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1 
RDA & Descriptive Cataloging of Rare Materials:
Developing Policy Statements for Special Collections Resources
Francis ...
2 
provide specialized cataloging rules for the various formats of rare materials typically
found in special collections.
...
3 
attention to guidelines for manuscripts, we stand to benefit from the work accomplished
by the JSC working group for ar...
4 
Statements, the task force has decided not to use the Library of Congress-PCC Policy
Statements as our default position...
5 
2.3.3.2 Sources of Information
[RDA]
Take parallel titles proper ​from any
source within the resource​. If the title
pr...
6 
1.7.5 Symbols
[RDA]: -
[RBMS PS]:
1.7.5.x Rebuses
Replace pictures in rebuses with the intended words in square
bracket...
7 
The current draft of the RBMS policy statement suggests that the preferred source (for
resources lacking a title page) ...
8 
The RBMS Bibliographic Standards Committee has charged a separate task force to
explore the issue of data elements for ...
9 
Fulfilling these objectives requires a modest number of significant differences between
DCRM and RDA. Let’s now look at...
10 
 
RDA DCRM
by John L. Dalderston by John L. Dalderston [i.e. Balderston]
In older material, such inaccuracies and vari...
11 
unnumbered pages, etc. Instead, RDA uses a verbose system for making distinctions
between numbered and unnumbered page...
12 
 
RDA DCRM
Printed & sold by J​:​Preston
Les oe​vv​res morales de Pl​v​tarq​v​e
Printed & sold by J​. ​Preston
Les oe​...
13 
Our first example is King James I’s ​Daemonologie,​first published in 1597. Here
is its title page:
Folger STC 14364 C...
14 
the end of one line and the beginning of the next, transcribe it as a single word, ignoring
the line-break.”
Next, let...
15 
Butler, Preston, photographer. “[Abraham Lincoln, candidate for U.S. president. Half­length portrait, seated, facing 
...
16 
Several aspects of the DCRM(G) description -- namely the abbreviation for
Illinois, the prescribed order for the detai...
17 
In current practice, records described according to DCRM are coded as such in
the MARC field for descriptive conventio...
18 
same mindset and principles that we apply when we create authority records for
Expressions and Works; which is to say:...
19 
explore the benefits of broader international collaboration in development of cataloging
guidelines for rare materials...
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RDA & Descriptive Cataloging of Rare Materials: Developing Policy Statements for Special Collections Resources / Francis Lapka (Yale Center for British Art), Audrey Pearson (Beinecke Library, Yale University)

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Presented at RDA & Rare Materials Seminar, 6 November 2015 Edinburgh, hosted by the Cataloguing & Indexing Group in Scotland and organised with support from members of RBMS, EURIG, RBSCG, CIG, IFLA and JSC for Development of RDA

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RDA & Descriptive Cataloging of Rare Materials: Developing Policy Statements for Special Collections Resources / Francis Lapka (Yale Center for British Art), Audrey Pearson (Beinecke Library, Yale University)

  1. 1. 1  RDA & Descriptive Cataloging of Rare Materials: Developing Policy Statements for Special Collections Resources Francis Lapka, Yale Center for British Art Audrey Pearson, Beinecke Library, Yale University This presentation will describe the ongoing work of the ACRL/RBMS Descriptive Cataloging of Rare Materials Task Force, which is charged to create an RDA-compatible set of guidelines for cataloging rare materials. We’ll start by giving a quick overview of the set of manuals known as Descriptive Cataloging of Rare Materials (DCRM). We’ll then describe the work of our current task force, with an overview of the form and function of the policy statements that we will produce. Next, we’ll demonstrate some of the similarities and differences in cataloging materials according to DCRM and RDA; we’ll provide several examples to illustrate these differences. We’ll conclude with a guess about when and how the task force’s work may be completed, and we’ll declare our hopes for wider collaboration in development of the standard in the years to come. Our project -- the fruit of which we will are likely to call RBMS Policy Statements -- builds upon a legacy of rare materials cataloging standards developed primarily by RBMS and the Library of Congress, in collaboration with library colleagues throughout the Anglo-American cataloging community. Our standard began as ​Bibliographic Description of Rare Books​(BDRB), which was published in 1981 as the interpretations of the Library of Congress for AACR2. In 1991, the revision of BDRB was renamed ​Descriptive Cataloging of Rare Books​(DCRB). Since 1998, RBMS has engaged in a major revision and expansion of the standard, to  
