Cataloging Standards


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This is a group paper for LBSC690 at UMCP in December 2010.

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Cataloging Standards

  1. 1. Cataloging Standards LBSC 670Izzy Bae, Laurian Douthett and Katie Seeler 12/09/10 1
  2. 2. Introduction Humans, as information seeking creatures, have the innate capacity to consume,store, and interpret vast amounts of data. In order to retrieve this information moreefficiently, people have developed different methods to organize information over thousandsof years. While the format of accumulated materials has changed, the basic issue of how toorganize the information remains the same. This paper seeks to examine the status and role of some of the most prominentcataloging theories and models found in library science: Anglo American Cataloging Rules(AACR2), Resource Description and Access (RDA), Functional Requirements forBibliographic Records (FRBR), and Dublin Core. The following sections look at the past,present, and future of cataloging standards and metadata. This work compares scholarlyliterature to results from a questionnaire posed to various librarians in the field. The intentionis to formulate a better understanding of implications these changes will have for the libraryprofession.Anglo-American Cataloging Rules (AACR) AACR2 is arguably the most well-known term in library science, which isunderstandable considering its significant impact on other aspects of libraries. Thesecataloging rules were first published in 1967 and have undergone several revisions since itsinitial publication. In order to more fully understand the structure of AACR2 and itslimitations, it is important to know how it came into existence. Antonio Panizzi, Charles Cutter, S.R. Ranganathan, and Seymour Lubestzky are fourindividuals who have strongly impacted library cataloging. Before the contributions of theseinformation professionals, there was limited standardization and internationalization ofcataloging codes. Prior to the early twentieth century, cataloging codes centered around ahandful of very large libraries. Examples include the British Museum rules, the Bodleianrules, and the Bibliothèque Nationale rules.1 Panizzi was instrumental in the development of the British Museum rules. Hired asAssistant Keeper in the Department of Printed Books in 1831, Panizzi would go on to becomePrincipal Librarian in 1856. The British Museum Library was in a severe state of disarray whenPanizzi arrived. After years of debate on the direction to take the library, Panizzi convinced themuseum’s trustees that it was best to design an author catalog with a subject index instead of a classedcatalog. When faced with criticism by those who thought a catalog to simply be a list of titles, Panizzi1 William Warner Bishop, “J. C. M. Hanson and International Cataloging,” The Library Quarterly 4, no. 2 (Apr.,1934), (accessed December 9, 2010) 2
  3. 3. argued that “a reader may know the work he requires; but he cannot be expected to know all thepeculiarities of different editions, and this information he has a right to expect from the catalogues.”2 Collaborating with librarians around the United Kingdom, Panizzi composed Rules for theCompilation of the Catalogue, now commonly referred to as his “famous 91 rules.” Museum trusteesapproved the standards in 1839 and were first printed in 1841.3 The rules focused primarily on authorand title entries, but also included instructions for descriptive cataloging and filing. Donald J. Lehnuscontends that half of the “ideas and principles laid down by Panizzi are incorporated into [the 1967version of] AACR.”4 While the rules have been clarified over time, Panizzi’s basic principlesof user needs, idea of the “work,” and standardization are still very relevant today. Charles Cutter is probably best remembered for the Cutter numbers used in theLibrary of Congress Classification. These numbers help form individual call numbers fordifferent books on the same subject. But it is his Rules for a Printed Dictionary Catalogue(later Rules for a Dictionary Catalog), published in 1876, that influenced AACR and laterFRBR. A dictionary catalog lists materials by author, title, and subject in a singlealphabetically sorted list. In other words, it is possible to find all books both by and about anindividual.5 Cutter outlines what a catalog is used for and how it should work during the“General Remarks” preceding the rules. Cutter’s objects reflect his concern for user needsand formed the basis for subsequent library catalogs with the following core tenets: • to enable a person to find a book of which the author, title, or subject is known, • to show what a library has by a given author, on a given subject, and/or in a given literature, and • to assist in the choice of a book as to its edition (bibliographically) and/or as to its character (literary or topical).6 Shortly after Cutter published Rules for a Printed Dictionary Catalogue, theAmerican Library Association started work on a standard cataloging code for libraries in theUnited States; Britain undertook efforts around the same time. These efforts never fullysucceeded and in 1900, the ALA started to actively pursue standardization again.7 MelvilDewey suggested in 1902 that the ALA should join forces with the British to produce anAnglo-American code as the British were also still embroiled in efforts to standardize a2 William Denton, Understanding FRBR: What It Is and How It Will Affect Our Retrieval. Ed. Arlene G. Taylor.(Westport, Connecticut: Libraries Unlimited, 2007), 38-9.3 Julia Pettee, “The Development of Authorship Entry and the Formulation of Authorship Rules as Found in theAnglo-American Code,” The Library Quarterly 6 no. 3. (Jul., 1936), December 9, 2010).4 Donald J. Lehnus, “A Comparison of Panizzi’s 91 Rules and the AACR of 1967,” Occasional Papers No. 105(Dec., 1972): 37.5 Denton, 40.6 Ibid., 40-41.7 Ibid., 43. 3
