Many thanks to John for mentioning the article by Billey, Drabinski and Roberto. I hadn't seen it, and now having read it, I recommend it highly. Here are citations to the article:
Amber Billey, Emily Drabinski & K. R. Roberto (2014) What's Gender Got to Do with It? A Critique of RDA 9.7, Cataloging & Classification Quarterly, 52:4, 412-421, DOI:
Billey, Amber; Drabinski, Emily; and Roberto, K.R., "What's Gender Got to Do With It? A Critique of RDA Rule 9.7" (2014). University Libraries Faculty and Staff Publications. Paper 19. http://scholarworks.uvm.edu/libfacpub/19
While the authors may perhaps be overstating the degree to which catalogers are "instructed" to record gender in authority records, this might be due to the confusing state of PCC documentation. Here is what I know of as of today:
· The source that I always consider to be the most authoritative is the LC-PCC Policy Statements, and that document is totally silent on the matter of recording gender (and appears to have been silent from the start).
· DCM Z1, 375 seems to merely tell the cataloger how to use the field, not when to use it.
· MARC 21 encoding to accommodate new RDA elements 046 and 3XX in NARs and SARs (http://www.loc.gov/aba/pcc/rda/PCC%20RDA%20guidelines/RDA%20in%20NARs-SARs_PCC.doc) is basically like DCM Z1, telling us how, not when to use field 375.
· The training documents (videos and slideshows) are really quite out of date, with some of the matters discussed therein still unsettled at the time of creation.
There may indeed be environments in which the RDA gender element is warranted. But I don't know what those environments are, and I would say that the LC/NACO authority file is one in which such warrant occurs only very rarely, if even at all.
Kevin M. Randall
Principal Serials Cataloger
Northwestern University Library
Proudly wearing the sensible shoes since 1978!
Matthew C. Haugen
Rare Book Cataloger
102 Butler Library
Columbia University Libraries
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