  2. 2. 2  provide specialized cataloging rules for the various formats of rare materials typically found in special collections. The new guidelines are collectively known as ​Descriptive Cataloging of Rare Materials ​(DCRM), and include manuals for Books, published in 2006, Serials, published in 2008, and Graphics, published in 2013. The final manuals in this series -- for Cartographic Materials, Music, and Manuscripts -- will all be published in the year to come. All DCRM guidelines, including those not yet published, are interpretations and extensions of AACR2. This means that they are, in places, not wholly compatible with RDA. In 2013, the RBMS Bibliographic Standards Committee charged the present task force to undertake a complete revision of the DCRM manual for Books, to make it compatible with RDA. Early on, however, the task force decided the revision should not be limited to Books alone. Instead, the task force would attempt to consolidate the instructions for all formats currently included in the DCRM suite. This consolidated treatment of varying formats follows the principles of RDA itself; but it also drastically expands the scope of the project, in the immediate term at least. After we made this decision, it was agreed that the new RDA-compliant and consolidated rules for rare materials would not be a true revision of DCRM, but would instead be considered an altogether new text, with the provisional name DCRM2. At the start of our work, it was thought that Manuscripts would also be among the formats within the scope of DCRM2. However, as we began drafting our new guidelines, it became quickly apparent that the instructions for manuscripts were frequently outliers, requiring policies that differed from those for published material. Because of this, the task force has decided to defer treatment of manuscript material until after an initial version of our work is complete. When it becomes time to turn our  
  3. 3. 3  attention to guidelines for manuscripts, we stand to benefit from the work accomplished by the JSC working group for archives, which will be formed very soon. Structure: from DCRM to RBMS Policy Statements In form and function, the RBMS Policy Statements will closely resemble existing policy statements available in the “Resources” section of the RDA Toolkit. RBMS Policy Statements will extend and refine RDA guidelines, with a network of links connecting corresponding rules. RBMS Policy Statements will not repeat guidelines in RDA that are valid for the description of rare materials. This form of instructions represents a significant change from the existing DCRM manuals, in which guidelines from AACR2 are integrated with guidelines for rare materials. The DCRM manuals can, in large part, stand alone for guidance on the portions of a record concerning descriptive cataloging. Accustomed to this form of DCRM, the task force had originally proposed the creation of workflow documents that would weave together the texts of RDA and of the RBMS Policy Statements to create something similar to the experience of using the existing version of DCRM. The task force abandoned plans for this kind of workflow in the spring of this year following discussions with the JSC, who cited concerns about reproducing large amounts of RDA text within a separate set of guidelines. As already mentioned, the new version of DCRM will take the form of a set of policy statements that extend RDA. Most will provide instructions that will be broad enough to be applied to all rare materials; as in RDA proper, some policy statements will specify exceptions or alternatives depending on format, such as music or serials. In the existing versions of DCRM, Library of Congress rule interpretations of AACR2 serve as the base text for our guidelines. For the forthcoming RBMS Policy  
  4. 4. 4  Statements, the task force has decided not to use the Library of Congress-PCC Policy Statements as our default position. We made this change in order to remove an additional dependency from a system of guidelines that is already multi-layered. The decision was also made with an eye to setting up the RBMS Policy Statements for a more international user base. Additionally, we are working with an assumption that all or most of our instructions concerning music should be in line with the Music Library Association Best Practices. The scope of our present work corresponds primarily to the RDA section on recording attributes of Manifestation and Item, found in chapters 1-4. Systematically, we compare each instruction in RDA with the corresponding guidelines in the existing DCRM modules. Where there are differences, we ask ourselves “is there a ​rare materials ​reason to differ?” A rare materials reason to differ should be justified by the slightly different user tasks specific to rare materials, as we will describe later. We apply the same analysis to the examples provided by RDA, asking whether there is a need for rare materials examples, even if the RDA guideline does not require a modification. Where our policy statements differ from RDA, we will almost always provide examples. Broadly, there are three categories of policy statement content: 1. Guidelines for recording information ​differently ​than as instructed by RDA. 2. Guidelines that ​build upon​the RDA instruction with additional details useful for rare materials cataloging. 3. Guidelines that treat a topic​not covered​by RDA.    
