Expression Excerpts

4 October 2019

Expression Excerpts

Gordon Dunsire, RSC Technical Team Liaison Officer


This paper discusses the issues in recording extracts of expressions and how they can be resolved in RDA Toolkit. The recommendations in the paper are based on a set of assumptions that are listed as propositions. Detailed proposals for additions to RDA guidance and instructions are dependent on agreement with the propositions and recommendations and are not included in this paper.

Background documents:

  • 6JSC/LC/20 – Revisions to Chapter 6 to treat “Selections” as a work attribute
  • 5JSC/LC/12 –  Proposed revision of RDA Chapter 6, Additional instructions for musical works and expressions

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7 Responses to Expression Excerpts

  1. Dominique Bourassa says:

    CC:DA members,

    The propositions and recommendations outlined in this paper are:

    Proposition 1: The enumeration or title designation of all of its parts is an inherent aspect of a whole-part work.
    Proposition 2: A whole-part work is identified by the enumeration or titles present in a representative expression of the work, which is usually the expression embodied by the first manifestation of the work.
    Proposition 3: An expression excerpt is not an expression part.
    Proposition 4: An expression excerpt is a distinct expression that realizes the original work or a derived work.

    Recommendation 1: Add a new relationship element for Expression: [has] excerpt, with an inverse of Expression: [is] excerpt of.
    Recommendation 2: Add ‘Excerpt’ as a qualifier in the RDA instructions for Expression: access point for expression.
    Recommendation 3: Add “expression excerpt” to RDA Terms.
    Recommendation 4: Add boilerplate for the condition “An expression is an excerpt expression.”.
    Recommendation 5: Use the conventional collective title “excerpts” for compilations of expression excerpts.
    Recommendation 6: Add guidance and instructions for describing expression excerpts to RDA Toolkit, using the elements, boilerplate, term, condition, kinds of compilation, and conventional collective title described in other recommendations.

    Do you agree with all these propositions and recommendations?

    If no, with which propositions or recommendations do you disagree?

    Do you have something different to suggest?

  2. Amanda Ros says:

    I support all of the proposed recommendations.

  3. Mary Huismann says:

    Expression Excerpts
    Summarized comments from the music community:

    Music is one area in which the LRM idea of aggregate works is a little too simplistic for reality.

    Expression Parts: The example of the “fourth part of the trilogy” on page one is ironic, considering that trilogies only have three parts.

    There is a feeling that it is somewhat suspect that an excerpt becomes a new work based on how small it is. What is the intended use case here? If an excerpt is so small as to be no longer recognizable as an excerpt, are we to basically treat it as realia? (I might have answered my own question there.)
    This is what I think is being said:
    -When you have an excerpt from an expression, and that excerpt has an enumeration or title, then it is a ‘part’ of the whole expression and your access point is: ‘Creator. Whole expression. Part of expression’.
    -When you have an excerpt from an expression, and that excerpt does not have an enumeration or title, then it is an ‘excerpt’ of the whole expression and your access point can be: ‘Creator. Whole expression. Excerpt’.
    -The thing I don’t get is the explanation of compilations of excerpts and why they have to be treated differently than: ‘Creator. Whole expression. Excerpt’. Or ‘Creator. Category of expression. Excerpt’.
    But maybe he means that when you have a compilation of excerpts, your access point for the whole compilation has to use a larger category than just the expression?

    Proposition 1: Has “whole-part work” been defined? I usually see “whole-part” in relation to a relationship, not in relation to a work. I’m taking “whole-part work” to be shorthand for “work that has parts.”

    Propositions 1 & 2: This is not the overall point of the discussion paper, but there are issues with propositions 1 & 2. There are plenty of whole/part musical works without an enumeration or a distinct title designation of parts – for example, many symphonies simply have untitled movements, which are often casually referred to by tempo markings, but these are not “titles” in the bibliographic sense.

