Repositioning of Relationship Designator “Screenwriter” from I.2.1 to I.2.2

29 July 2016

Repositioning of Relationship Designator “Screenwriter” from I.2.1 to I.2.2


Submitted by: Renate Behrens, European Regional Representative

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20 Responses to Repositioning of Relationship Designator “Screenwriter” from I.2.1 to I.2.2

  1. Robert Bratton says:

    If I understand the proposal… for a published textual screenplay, I would use the writer(s) as the creator(s) and use the relationship designator “author.” For the screenwriter of a moving image resource, I would use the designator “screenwriter.” Is that helpful to users or confusing?

    If we agree with this proposal, then would we need to also move librettist and lyricist to I.2.2?

    As the proposal points out, the lines between creators vs. contributors are blurred for moving image resources.

    • kelleym says:

      If you think about librettists and lyricists in a way that parallels the way this proposal treats screenwriters, my initial thought is that you would use librettist or lyricist for a score that includes both the music and words while for a libretto published separately, you would use author and form of work libretto. That isn’t a very satisfactory solution, at least in our current environment.

      Maybe you could make a case for keeping librettist and lyricist as opposed to novelist or poet because they are contributors to a mixed work rather than a purely textual work and those relationship designators therefore add more value.

      The relationship between a screenwriter and a moving image is often very complicated in a way that I’m not sure happens with librettos and lyrics. An opera might cleanly = libretto + music, but screenplay as a distinct and separable entity isn’t necessarily something that is part of a finished film.

      What is the screenplay? The initial draft may bear very little resemblance to the final film. Sometimes a published screenplay can be based on the film as actually made (that is, it comes later). The screenplay is often re-written or renegotiated as the film is being made and parts of the film might be improvised. For a contemporary Hollywood feature, many people may work on a screenplay as it is developed (at an extreme, more than 30:, but for many films, the WGA rules limit who gets credit (and who this should be is often disputed). So the degree to which the person credited as a screenwriter actually contributed to the dialogue and narrative development of the film can vary significantly.

      So I’m not sure librettist the relationship between a librettist and an opera and the relationship between a screenwriter and a movie is analogous.

  2. Tina Shrader says:

    I generally support this proposal, as do my colleagues at NLM. We think it’s rare for a person associated with moving image resource to be true creators, as they are most often works of mixed responsibility.

  3. kelleym says:

    I am very much in favor of this proposal. Within the context of the way that RDA divides up relationship designators, OLAC has thought from the beginning that the screenwriter relator term as a sub-category of author in the creator category was misguided. However, after pointing this out in response to numerous drafts of RDA to no effect, we put the issue aside. I am glad to see it raised here.

  4. kelleym says:

    Comment from an OLAC CAPC member:
    I’m ALL for this! We very rarely add screenplays to our collection but we have over 30,000 DVDs/Blu-rays in which we have indicated the relationship designator of “screenwriter” if there is one associated with the film. It makes perfect sense to me to have the term moved from I.2.1 to I.2.2.

  5. Lori Robare says:

    From Adam Schiff:
    I’m in favor of this proposal, and made the same suggestion to SCS some years ago.

    I think if screenwriter is to be retained in I.2.1, then I don’t see why other terms like “poet” and “novelist” and “essayist” and “playwright” ought not to be eligible for inclusion in I.2.1. For the text of a screenplay, poem, novel, etc., I think “author” is the appropriate term and the form of work can be recorded elsewhere (380 and 655 in MARC). As Kelley has commented, the screenwriter(s) who get the credit in a film may not have actually authored every word uttered, and other screenwriting persons uncredited may also have had some responsibility for what was in or is in the film. So I think in the context of cataloging a moving image, a screenwriter is not a creator, but an other entity associated with a work. In the context of cataloging an actual screenplay, if “author” is what should be used for the text of a stage play, then I don’t see why it should not also be used for the text of a screenplay or television play.