  4. 4. cataloging code. The ALA and the Library Association formally agreed to cooperate in1904.8 This partnership resulted in the first international code which was published in 1908in two separate editions: Catalog Rules, Author and Title Entries for the United States andCataloging Rules, Author and Title Entries for Britain. Both editions contained 174 rulescovering both entry and heading for authors and titles and description. Disagreementcentered on authors and publications that changed names or titles. The groups explained thedisputes in notes or simply printed two versions of the rule in contention.9 This first set ofAnglo-American cataloging rules drew strongly on the works of Panizzi and Cutter.10 S.R. Ranganathan contributed to the development of cataloging in many ways,notably inventing faceted classification. But it is Ranganathan’s five laws of library sciencethat are particularly influential on both AACR and FRBR. Ranganathan combined his lawswith Cutter’s rules in his 1935 publication Classified Catalogue Code to redefine user needs.He argues that library catalogs should be designed with the abilities to “… [d]isclose to everyreader his or her document; [s]ecure for every document its reader; [s]ave the time of thereader; and for this purpose [s]ave the time of the staff.”11 While these ideas are notexplicitly laid out in AACR or FRBR, they are seen in the efforts to increase the ways inwhich people can utilize the catalog.12 Seymour Lubetzky strove to simplify cataloging rules and focus on basic principlesas seen in his seminal work Cataloging Rules and Principles. The 1953 publication followedhis critique of the 1949 A.L.A. Cataloging Rules for Author and Title Entries and Rules forDescriptive Cataloging in the Library of Congress. Lubetzky felt that both sets of rules werecomplex and did not rely enough on basic principles, instead prescribing exhaustive rulesbased on individual cases.13 Denton maintains that Lubetzky’s work “…was key to the wording of the ParisPrinciples, the common name for the Statement of Principles passed at the InternationalConference on cataloging Principles in that city in 1961.”14 53 countries and 12 internationalorganizations met at this conference to examine the choice and form of headings inauthor/title catalogues. This group managed to compose a five page statement of 12principles known as the Paris Principles. These later formed the basis for the first Anglo-8 Joint Steering Committee for Development of RDA, “A Brief History of RDA,” Joint Steering Committee forDevelopment of RDA, (accessed December 9, 2010).9 Ibid.10 Denton, 43.11 Ibid., 4512 Ibid., 44.13 Michael Gorman, Commemorating the Past, Celebrating the Present, Creating the Future: Papers inObservance of the 50th Anniversary of the Association for Library Collections & Technical Services, ed. PamelaBluh. (Chicago, American Library Association, 2007) , 61-62.14 Denton, 46. 4
  5. 5. American Cataloging Rules (AACR).15 The Paris Principles are of such continuingimportance that the International Federation of Library Institutions and Associations (IFLA)is attempting to adapt them to accommodate present and future advances in technology.16 The Anglo-American Cataloging Rules finally debuted in 1967 with 126 rules forentry comprised of 500 provisions. A reviewer of the publication notes that the AACR wasnot shorter or simpler after 15 years of effort, but infinitely more logical and organized thanthe ALA rules. Tate credits Lubetzky “…for the excellent job of deriving the underlyingprinciples and of synthesizing into a system the fragmented rules of the ALA code.”17 Michael Gorman levied several criticisms of the original AACR from a personalperspective. Among other disparagements, he argued that the “… 1967 rules retained manyof the outmoded practices and distinctions against which Lubetzky had raged war” and thatdescription rules remained too focused on books and inflexible to the variety of other types ofmedia. Gorman believed that AACR was incapable of responding to the changinginternational bibliographic cooperative community, MARC records, and library automation.18 With the desire to keep improving cataloging rules, a program of InternationalStandard Bibliographic Description (ISBD) was developed at the International Meeting ofCataloging Experts in Copenhagen in 1969.19 According to Gorman, the basic ideas behindISBD “were that the main parts of the bibliographic description (the areas in ISBD) and theparts of those areas (the elements) would be given in an internationally agreed order and setoff and delineated by distinctive punctuation. ISBD also prescribed standard internationalabbreviations.”20 The Joint Steering Committee for the Revision