Moderator: Sherman Clarke, Head of Original Cataloging, New York University
Sponsor: Cataloging Section
Sherman Clarke (Head of Original Cataloging at New York University) moderated the session . He talked briefly about the evolution of the rules and the theoretical issues behind them: the fact that Chapter 9 originally dealt with what were called “machine-readable data files”, then “computer files” and maybe soon “electronic resources”; the fact that the North American community has rejected the cardinal principle of AACR2 (which is to catalog the book in hand) by cataloging microforms as the original books; the challenge of cataloging electronic resources (is an electronic version of Hamlet fundamentally a text, or a computer file?); and a 1997 international conference in Ottawa on the principles and future development of AACR which resulted in the organization of task forces to deal with fundamental principles, seriality and content vs. carrier. He then introduced the panelists: Michael Gorman ( Dean of Libraries at California State University in Fresno, and also one of the original editors of AACR2), Elizabeth O’Keefe (Director of Information Services at Pierpont Morgan Library) and Daniel Starr (Chief Librarian for Technical Services and Planning at the Museum of Modern Art ).
Michael Gorman started by talking about the present state of AACR2,
particularly the 1998 revision, which is in fact NOT a revision at all,
since while it includes changes to some rules it does not consider the
implications of those changes on other rules. It also doesn’t include provisions
for the ISBD for electronic resources, which was given to CC:DA to revise
as if it were a policy rather than an editorial issue. Mr. Gorman lamented
the fact that we would wait until next year to see the new version
of Chapter 9 (which will also be presented without considering the ramifications
with regard to other rules), since he was able to produce a version of
it for the British Library in two weeks.
In the early 1970s a decision was made to harmonize British and American rules and arrive at a common text. AACR2, which was published in 1978, was a radical departure from the earlier rules and the first attempt to delineate the difference between description and access points. As such, it was a NEW code, and not a second edition of anything. This version of the rules proceeded from description to consideration of the work as a whole, rather than the other way around. It was also the first GLOBAL cataloging code, the most widely used cataloging code in history. It has proved to be flexible: responsive to that global use and expandable to accommodate new media. Mr. Gorman does not recommend an AACR3, but instead recommends that certain changes be made to ensure the future of the Anglo-American Cataloging Rules.
Elizabeth O’Keefe considered the question of whether visually based
materials could be handled in the same cataloging format as books. The
Pierpont Morgan felt an obligation as a research library to help researchers
find materials across formats and curatorial divisions; thus they decided
to apply AACR2 as consistently as possible to all materials (books as well
as works of art). They found that, with a little tweaking and bending,
AARC2 could be just as applicable to works of art. The areas that created
some problem were:
AUTHORSHIP - in the case of works of art, there are no title pages and the attributions are
subjective. It is necessary to allow author statements such as “signed by” and “attributed to”. In
addition, AACR2 prescribes entry under title when one is uncertain about authorship; it is
possible to make a “probable” author a main entry, however, and this would be the case for most
works of art.
Also there are names which are descriptive terms in the art world e.g. School of …, Circle of …)
which convey something useful about a work. It would be useful to be able to create headings that
explain these relationships.
TITLES - art works acquire titles over time - they are more subject to change than book titles.
Thus, there is a need to change the order of preference in 25.13B1.
The next edition of AACR will incorporate a section on uniform titles for _named_ works of art
(thanks to Sherman Clarke), but the problem of unnamed works of art has yet to be tackled.
PUBLICATION - no art works are published or distributed; they are “created”, “made” or “executed”
OBJECT TYPE - in the case of art works, object type is fundamental information , similar to the GMD for other materials. GMD terms should be expanded to cover the art world, since it is important that information for art works not be relegated to note position but found in places comparable to that for other formats
Ms. O’Keefe concluded that AACR2 basically works pretty well, but needs some tweaking to accommodate the realities of the art world.
Daniel Starr then spoke about the process of revising AARC2 and CC:DAs role in that revision process. The mission of the Joint Steering Committee for the Revision of AACR includes a statement that the Committee “works in a proactive manner to formulate a cataloging code that is responsive to changes in the information environment and that results in cost-effective cataloging”. Despite cumbersome procedures, the Committee seems to have proven that the rules can actually change; this is illustrated by the incorporation of internet resources.
In a discussion about the importance of standards, Mr. Starr recognized
that other standards may be as important as the library ones we have become
accustomed to. As librarians, we would enter the artist Willem de Kooning
under De Kooning, according to rule 22.4. However, most scholars do not
agree with us - the entry in Webster’s biographical dictionary is: de Kooning,
Willem (with a small “d”, filed under “K”) We make a show of referring
to the artist’s preferences, but the rules don’t always allow us to do
so; in this case we could not follow the example of the dictionary because
Appendix A2A1 prescribes that the first word of each heading be capitalized.
Hopefully AACR will in its evolution pay more attention to the preferences
of specialized groups such as the artist community.
In conclusion, Mr. Starr noted that AACR2 has proven to be a evolving set of rules by encompassing completely new things. The fact that it expanded to incorporate internet resources (although they are still archaically described as “computer files”) illustrates its flexibility. Thus, AACR2 does have a future; we just don’t know what that future will be.