  5. 5. 5  2.3.3.2 Sources of Information [RDA] Take parallel titles proper ​from any source within the resource​. If the title proper is taken from outside the resource, take parallel titles proper from the same source. [RBMS PS] Take parallel titles proper ​from the same source as the title proper ​(see ​2.3.2.2​). In the example above, the RBMS Policy Statement differs from RDA, because the user of rare materials expects title and statement of responsibility information to represent text that is on the title page -- without the addition of text from other sources.   1.9.2.1 [Supplied Dates] Actual Year Known [RDA]: If the actual year is known, record the year. [RBMS PS]: Indicate the basis for the conjecture in a note. EXAMPLE [2003] ​EXAMPLE [1876] Note on Publication Statement:​Publication date from Bibliography of American literature. Here, the RBMS PS adds additional guidance to the RDA instruction. The addition reflects the importance of recording a justification for supplied dates.  
  6. 6. 6  1.7.5 Symbols [RDA]: - [RBMS PS]: 1.7.5.x Rebuses Replace pictures in rebuses with the intended words in square brackets. Make an explanatory note (see​2.17​) ​EXAMPLE The [Bute] interest in the [city], or, The [bridge] in the [hole] Note on Title​: Title in the form of a rebus. Bute represented as a boot in the rebus. This RBMS Policy Statement -- on the treatment of rebuses -- is an example of a topic not explicitly covered in RDA. RDA contains about a dozen instructions for “Early Printed Resources,” generally in the form of exceptions or alternatives. Where these instructions are acceptable as is, the RBMS policy statement says only to apply the alternative or exception. In some cases, the RBMS policy statement is compatible with the exception, but provides more information. In a few places, our draft policy statement is not compatible with an RDA exception for early printed resources. For example, RDA provides this instruction in Sources of Information (2.2.2.2): Exception  Early printed resources. ​If an early printed resource (or a reproduction of   it) lacks a title page, title sheet, or title card (or an image of it), use  as the  preferred source of information the first of the following sources that has a  title:  a) a colophon (or an image of a colophon)  b) a cover or jacket issued with the resource (or an image of a cover  or jacket)  c) a caption (or an image of a caption)  
  7. 7. 7  The current draft of the RBMS policy statement suggests that the preferred source (for resources lacking a title page) should vary based on the type of material (monographic text, serial, music, etc.). Ultimately, we’ll want all RBMS Policy Statements to be​​compatible with RDA’s instructions for early printed resources. If we find that an RDA instruction is unsatisfactory, then our community needs to make a compelling case for revision of the RDA guideline. As our task force reviews RDA, there are areas -- including areas outside of the exceptions for early printed resources -- where we feel strongly that what is needed is not a policy statement, but an actual revision to RDA. In such cases, we will submit revision proposals through the North American representative to the RSC. For example, RBMS has submitted a proposal concerning referential relationships, in order to accommodate bibliographic citations or references. Review and revision of RDA’s guidelines concerning early printed resources should take place with all stakeholders in mind. If it feels there is sufficient warrant, the RSC may soon form a rare materials working group, composed of international membership, as it has previously done for music and will soon do for archives. Presumably, such a rare materials working group would limit the scope of its work to the guidelines in RDA proper. Maintenance of RBMS Policy Statements will remain the purview of RBMS -- in the immediate term, at least. RDA consists of a set of guidelines and a formally defined element set.​​To fully accommodate the description of rare materials, the task force is likely to propose a modest number of extensions or refinements to the RDA element set. For example, we may find it useful to articulate a separate data element for signature statements; at the moment, such data is lumped with other notes on the extent of the manifestation.  
