golden pot — The doubles — The vow — The fermata — Berthold the madman — Salvator Rosa — The legacy.)

    • Matthew Haugen says:

      My main complaint about CCTs rests on their (mis)use for the average poetry or short story book that has a distinctive title proper, and does not present itself as collected or selected works. Kathy brings up some helpful counter-examples as to cases when conventional titles might continue to be useful.

  12. Diane Napert says:

    Diane’s comments: I agree with Kathy that there are benefits to using CCTs in some instances. I also like Damian’s point that they serve as a mechanism to find sets, at least for catalogers and perhaps for other librarians. From a personal perspective, in the cataloging module I can quickly get a general sense of aspects of the collection (especially music). So I would say CCTs perform a “useful” purpose in some instances to some sub-groups. Looking at this from the discoverability angle, I think they are less “useful” for the general public. I do think the use of the term “Complete works” would be helpful for the general user of the catalog vs. “Works”
    From Jennifer Vaughn-ARSC Cataloging Committee:
    The paper seems to argue that CCTs no longer have any useful purpose and should be deprecated, but then admits that more work needs to be done to evaluate the impact on music. Yes, indeed. I don’t think a real discussion of CCTs can occur without talking about how we use them in music.

  13. Larisa Walsh says:

    I agree with Kathy that this proposal directly relates to determining the preferred title for a work, and constructing an AAP, and should be referred to JSC Aggregates Group.
    In general, I support the BL proposal. CCTs are more of a hindrance than a help, for users. User usually doesn’t search by “Works. Selections”, he/she searches by Tales of Hoffman, plus the year, or editor. Researchers will never give a citation: Hoffmann, E. T. A. (Ernst Theodor Amadeus), 1776-1822. Short stories. Selections. They will cite the work using the title proper – Hoffmann, E. T. A. (Ernst Theodor Amadeus), 1776-1822. Two mysterious tales. – New York : Bernhardt Publishers, 1926. Where publisher and year will give sufficient information to differentiate from other works with the same titles. Is collocation in browse lists more important than user needs and RDA principle of representation?
    I wholeheartedly agree with the 2.6 of the proposal “Impact on cataloguers”. RDA “the preferred title the title or form of title in the original language by which the work is commonly identified either through use in resources embodying the work or in reference sources” doesn’t make sense. It’s unreasonable to expect that a newly published work will be extensively cited in reference sources. Do catalogers even have time to perform this kind of research? looks like we are not trusting the author who wanted the title to be that way. I think a newly published collection should be identified by title proper, not by a cataloger devised “conventional” title.

    However, I agree that keeping collective titles for complete works has bigger merit, and further discussion is needed.

  14. Lori Robare says:

    From Kevin Randall, PCC member:

    While I agree with my whole heart on the general direction in which the discussion paper wants to go, I disagree with deprecating CCTs wholesale. Rather, what must be done is to revise and to make it very clear to casual readers of RDA exactly when the instructions in and are to be applied. As it is, it takes *very* careful reading and study of the examples to understand that the instructions are to be followed when a collection lacks a title that applies to the whole collection (that is, the collection gives only the titles of the separate works included–if it gives any titles at all–*and* there is no name for the collection ). When a collection is given a title proper, be it generic or specific (“Complete works”, “The novels of Charles Dickens”, “Just an ordinary day”), that collection *is* “commonly identified by a title or form of title in resources embodying that compilation or in reference sources.” (RDA

    The phrases “commonly identified” and “in reference sources” do not mean that the cataloger must do any research to determine if there is any “community” or scholarly agreement that the new collection of Shirley Jackson stories and essays is to be known as “Let me tell you” despite the fact that the publisher calls it that; the phrases simply mean that a particular collection that is untitled may be commonly referred to by a certain title in reference sources, or that a collection bearing a particular title proper may in fact be commonly known by another title (just as the single play “The tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark” is commonly known as “Hamlet”). Nor is there a requirement that there be two or more manifestations of the collection sharing the same title proper before deciding to use that title as the preferred title; the plural form “resources” seems to get too much read into it by some catalogers.

    While they may very serve a purpose as *variant* access points, CCTs are a huge failure in fulfilling the purpose of the AAP, and should not be allowed in the AAP–even as an alternative!–when the collection already has its own title. A formulation such as “Short stories. Selections” is only saying: “This collection is a subset of the larger virtual ‘work’ that is the entirety of the author’s short stories.” It does not, and it does not intend to, *identify* this particular collection. It’s only a method of relating the collection to the larger, virtual work that is the author’s total body of works.

    In regard to a couple of things that Kathy has brought up:

    1) Classification and cuttering: Any effect on these is not, and must not be, a concern of RDA.

    2) Compilations of works by one creator with the same titles but different content: This is taken care of by using other elements (6.3-6.6) in the AAP, just as for any other resources with the same preferred title.

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