A couple of posts have reopened the controversy that broke out on this list a few weeks ago about the use of conventional collective titles (CCTs) in authorized access points (AAPs) for works and expressions. Several people protested against the use of constructions like "Dickens, Charles, 1812-1870. Short stories. Selections (Hayes)" or even ""Dickens, Charles, 1812-1870. Short stories. Selections (Supernatural short stories of Charles Dickens)" to represent the compilation "The supernatural short stories of Charles Dickens" edited by Michael Hayes.
I can certainly see the case for constructing AAPs that identify works and expressions rigorously, but I'm less sure whether they need to involve CCTs as often as parts of NACO Module 6 suggest. As others have previously observed, it's not entirely clear that RDA does instruct us to construct AAPs from CCTs in cases such as Hayes' Dickens compilation. RDA 22.214.171.124 and 126.96.36.199 say, respectively, "If a compilation of works is known by a title that is used in resources embodying that compilation or in reference sources, apply the instructions at 188.8.131.52-184.108.40.206" and "For works created after 1500, choose as the preferred title the title in the original language by which the work has become known either through use in resources embodying the work or in reference sources". These instructions are reflected in slide 38 of Module 6, which says, "Use the following examples for conventional collective titles only if the compilation is not known by a title of its own". On the face of it, those instructions could be taken to suggest that the AAP for this compilation should be "Dickens, Charles, 1812-1870. The supernatural short stories of Charles Dickens" (give or take a leading article). If that is not the correct reading of those rules then I, and probably others, would find an explicit ruling and explanation on this point helpful.
However we read the rules, I think now would be a good time to reconsider the place of CCTs in our cataloguing. I suspect CCTs serve several quite distinct functions. They can be seen at least in part as an attempt to provide a limited kind of genre/form access within the confines of an author/title catalogue. Developing genre/form vocabularies is of course the focus of much current work. We're also starting to add 380 fields to authority records, and I see that the SAC RDA subcommittee recently urged that attention be given to genre/form within the FRBR model (http://alcts.ala.org/ccdablog/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/sac201307.pdf). I think it's worth reconsidering CCTs in the light of these developments. As a technique for providing genre/form access CCTs have obvious limitations. They don't help with works published singly, for example, or compilations by more than one person. As one of my colleagues pointed out, in the age of faceted catalogues the need to combine genre/form access with work/expression identification within a single access point seems debatable.
I don't want to oversimplify the issues involved here. CCTs do accomplish certain things that genre/form terms (at least on their own) don't, such as identify certain kinds of aggregates - for example, compilations of the whole of a given author's output in a given form. In some areas other considerations may be at play: in music, for example, the rules for works and compilations known by type of composition arguably reflect naming conventions implicit in the field itself. But it would be worth taking a step back at this point to examine how well CCTs still suit the purposes we now want them to serve.
Chew Chiat Naun
Director, Cataloging & Metadata Services
110D Olin Library
(607) 254 8031