  8. 8. 8  The RBMS Bibliographic Standards Committee has charged a separate task force to explore the issue of data elements for rare materials description. Our DCRM task force is working with that group by suggesting data elements that we see as candidates for addition to RDA. Objectives of DCRM and the RBMS Policy Statements The objectives of DCRM have remained consistent since their inception 35 years ago. They will not change much in our forthcoming policy statements. DCRM shares the general objectives of base standards such as AACR2 and RDA, and then adds objectives that are important for users of special collections: ● Users must be able to distinguish clearly among different manifestations, and among variations within a manifestation ● Users must be able to perform most identification and selection tasks without direct access to the materials ● Users must be able to investigate the physical processes that produced the material, as well as ​post-production​alterations These user tasks will be explained in greater detail in Chapter 1 of the RBMS Policy Statements. To fulfill these objectives, a description of a resource requires: ● full and accurate transcriptions ● precise descriptions of the physical carrier, production processes, and post-production manipulations of the resource ● detailed information on provenance and custodial history  
  9. 9. 9  Fulfilling these objectives requires a modest number of significant differences between DCRM and RDA. Let’s now look at some of those major variations. The first significant difference concerns sources of information​. ​DCRM guidelines place a strong emphasis on representing what appears on the preferred source of information (which for rare materials, is usually a title page). In a DCRM description, it is never appropriate to record title or statement of responsibility information that does not appear in the preferred source. The notable exception is a devised title proper. For edition statements and imprint statements, DCRM requires the cataloger to make a note if information comes from anywhere besides the title page. RDA permits a much wider array of sources of information. For some elements, RDA allows us to transcribe information from anywhere within the resource, without making a note on the source. The heavy DCRM emphasis on representation becomes less useful, perhaps, for resources that are not self-describing, such as photographs, naturally found objects, and manuscripts. For such material, RDA allows us to supply information within data elements that are normally transcribed -- without an indication that the information is absent from the resource. In a DCRM description, by contrast, all supplied information within data elements that are normally transcribed must be recorded within square brackets. DCRM also requires notes on the sources of supplied information. A second significant difference concerns​​interpolations and corrections​.​DCRM and RDA deal with misprints quite differently. As with AACR2, DCRM guidelines say to follow an inaccuracy “either by ‘[sic]’ or by the abbreviation ‘i.e.’ and the correction within square brackets.” In RDA, the misprint is not corrected or acknowledged within the transcribed element itself. The cataloger does ​not​insert an interpolation. Instead, corrections can me made in related notes. If the misprint affects title information, the cataloger makes a variant title for the corrected form.  
  10. 10. 10    RDA DCRM by John L. Dalderston by John L. Dalderston [i.e. Balderston] In older material, such inaccuracies and variant spellings occur more frequently. The task force is currently divided on whether our users are better served by the RDA approach or the existing DCRM approach. Both attempt to serve the principle of representation. In DCRM, the “[sic]” or “[i.e.]” introduces an interpolation -- which is generally undesirable -- but it serves to say to the user: this is really how the information appears on the source. RDA’s approach succeeds in leaving the transcribed text free of interpolations; but for users to be certain that the inaccuracy is not the fault of the cataloger, they must locate related information in a separate data element, and such data may not be prominent. Now let’s look briefly at the matter of transposition​.​In DCRM, there are numerous guidelines that instruct the cataloger to make a note on transposition when information on the title page appears in an order that differs from the norm (which is to say, in ISBD order). RDA is mostly indifferent to the order of data elements, so the concept of transposition is almost entirely absent (and completely so for attributes concerning Manifestations and Items). That said, making notes on transposition does not violate any RDA principles. Of course we can’t highlight differences between RDA and DCRM without talking about pagination and foliation statements. One of the most controversial changes introduced by RDA is the new form of syntax for recording extent in resources issued as volumes. RDA has abandoned the system of using square brackets to record  
  11. 11. 11  unnumbered pages, etc. Instead, RDA uses a verbose system for making distinctions between numbered and unnumbered pages.   RDA DCRM 12 unnumbered pages, 275 pages, 1 unnumbered page, 1 unnumbered leaf of plates, XII leaves of plates [12], 275, [1] p., [1], XII leaves of plates The DCRM Task Force is confident that the earlier practice, which is also used internationally by bibliographers and the antiquarian book trade, better serves the needs of our community -- that is, for those who require such information to identify a resource. For the current JSC meeting, ALA has presented a discussion paper proposing a major change in RDA’s treatment of extent. It includes a proposal to treat pagination and foliation differently than true measures of extent. If this change is adopted by RDA, pagination and foliation statements would be more clearly defined in terms of how the resource represents itself (rather than a true count of the pages/leaves in a volume). Such a change ​might ​allow RDA a principled justification for reverting to the earlier system of syntax for recording pagination statements. The final major difference we’d like to highlight concerns the issue of transcription. In many respects, RDA and DCRM principles for transcription are similar. In both, letters are generally transcribed as they appear, capitalization is normalized, and abbreviations are used only if found on the source. DCRM, however, provides much finer guidance on issues commonly found with rare materials, such as normalization of early letterforms (especially I/J and U/V), and treatment of symbols and spacing.  