of AACR (JSC) was established in1974. Primarily tasked with incorporating the North American and British texts into a singleversion, the JSC appointed two editors for the revised code, Michael Gorman of the BritishLibrary and Paul W. Winkler of the Library of Congress. JSC members stemmed from theAmerican Library Association, the British Library, the Canadian Library Association(represented by the Canadian Committee on Cataloging), the Library Association, and theLibrary of Congress.21 When the Anglo-American Cataloging Rules, Second Edition (AACR2) emerged in1978, it was split into two sections: description and entry and heading. AACR had an15 Ibid, 47.16 Barbara Tillett, ed., IFLA Cataloging Principles: Steps towards an International Cataloging Code, 2 (Munich:K.G. Saur Verlag, 2005), 24.17 Elizabeth L. Tate, Review: [untitled], The Library Quarterly, 37, No. 4 (Oct., 1967), p 394 (accessed December 9, 2010).18 Gorman, 62.19 Joint Steering Committee for Development of RDA, “A Brief History of RDA,” Joint Steering Committee forDevelopment of RDA, (accessed December 9, 2010).20 Gorman, 65.21 Joint Steering Committee for Development of RDA, “A Brief History of RDA,” Joint Steering Committee forDevelopment of RDA, (accessed December 9, 2010). 5
  6. 6. additional section for non-book materials which was incorporated into the description section.This section was based on the ISBD (G) framework and included a general chapter, chaptersfor individual formats, and new chapters for machine-readable data files and three-dimensional artifacts.22 Three major revisions of AACR2 followed in 1988, 1998, and 2002. The 1988edition of AACR2 incorporated the 1982, 1983, and 1985 revisions in addition to subsequentunpublished revisions. The 1998 version incorporated the 1993 amendments as well asrevisions approved between 1992 and 1996. Amendments in 2001 included a completerevision of chapter 9 which was renamed “Electronic Resources.” The final revised editionof AACR2 in 2002 incorporated the 1999 and 2001 amendments and changes approved in2001. Some of these changes included complete revisions of chapter 3 (CartographicMaterials) and chapter 12 being renamed to “Continuing Resources.” The revision of chapter12 originates from a recommendation of the International Conference on the Principles andFuture Development of AACR and IFLA-led efforts to harmonize ISBD (CR), ISSN practice,and AACR2.23 Jones and Carr attribute the changing nature of library collections and creation of theFRBR model to the planned publication of AACR3 in 2007. The proposed changes includednew introductions to Parts I and II, incorporation of FRBR concepts and terminology,integration of authority control, and the elimination of various inconsistent, ambiguous, andredundant rules. Critics of the draft version declared that “more far-reaching changes werenecessary to reflect the digital world that libraries were entering.” This eventually led toplans to develop an entirely “new” code: RDA (Resource Description and Access) with theintention that its structure would be better aligned with FRBR, have a more user-friendlylayout, and have a clear division that separates the recording of data from its presentation.24It is interesting to note that not everyone agrees that RDA differs enough from AACR2. Oneof the questionnaire respondents is the Associate Director for Collections and TechnicalServices at an academic library in Florida. When asked if she would have preferred that JSCcreate a new version of AACR2 than RDA, she replied “Actually, I think RDA is a little toowedded to AACR2. I wish the JSC had started with a blank slate and createdsomething truly new and innovative.” Concurrent to the revisions of AACR2, the IFLA was interested in studying thefunctions and purpose of the bibliographic record. The IFLA convened in Sweden in 1990with the intentions of reaching an agreement on the nature and core components of thebibliographic record. Additionally, they looked at the ways bibliographic records impactusers’ searches for information but developed nothing concrete until 1998. Today’s libraryprofessionals are still trying to understand the implications of that initial study, as it is clear22 Ibid.23 Ibid.24 Ed Jones and Patrick Carr, “The Shape of Things to Come,” The Serials Librarian, 52 no. 3 (2007), 283. 6
  7. 7. that the results from this study are here to stay. Further discussion will explain the basicconcepts emphasized in that study, which led to the development of the FunctionalRequirements for Bibliographic Records.FRBR Information can be seen as an entity with no boundaries. The systems and web-based environments that now produce a majority of the information available today is unfixedin nature. Not only does it lack the physical object sense it may have had before, but unless itis printed onto paper and reproduced in physical form, it exists purely in the digital realm.Bruce Dearstyne gets at this idea when he speaks of a “record.”25 This idea can similarly beapplied to the information extracted from the age of web 2.0. Its importance underlies thefact that library professionals and catalogers alike are currently being challenged by theprocess of identifying and describing unstable internet resources. Technology changes and evolves in combination with the human thought. In the lastdecade a milestone