Removing Lists of Terms From the Medium of Performance (6.15) Instructions

31 July 2015

Removing Lists of Terms From the Medium of Performance (6.15) Instructions



Submitted by Damian Iseminger, Chair, JSC Music Working Group

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22 Responses to Removing Lists of Terms From the Medium of Performance (6.15) Instructions

  1. John Myers says:

    While I recognize the utility of the solution proposed under Change #1 (p.2; with respect to referring to the Tools tab, I have a frisson of concern for those who wish to use RDA but don’t have Internet access. CC:DA has been a strong advocate for prospective adopters who lack reliable or extent power or data utilities to support online access.

    • Kathy Glennan says:

      I need a sense from CC:DA on this particular issue — there seems to be a growing interest of moving RDA content from the text itself to the Tools Tab.

      We’ve already seen this with lists of the books of the Bible. It’s being discussed in relation to Appendix A’s capitalization instructions. And the idea is here as well, for medium of performance vocabulary.

      The Tools tab is not currently behind a pay wall, but access does require an Internet connection.


      • Robert L. Maxwell says:

        Could some of these things be included with the print or e-book version of RDA?

      • Steve Kelley says:

        How likely is it that many people will be cataloging material without some sort of internet connection? Or, even if they don’t have the internet connection at the moment, that they won’t be able to save their question for when they do have an internet connection? I just don’t think we’re talking about many people who would be affected by this, and the benefits of moving the list of terms to the Tools Tab seem to outweigh the problems.

      • Gayle Porter says:

        I’m OK with moving some of the RDA text to the Tools tab, especially the terms lists; it would be similar to making accessible specific thesauri as a separate entity i.e. TGM, as has been done by the Library of Congress.

  2. John Myers says:

    Throughout the remainder of Change #1, there are multiple instances along the line of “Record an appropriate term …” but without specifying where that term should be sourced. I think the intention is utilize lists along the line of the change for, but the subsequent rules should either refer back to or re-iterate its guidance to use a controlled list from the Tools tab or elsewhere.

  3. Kathy Glennan says:

    The WG opted, not unreasonably, for a solution that is not terribly disruptive to the overall structure of 6.15.

    It might be possible to bring a more logical order to the instructions that remain (such as changing the organization to solo vs. ensemble music, instead of instrumental vs. vocal music). However, such a wholesale revision is outside the scope of the ALA response.

  4. Kathy Glennan says:

    I’m not quite sure how this instruction should be phrased, given what RDA 0.12 already says:

    For certain elements, the RDA instructions include a vocabulary encoding scheme▼ that is internal to RDA (i.e., a controlled list of terms defined specifically for use with RDA). For those elements, data may be encoded using a substitute vocabulary encoding scheme, provided the encoding scheme is identified.

    When RDA instructions specify recording a name or a term in an element, the data may be recorded using any suitable vocabulary encoding scheme (e.g., a country code from ISO 3166 for a place), provided the scheme is identified.

    Obviously, the intent is to remove medium of performance as an internal vocabulary encoding scheme.

    Perhaps the affected sentence should read something like:

    Record the medium of performance using a suitable vocabulary (e.g., the listing of terms on the Tools tab of Toolkit: Medium of Performance, Library of Congress Medium of Performance Thesaurus for Music, the codes and lists of terms for UNIMARC field 146). Record a term in the language preferred by the agency creating the data whenever possible.

    I think that this paragraph (in whatever form it takes) needs to be the 1st one of this instruction, with the “… apply these instructions, as applicable” paragraph following it.

  5. Kathy Glennan says:, examples
    I wonder if some of the examples here should be moved to the proposed example block for

  6. Kathy Glennan says:

    Instructions relating to a particular term and have paragraphs specific to the use of the term “percussion”. Although these are both labeled as exceptions, the exceptional use is not the term, but the number of players recorded. If the RDA text no longer contains any medium of performance terms, it seems to me that this guidance needs to be rewritten. The instructions about how to treat the number of percussion players is still needed, but reference to the actual term used now seems inappropriate.

    Similarly, says to use the term “ensemble”, and says to use “unspecified”. says to use “voices”. When is it appropriate for the RDA text to override and/or supplement the terminology from the external vocabulary source?

    In, the terms for voice ranges are italicized now. I assume this should change to plain text, since these are no longer specific examples.

    • Robert L. Maxwell says:

      I noticed this right off the bat; if the terms are being removed, then they need to be removed; “percussion” and “instrumental ensemble” and “unspecified” can’t linger. What if the agency’s preferred list uses a different term for these concepts?

      In do we really need to be told to choose one term and use it consistently for a continuo part? Wouldn’t that be made clear in the agency’s preferred list? It seems obvious (and perhaps a little patronizing to be told) that if we’re using a controlled list we chose one term and use it consistently for any given concept.

  7. Kathy Glennan says:

    The paragraph that was reworded into an if/then construction makes little sense, since it’s not clear what the “and” clause means until you get to the “then” clause.

    The paragraph might read better along these lines:

    Record a general term for an instrumental ensemble if an accompanying ensemble with one performer to a part consists of instruments from two or more families of instruments and a more specific term is not available.

  8. Kathy Glennan says:

    It seems that only the 1st paragraph is needed here. This is about naming an ensemble that has more than one performer to a part. If there’s an exception for “continuo”, shouldn’t there also be one for “piano” when it’s not a solo instrument?

    Isn’t this kind of specificity more appropriate for the external vocabulary to suggest?

  9. Kathy Glennan says:, examples

    I think the first example block should only contain examples of names of solo voices. The current examples represent the medium of performance for an entire work. (These examples will likely be helpful elsewhere.)

    In the 2nd example block, should the examples be something like “mixed solo voices”? If not, I really don’t understand what would go there.

    The final paragraph & examples here illustrate one of my earlier comments above. This single sub-instruction covers 1) solo voices; 2) vocal ensembles with one performer to a part; and 3) one or more solo voices with chorus. Having a break-down of these instructions, along the lines of what has happened with instrumental music, would make more organizational sense. (However, I’m happy to leave well enough alone here, at least for now.)

    • Robert L. Maxwell says:

      I notice in the “record other terms as appropriate” is out. This was an escape hatch (I think) from being required to use terms from the closed list if none was appropriate. How will this translate over to the new regime where we go to other sources for the controlled vocabulary? Will they have a provision to record “other terms as appropriate”? (Same in 6.15.10)

  10. Kathy Glennan says:

    Note: I have not yet read 6JSC/MusicWG/Discussion/2, although I did just take a quick glance at it now. I see that the WG has taken a stab at the potential reorganization of 6.15, so comments about that concept should be mentioned only in our response to that paper.

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