    Let’s take an opera, which is an aggregate work because it has music by one person and a libretto by another person, but which may or may not have enumeration or titles for the separate pieces/songs in the work. Do the separate songs/pieces count as ‘parts’ or not? Is the libretto considered a ‘part’ even though its title is the same as the opera title? If I have a book of libretto excerpts from Verdi’s operas which is comparing the words of the heroine’s songs, how is this going to work?

    Proposition 3: I don’t understand discussion under proposition 3. I can see that a distinction is being made between “excerpt” and “part”. But I don’t see why an expression excerpt does not have a corresponding work excerpt. Nor why it matters whether or not the expression excerpt is embodied in an aggregate. Nor how a single excerpt can become a new work based solely on the extent of the excerpt.

    Recommendation 2: Are there other instances of a qualifier and a relationship element being the same word, distinguished only by the case of the 1st letter? It’s not much of a distinction.

    Recommendation 3 definition: isn’t “Movement 2” also an “extract from an expression”? But “Movement 2” is a part, not excerpt.

    Recommendations 3 & 4: Is there a difference between an “expression excerpt” and an “excerpt expression? If so, the definitions need to be clearly stated and examples given.

    Recommendation 5: His list of compilations of excerpts is incomplete without considering compilations containing excerpts from expressions created by more than one agent (like a sound recording album which contains pieces and excerpts by many different composers). Where will guidance and instruction be given on this kind of excerpt? I would have liked some mention of how to handle compilations of excerpts in a single category created by more than one agent, or a compilation of excerpts created by more than one agent which were chosen because of their instrumentation.

    Recommendation 5: He needs to address how non-contiguous excerpts from a single expression will be handled, since they can’t be handled with a conventional collective title, apparently.

    Recommendation 5: I thought “Selections” by itself had been cast into the outer darkness. Why would the formulation of the example “Austen, Jane | Selections | Excerpts” not be “Works. Selections. Excerpts”?

    Recommendations 5 & 6: Also, the treatment of conventional collective titles as discussed on the bottom of page 4 and the top of page 5 is a bit confusing. Are we to assume that we would still use the CCT “Works. Selections” when cataloging a collection of whole expressions created by one agent (i.e., NOT excerpts of these expressions), but would use the CCT “Selections. Excerpts” when cataloging what is described in case (a)? More clarification would be nice, but I suppose the point of Recommendation 6 is to add this clarification.

  4. Timothy Ryan Mendenhall says:

    I would echo Mary Huismann’s comments regarding recommendation 5, especially regarding non-contiguous excerpts from a single expression and compilations of excerpts by more than one agent.

    In addition, I think some clarification on how to handle mixed compilations containing both non-excerpt expressions and excerpt expressions may be necessary if excerpt expressions are being defined as a distinct type of expression in proposition 3. All of the cases outlined are defined for compilations comprised entirely of excerpt expressions.

  5. Ryan Tamares says:

    Comments from the law community:

    [The document] is so abstract and so rooted in concepts of RDF and the like, that most catalogers cannot make sense of them or understand how they would be applied. RDA is getting further and further removed from the experience of actual catalogers and will probably not be applied directly. Instead, catalogers will use secondary sources such as workflows in their cataloging.

    Of concern are impacts these recommendations have on describing and relating materials such as compilation of laws among others that appear to fall under the umbrella of aggregating works.

  6. Kathryn Lybarger says:

    Proposition 1 & 2: Is it important to be able to identify whether something is a “whole-part”/multi-part work (and with what granularity?)? Is this recorded somewhere, or does one go look at the representative expression of the work (the first realization) to see if it is entirely made of labeled parts? It seems like many books would be described as multi-part if (as stated under “Expression parts”), the whole-part relationship can be extended to any part with a designation, like any numbered chapter.

    Is it important that this aspect doesn’t change? I hadn’t considered the situation where a work would be published with no enumeration into parts, but then re-published (as a new expression) with the same content just divided up into labeled parts, a situation described under Prop 1. For example, if a large book is re-published in separate named volumes, it seems useful to retroactively describe those as named parts with a whole-part relationship, rather than excerpts (new works with a derivation relationship with the original).

