RDA and represent substantive changes from AACR2. Under AACR2 we were required to drop titles, etc. from the transcription (1.1F7) and were not allowed to transcribe the names of more than three persons in a single statement of responsibility (1.1F5). In both cases, RDA’s default provision is to record everything you see (following the principle of representation, RDA In both cases there is an optional omission clause. So one of the examples to the optional omission records “by Harry Smith” instead of “by Dr. Harry Smith” (which is how it would be transcribed under the general provision of; the optional omission in allows dropping names from statements that have more than three. In both cases the LCPS says “generally” not to invoke the option. I assume this means exactly what it says: the default for LC catalogers is to transcribe everything that’s there; if in the cataloger’s judgment (that’s the “generally” part) an exception should be made and pieces left out (so long as essential information is not lost, in the case of—“essential” again left to the cataloger’s judgment), the cataloger is free to do so, but the expectation is that everything will be recorded.


One of the wonderful things about the transition from AACR2 to RDA is we will be expected to make many more judgment calls than we have in the past. We can’t expect to be told in every individual case what to do. Does a particular cataloging action help the user better find, identify, select (etc.) a resource? If so, perhaps that’s what we should do. Or will it take an inordinate amount of time when we could instead be making progress on our backlogs? Then perhaps we shouldn’t … It’s a balancing act, of course.


In some cases where there are optional provisions in RDA it will matter that everyone in an agency (like LC or PCC) does everything the same; in most cases, however, it’s fine to leave the decision about options up to the cataloger. LC’s use of “generally” in the LCPSs to and indicate to me that this is one of the cases that LC feels we don’t all need to be in lock step together but should make our own decisions. I agree. I think what LC and PCC “want to see” in this and similar cases is the exercise of cataloger judgment, not a particular result. And in my opinion that’s in fact a good thing J




Robert L. Maxwell

Special Collections and Ancient Languages Catalog Librarian

Genre/Form Authorities Librarian

6728 Harold B. Lee Library

Brigham Young University

Provo, UT 84602



"We should set an example for all the world, rather than confine ourselves to the course which has been heretofore pursued"--Eliza R. Snow, 1842.


From: Program for Cooperative Cataloging [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Benjamin A Abrahamse
Sent: Tuesday, August 14, 2012 11:07 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Question regarding RDA and LCPS


Our RDA study group came up with this question. 


RDA states, "Transcribe a statement of responsibility in the form in which it appears on the source of information."  The option states: "Abridge a statement of responsibility only if it can be abridged without loss of essential information" and shows the example:


Charles F. Hoban, Jr.

Source of information reads: Charles F. Hoban, Jr., Special Assistant, Division of Visual Education, Philadelphia Public Schools


But the LCPS says, "Generally do not abridge a statement of responsibility."


What is the significance of the word "generally"?  It implies that there are exceptions but none are named.


Does this mean that under RDA/LCPS we will be expected to retain phrases that appear on the chief source of information, which pertain to the *author only* and not his or her responsibility (and hence, at least under AACR2, would be considered not essential)? 


Is this correct, and what LC and the PCC want to see?



Benjamin Abrahamse

Cataloging Coordinator

Acquisitions, Metadata and Enterprise Systems

MIT Libraries