  12. 12. 12    RDA DCRM Printed & sold by J​:​Preston Les oe​vv​res morales de Pl​v​tarq​v​e Printed & sold by J​. ​Preston Les oe​uu​res morales de Pl​u​tarq​u​e Guidelines for transcription of punctuation have proven tricky. The general feeling is that RDA’s guidelines on transcription of punctuation are inconsistently principled. When the RDA guidelines are applied and combined with ISBD punctuation -- as is still common -- punctuation in transcribed elements serves as an unreliable aid to representation of the resource. The draft of the RBMS Policy Statements permits normalization of punctuation, as needed; this approach is in the spirit of the current proposal put forward by the Canadian Committee on Cataloguing. Two example descriptions In many ways, DCRM aligns more closely with RDA than with AACR2, particularly in transcription. We’ll now show descriptions of two resources -- one book and one photograph -- in order to highlight both similarities and differences in RDA and DCRM applied in combination with AACR2.  
  13. 13. 13  Our first example is King James I’s ​Daemonologie,​first published in 1597. Here is its title page: Folger STC 14364 Copy 1. ​Used by permission of the Folger Shakespeare Library under a ​Creative Commons  Attribution­ShareAlike 4.0 International License​.    The first notable difference between RDA and DCRM descriptions concerns the statement of responsibility.   RDA DCRM(B) applied with AACR2 245 10  Daemonolo​-​gie : ǂb in forme of a dialogue : diuided into three bookes ​/ ǂc Iames Rx.  Daemonologie : ǂb in forme of a dialogue : diuided into three bookes.  500 __    "To the reader" signed, p. 9: ​Iames Rx.​, i.e. James I.  In the view of DCRM, this resource lacks a statement of responsibility, because this information does not appear on the title page. RDA permits us to take the statement of responsibility from anywhere within the book. Because of this, “Iames Rx.” can be recorded here; in the DCRM description, the information is recorded in a note. Additionally, RDA would have us transcribe the hyphen indicating the line-break in “Daemonologie.” DCRM, though, states in rule 0G4.1, “If a word is divided between  
  14. 14. 14  the end of one line and the beginning of the next, transcribe it as a single word, ignoring the line-break.” Next, let’s look at descriptions of the imprint.  RDA DCRM(B) applied with AACR2 264 _1 Edinb​v​rgh : ǂb Printed by Robert Walde-graue printer to the Kings Majestie, ǂc an. 1597. Edinb​u​rgh : ǂb Printed by Robert Walde-graue, printer to the Kings Majestie, ǂc an. 1597. Again, we encounter a difference in transcription conventions. In converting the “V” of “EDINBVRGH” to lowercase, DCRM instructs us to follow the pattern of usage in the text, in which the letterform “u” is used in this context. RDA, however, has us convert the uppercase “V” to a lowercase “v”. Finally, let’s compare the physical descriptions.  RDA DCRM(B) applied with AACR2 300 __ 10 unnumbered pages, 81 pages, 1 unnumbered page ; ǂc 18 cm (4to) [10], 81, [1] p.​​; ǂc 18 cm (4to) In the RDA description, we’ve applied the exception for Early Printed Resources, so that all sequences of pagination are accounted for. However, the syntax for recording the pagination is quite different from that in the DCRM description. Our second example is a photograph of Abraham Lincoln, from the collections of the Library of Congress. Our DCRM description will use the manual for ​Graphics.  
  15. 15. 15  Butler, Preston, photographer. “[Abraham Lincoln, candidate for U.S. president. Half­length portrait, seated, facing  front.]” Photograph. Springfield, Ill.: s.n., 1860. From Library of Congress: ​Miscellaneous Items in High Demand​.  http://lccn.loc.gov/2007686613 (accessed November 17, 2015).    As you can see, the photograph bears no text, so all information in the transcribed elements is devised by the cataloger or supplied from reference sources.  RDA DCRM(G) applied with AACR2 245 10 Half-length portrait of Abraham Lincoln, seated, facing front / ǂc by Preston Butler. [Half-length portrait of Abraham Lincoln, seated, facing front] ǂh [graphic] 264 _0 Springfield, Illinois, ǂc 1860 August 13. [Springfield, Ill.], ǂc [13 August 1860] In RDA, the cataloger does not indicate that information is supplied if the resource is “of a type that does not normally carry identifying information” (see RDA 2.2.4). In the DCRM description, we are required to indicate that the information is supplied, by use of square brackets. Here, the RDA approach is arguably more in tune with the practice of the art and archival cataloging communities. The RBMS Policy Statements may wish to find a compromise, keeping a requirement that supplied information is flagged as such, but perhaps abandoning the use of square brackets in this context.  