has been reached in which people are unable to keep up the resourcesavailable to them.26 At the heart of the problem is the deficient ability to provide betteraccess to information while being inundated with a proliferation of internet-based resources.It is critical to not only remember past description standards of books, but to analyze thecurrent issues that plague the information world in order to successfully establish effectivemodels for the future. It must now be recognized that the field needs to radically change and realize itspotential in describing “information.” This idea has allowed Google to surpass any searchengine in use and is reflected in the astounding figure that 34,000 searches are made onGoogle per second!27 In terms of library cataloging structures, the creators of the FunctionalRequirements for Bibliographic Records definitively have the “Google” effect in mind. The following description of FRBR is meant to demonstrate a student understandingand simplified interpretation of the abstract theory. FRBR is a “conceptual model for thebibliographic universe.”28 For example, FRBR demonstrates relationships between items,simplifies the bibliographic universe, and provides a conceptual framework for increasedaccuracy and description of materials.29 A product of literature review and research, it is25 Bruce Dearstyne, “Leadership and Management of Records and Information Programs: Issues and Strategies,”Records & Information Management Report 16 No.3 (March 2000), 2.26 Ibid, 2.27 Matt McGee, comment on “By the Numbers: Twitter v. Facebook v. Google Buzz,” Blog, posted February23, 2010, (accessedDecember 9, 2010).28 What is FRBR? A Conceptual Model of the Bibliographic Universe Cataloging Distribution Service, “Whatis FRBR? A Conceptual Model for of the Bibliographic Universe,” Library of Congress, (accessed December 9, 2010).29 Allyson Carlyle, “Understanding FRBR as a Conceptual Model: FRBR and the Bibliographic Universe,” 7
  8. 8. apparent that there are many ways to understand FRBR through the potential benefits of theprocess it aims to improve, yet it is so difficult to pinpoint a clear understanding of what itexactly is. As derived from the literature and statements from the questionnaire, FRBR is aframework and conceptual model. A general definition assesses a conceptual model to be a “descriptive model of asystem based on qualitative assumptions about its elements, their interrelationships, andsystem boundaries.”30 Per this basic definition, a conceptual model hypothesizes about theessence of a system and the characteristics of elements and relationships that bind the systemtogether. Such models are typically helpful in database design to improve processes. Key toa successful information system is the breakdown of difficult-to-comprehend concepts into asimpler representation of a system, which is the purpose of using a conceptual model.31Furthermore, the ultimate question asked should be: Has this new representation achieved thestatus of satisfying its purpose, which is to improve the process of organizing and describinginformation? With FRBR, this is yet to be determined. Bringing the conceptual model back to the realm of the library profession, Patrick LeBoeuf espouses that these models take on a function in a new environment to “provide a highlevel view of the real life domain covered by bibliographic and museum databases.”32 Tofundamentally state the essence of the bibliographic model for the future, FRBR is a methodof making implicit bibliographic relationships clearly expressed. FRBR endeavors to linksimilarly related concepts, objects, people, and events, as well as to establish various accesspoints for making information retrieval an accurate and satisfying user experience. It is away of breaking down, differentiating and analyzing the various components of informationthat make up a resource regardless of format. Rather than thinking of information as beingembodied by physical objects, it takes the traditional resource and extracts the ideas andconcepts away from the physical product. It also covers the possible ways in which a usermight utilize a piece or type of information to retrieve further information in order to identifywhat best represents the information the user is seeking. This break down of concepts resultsin the extraction of entities which perform multiple functions. In the FRBR model, the bibliographic universe is arranged by three types ofidentifiable units of information. These distinct pieces of information are represented by theLibrary Resources and Technical Services, 50 no.4 (October 2006), 264-265.30, “conceptual model,” Businessdictionary, December 9, 2010).31 Carlyle, 266.32 Le Boeuf, Patrick, “…That struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heardno more …”:the elements that should be accounted for in a conceptual model forperforming arts and the information relating to their archives,” (Paper given at theworkshop “De la conception à la survie: comment documenter et conserver lesproductions du spectacle multimédia ?”on Friday 13 January 2006 in Paris). 8