    I don’t think that this means that “librettist” and “lyricist” must also move to I.2.2, because for a musical work consisting of music and text, the authorship probably is at the creator level and not at the “other associated with work” level.

  6. Teressa Keenan says:

    I strongly agree with this proposal. Screenwriters of movies fit much better as contributors than as authors.

  7. Mary Huismann says:

    I, too, am glad to see this proposal and I agree with the move of screenwriter to I.2.2.

  8. Jennifer A. Liss says:

    I support the proposal, as do my IU colleagues.

  9. Amanda Ros says:

    I am very much in favor of this proposal

  10. Diane Napert says:

    I think this makes sense as well

  11. Mary Huismann says:

    Passing along a comment from the music community: I’m in favor of this. The whole area of performed works (or what Martha Yee calls “works always intended for performance”) still needs a lot of work but this would be a step in the right direction. I’m particularly glad to see this paper point out that the role of an actor (etc.) in a movie is really not fully analogous to that of an actor in a stage production–or, I would argue, in a recording of a stage production.

  12. Yoko Kudo says:

    I support the proposal as well. It makes a lot more sense to see screenwriters in the same category with directors, producers, etc.

  13. Kathy Glennan says:

    Although I’m willing to support this proposal, what relationship does this have to the ongoing work of 1) the RSC Relationship Designators Working Group and 2) RSC Aggregates Working Group?

    As others have mentioned, it seems unlikely that this is the only relationship designator that could be considered for relocation. Should an analysis be made of the broader issues, followed by a solution that doesn’t address each of them in a piecemeal fashion?

    I’m not a big fan of the proposed definition for screenwriter in I.2.2, especially the use of “screenplay genre”. In addition, past PCC Standing Committee on Standards discussion of this topic also questioned the wording “… scenario used in…” Anyone have rewording suggestions?

    • Lori Robare says:

      Here is a proposed definition from Adam Schiff:

      screenwriter For a moving image work, a person, family, or corporate body responsible for the screenplay, script, or scenario used in the work. For the creator of the actual text of a screenplay, script, or scenario, see author at I.2.1.

    • kelleym says:

      I understand the concern that the organization of relationship designators, particularly for performed and recorded works, is a bigger problem than this proposal addresses. I would still be in favor of fixing screenwriter now. It is the most egregious error in the existing instructions and it conflicts with RDA’s worldview. Whatever you may think about the way RDA treats performers and some other roles, it takes a coherent and consistent approach.

      I had a library school student helping me to categorize transcribed roles from moving image records. Based on the RDA layout, she listed screenwriter under work creators of moving images and I think many catalogers doing a casual reading will do the same. (I also could never get her to understand the point of things like “composer (expression),” which is another assumption that RDA doesn’t make explicit). The relationship designators working group has not yet addressed this issue. The FRBRoo idea of creators of components of works (such as costumes) that has been proposed by the aggregates working group, although a sensible idea, does not seem to me to address the basic concern that many have about performed works and roles such as actors, singers and costume designers, i.e., that these roles should be directly related to the work. From a practical standpoint FRBR-LRM’s representative expression could be used to solve at least most of this disjuncture, but it isn’t very satisfactory from a theoretical perspective.

      So I think that because the placement of screenwriter in the RDA instructions is internally inconsistent and causes confusion about how RDA is interpreting the FRBR model, it should be fixed now rather than waiting for however long it will take to resolve these other issues.

      I think Adam’s proposed rewording is fine. Or perhaps the second sentence could begin with “For a textual work…” to parallel the first.

  14. Tim Kiser says:

    I support the proposal.

  15. Robert L. Maxwell says:

    I agree with moving the term to 1.2.2; I prefer Adam’s proposed definition to the one proposed in this proposal.

  16. kelleym says:

    From OLAC CAPC member:

    I’m in agreement with the “screenwriter” proposal as well as the recommendation to review other terms that might be treated similarly.

  17. Mary Anne Dyer says:

    I also support this proposal. I think Adam’s proposed rewording makes things a little clearer.

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