Thank you, Mr. Brenndorfer, for explaining why RDA has chosen to change the name authority descriptors from titles of position etc. to free-text descriptions, as shown in Mr. Schiff's document http://faculty.washington.edu/aschiff/BCLAPresentationWithNotes-RevAug2010.pdf . He wrote: "Many of the new elements in RDA for attributes of persons (some of which can be used in authorized access points) come from FRAD (Functional Requirements for Authority Data). However, some additions to AACR2 headings such as titles of position or office, initials of academic degrees, and initials denoting membership in an an organization, do not correspond to FRAD elements. The elements in FRAD are derived from a comparison of authority elements used in other metadata standards and in European cataloging. The wider issues here are the internationalization of authority data and crosswalk enabling between different metadata standards." I realize that such descriptions of profession/activity are--as "Dr." and its ilk are in AACR2--intended to be a last ditch effort at differentiation, after all else has failed. But we do come to that point not infrequently, so need to consider how it would impact searching, recall and future differentiation of names. I have already pointed out, in my previous email, ways in which I think these free-text terms will be detrimental to all of the above purposes. A further example, that I haven't yet mentioned, of why I find free-text descriptors problematic is the biases often appearing in such terms. I've already mentioned Rev. Jane Brown, and the problem of gender related to the term "Clergyman". Even more than that, though, under the rule change Rabbi George Brown and Imam George Brown would also have to be described as "Clergyman", if no other differentiating information is available. This reveals a further, Christian-centric bias to the term, which some users might find, frankly, offensive. Do we really want to recreate in the name authority file the biases that have plagued the subject authority file, which are periodically addressed with sweeping global changes (i.e., "older persons" in place of "aged" etc.)? Or leave our catalogs open to the user complaints that would result, and accusations of bias? Even leaving aside the problematic nature of the parenthetical descriptors, I believe the RDA change from titles etc. to descriptors, while well-meaning will not aid in either the internationalization of data, or its interoperability. Since VIAF and other databases already link different authorized forms of name, without the rule change, I don't even see why this is necessary (search "Bergmann, Werner, Dr. phil." in VIAF, and you'll see the differing French and Israeli forms of the name peacefully coexisting with the NACO form). But leaving this aside, I would imagine that a German or French library, for example, would prefer "Brown, George, Dr."--a term of address which appears in both languages--to an English-language descriptive term, that their audiences might not be familiar with. And especially since terms of address would be traced in the 245 under RDA rules, wouldn't it make more sense if comprehensibility to foreign audiences is the goal to use words like "Rev.", which could be puzzled out with reference to the 245, instead of "Clergyman", which appears nowhere else in the bibliographic record, and is in a language that isn't necessarily the primary language of all international library users? Finally, I wonder what other metadata schemata were used as the basis for the rule change, since some, including MODS and CDWA, for example, suggest using the LCNAF/NACO authority file as the basis for their name entries. I understand that in an increasingly complex and digital world, catalogers also want their information to play nice with others. But I also believe that, at base, metadata schemata (of which cataloging rules are one) are developed not primarily to be interoperable--though it is desirable--but to suit the needs of the users of the schema. And I am not convinced that either catalogers or end users are being well-served by the proposed changes, especially with regards to authorities. Deborah Tomaras, NACO Coordinator Librarian II Western European Languages Team New York Public Library Library Services Center 31-11 Thomson Ave. Long Island City, N.Y. 11101 (917) 229-9561 [log in to unmask] Disclaimer: Alas, my ideas are merely my own, and not indicative of New York Public Library policy.