    The section “Expression access point qualifier” says that “An excerpt of an expression typically has no intrinsic title or identifier”, but if it does, would that be used in the access point instead of “Excerpt”? In that case, you could still have a nice access point (like book titles for above), though still with the excerpt/derivation relationship.

    I am somewhat concerned that works with multiple expressions might be cataloged differently depending on which expression is encountered first by catalogers (which may not be the first one published). I don’t know if this is a problem, but is an opportunity for inconsistency (or the need to go back and re-work).

  7. Karen Stafford says:

    Limiting whole-part relationships to parts that have an enumeration or distinct title is not realistic for artworks. Triptychs are one example, but there are many others.

    For artwork, “excerpt” would not be an appropriate term. “Detail” at first seemed more appropriate, but a while an excerpt is part of a work, a detail is not really part of a work but part of a reproduction, which of course opens that ever more problematic can of worms. We cannot think of an example in which we would be cataloging a detail/excerpt of an artwork, unless we had a work that had been physically clipped, cut, or fragmented. Perhaps if we had a book about hands in art, there might be details of hands in the book, but those are really reproductions, not details of the actual artwork. Things get very hairy when we try to add art objects into the model, and to our mind LRM and RDA have not yet figured out how to deal with the implications of expanding a model to encompass them.

    “[Creator]. Works. Selections,” “[Creator]. Paintings. Selections,” etc. CCTs are currently being added to many new RDA records for exhibition catalogs, but these are misleading to our patrons since the book is not consisting of selections of the actual paintings of the artist–it is reproductions of selections of the artist. And for 3-D objects, there is a further disconnect since the images in a catalog are 2-D representations of the original object created by a photographer likely not of interest to the library user anyway. In a catalog that includes both original prints and reproductions of prints, this distinction is very important to our users.

    The relationship between artworks and reproductions is of great importance to art librarians. Not all art librarians catalog original artworks, but all of us deal on a daily basis with art reproductions, which are the lifeblood of art history and art documentation. Art specialists have always felt that FRBR, as originally articulated, did not successfully integrate artworks and their reproductions. Within the WEMI framework as articulated by FRBR, all physical instantiations of an artwork are manifestations. The original art object, an analog photograph of the object, a digital photograph of the object, a photomechanical reproduction of the object published in an art monograph—all are just different manifestations, though the art original, as the only manifestation singleton, is regarded as primus inter pares.

    The WEMI hierarchy works very well for most bibliographic resources, because it posits a high level of abstraction for the work, assigning only a minor role to physical attributes or to the physical processes involved in creating the first instantiation of the work. Thus a textual work such as William Wordsworth’s Daffodils can be regarded as the same work whether it is handwritten in red pencil on white paper, printed in gold ink on vellum, carved on stone, or recited on a sound recording. But artworks are innately and essentially physical and unique. Physical properties such as scale, color content, materials, etc. are the equivalent for artworks of words or musical notes for textual or musical works. Just as the choice and arrangement of words or notes are integral to the creation of a textual or musical work, the choice, arrangement and alteration of physical materials and application of physical processes such as painting, engraving, etching, carving, etc. are integral to the creation of an artwork.

    The treatment of reproductions of all kinds has always been problematic in library cataloging. But the cataloging of art reproductions, even more than reproductions of textual or musical material, has been negatively impacted by the WEMI framework as implemented in RDA. It has made it more difficult for users of our catalogs to distinguish between resources that are original artworks and resources that consist of, or contain reproductions of artworks. Even AACR2 made provision for distinguishing between the two at a high level, by offering the GMD’s “art original” and “art reproduction”, but there is nothing comparable in an RDA record to signal what is being described. As increasing numbers of libraries add records for original artworks to their online catalogues, it is becoming more important, and more difficult, for users to make this distinction. And it will certainly be necessary to do so as we move into a linked data environment, where library records share space with the records of museums and archives.

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