  16. 16. 16  Several aspects of the DCRM(G) description -- namely the abbreviation for Illinois, the prescribed order for the detailed date, and, most notably, the GMD -- will not be carried forward in a description based on the RBMS Policy Statements. RDA DCRM(G) applied with AACR2 500 __ Title devised by library staff. 500 __ Photographed by Preston Butler. See: Ostendorf. 500 __ Place and date of production from Ostendorf and Meserve. DCRM insists that all supplied information is justified by a note. In the context of this example, RDA does not.  RDA DCRM(G) applied with AACR2 300 __ 1 photograph : ǂb approximate half-plate ambrotype ; ǂc ​14 x 11 cm 1 photograph : ǂb approximate half-plate ambrotype ; ǂc ​visible image 14 x 11 cm, in frame 21 x 18 cm RDA provides relatively good guidance for describing the physical aspects of still image resources. As shown in the description of dimensions, however, there are areas where RDA’s guidelines will benefit from expansion. RDA instructs to record only the pictorial area of the image. DCRM(G) provides detailed guidelines for recording the dimensions of the visible image and the dimensions of the frame. The Benefits of DCRM in Cataloging Workflows As we noted earlier, a description conforming to DCRM ought to better fulfill the needs of special collections researchers. The usefulness of a DCRM description is amplified in the context of cooperative cataloging.  
  17. 17. 17  In current practice, records described according to DCRM are coded as such in the MARC field for descriptive conventions (in MARC field 040, subfield e). 040 __ ǂa CtY-BA ǂb eng ǂe rda ​ǂe dcrmb​ǂc CtY-BA For “copy cataloging” of rare materials, a DCRM description is usually the preferred point of departure, when it is available. For libraries that have workflows that are closely tied to OCLC’s WorldCat database, there is an added advantage, since OCLC excludes DCRM-encoded records from its automatic “deduping” procedures. This helps to ensure that variant manifestations are not mistakenly merged in OCLC. For these reasons, we expect that descriptions made in accordance with our forthcoming policy statements will also be flagged with a code in the descriptive conventions field. When resource descriptions evolve from flat MARC records to a network of linked entities, our policy statement stamp will presumably apply to the entities in the graph concerning Manifestations and Items. If our community -- in the international sense -- is ever so bold as to implement the concept of cooperative cataloging to its fullest, a common standard for rare materials cataloging will be an essential tool. In the FRBR model, only the copy-specific Item is unique to our respective collections. We should treat Manifestations with the  
  18. 18. 18  same mindset and principles that we apply when we create authority records for Expressions and Works; which is to say: a common Manifestation description should be maintained by the community. We hope that our community will soon reevaluate the merits of maintaining our local catalogs​​as catalogs of record for Manifestation descriptions -- a practice that nearly all of us currently engage in. If, however, we hope to adopt a new model -- one in which a library’s catalog of Items links out to external descriptions of Manifestations (maintained by the community) -- we will need assurance that those Manifestations to which we link are appropriately described. We believe that an internationally accepted content standard for rare materials, perhaps an outgrowth of our present work, could fulfill this role. Next Steps Our goal is to complete an initial version of the RBMS Policy Statements by 2017. At that point, our work will be reviewed by the RBMS Bibliographic Standards Committee and by the American Library Association’s Committee on Cataloging: Description and Access. We will solicit review from ​format specialist communities, such as the Music Library Association (MLA), the Map and Geospatial Information Round Table (MAGIRT), and the Cooperative Serials Program of the PCC (CONSER). We hope that we may also count on input from the international community of rare materials catalogers, including those of you here today. ​There will also be a degree of review by the RSC, to ensure that the guidelines are in harmony with the principles of RDA. Our task force will be disbanded after it publishes the first version of the RBMS Policy Statements. At that time, the guidelines will be maintained and enhanced by the RBMS Bibliographic Standards Committee. Alternatively, now may be an apt moment to  
  19. 19. 19  explore the benefits of broader international collaboration in development of cataloging guidelines for rare materials. Working together on a common standard may present logistical challenges -- not least of which, the need for multilingual implementation -- but the benefits are potentially immense. Our course of action should be made with users in mind. Researchers today may now easily consult online catalogs across the world; we render a service to such users when we describe an item in a consistent manner. If consistency is a worthwhile goal, then perhaps we should aim to have a standard for rare materials description that is at least as widely adopted as RDA itself.  

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