  9. 9. term ‘entity’ and are subsequently referred to in discussions of the FRBR model. The entitiesrepresent the pieces of information that emanate from both traditional and non-traditionalresources. “The [bibliographic] universe is characterized in terms of the entities within it andthe relationships that hold among them.”33 These relationships ultimately tie the relatedconcepts, ideas, and bibliographic items together on the screen for the user. The three groups of entity categories begin with a foundational four-levelhierarchical structure. Group 1 entities encompass a spectrum of information piecesstretching from the most abstract to the most concrete. For example “Work” is described as aconceptual idea. Isolated from the resource, a work can be seen as a floating creation by theauthor or inventor. As attributes are identified, the units gain more structure. “Expression” isdefined as “a class whose members are a realization of a single work…”34 The meaning of“expression” can be reduced to a “fixed” idea not yet in a physical form yet. Between the“work,” “expression,” “manifestation,” and “item,” there appears to be a clear divisionbetween abstract and real. Finally, a manifestation attaches the conceptual to an actual form.This form is a set of items in which “item” is the simplest concrete form of the originalabstract “work.”35 Group 2 and 3 entities have an equal role in the bibliographic framework, but have asolid meaning in relation to the more abstract Group 1 entities. Group 2 entities include thetitle of responsibility, or the creator of the information resource. There are three categories ofGroup 2 entities: “Person,” “Corporate Body,” and “Family.” The third group of entitiesconsists of subjects. The linking factor of the group entities is that all Group 1 and Group 2entities fall under the Group 3 category. All real and conceptual representations of physicalresources have a subject, as well as the creatorship contained in Group 2 entities. Theestablishment of these entities in FRBR forms the core model of information upon whichresearchers base their activities. It is possible to see the library model’s function through therecently adopted term, “FRBRize.” FRBRizing allows for the making of relationshipsbetween the entities as well as the creation of metadata, which fits into FRBR actual content. As stated, FRBR is intended to improve the process of information retrieval for theuser. The culmination of the FRBR discussion is recognition of the four key user tasks whichallow for accurate information retrieval. The procedures described as follows will bring theuser a product: First, the user’s goal is to locate the entities (Work, Expression,Manifestation, Item, Person, Corporate Body, Event, Object etc.). Next, the user is taskedwith identifying entities to evaluate if the entities produced through the search are relevant tothe user’s needs. Tasks three and four are ultimately to select the most appropriate entity and33 Barbara Tillet, in FRBR: A Guide for the Perplexed by Robert L. Maxwell, (Chicago: American LibraryAssociation, 2008), 3.34 Riley, Jenn,, “FRBR,” Techessence, (accessed December 9,2010). 9
  10. 10. to acquire the item, culminating the process that will bring a desired result to the user, patron,or researcher. FRBR is thought to transform not just the organization of records, but to helpprovide search results more appropriate to the user’s needs. Based on comments providedthrough both published works in the field and the project questionnaire, the assumption is thatmost respondents are at least familiar with FRBR’s potential applications and recognize itsinevitable implementation. Most of the criticism levied thus far has been directed towardsRDA, which is in the process of testing and currently pending approval by the Joint SteeringCommittee and the Library of Congress. RDA incorporates old traditions with newmodifications in its drive to provide more adequate search results as the successor to AACR2.Many unanswered questions remain about the future of RDA. The significance of FRBR isconclusively shown as a new way of thinking about the components of traditional books,media, and digital resources and how they can be organized and arranged in a meaningfulway for the user. This effort will infuse standardized description to enhance the process. Aswill be discussed, the process of reaching agreement on how description should be adapted tothe new environment through FRBR is difficult.RDA: Resource Description and Access RDA is a set of cataloging rules which guide the formulation of bibliographicrecords in library catalogs. They stem from the current cataloging rules set forth throughAACR2. As mentioned previously, RDA followed the development of the FRBR model.According to the Joint Steering Committee, author of the current RDA draft, the newcataloging rules “define the scope and structure of RDA in relation to its underlyingconceptual models (FRBR and FRAD) and to two related metadata models (the DCMIAbstract Model and The <indecs> Metadata Framework.” The JSC intends for RDA to provide “…a flexible framework for describing allresources – analog and digital, data that is readily adaptable to new and emerging databasestructures, and data that is compatible with existing records in online library catalogues.”36 Inother words, RDA is intended to allow catalogers to create metadata records for current andfuture resource types by employing principle-based rules without the need to re-catalogexisting records.37 Although RDA is still in the testing phase, some professionals are already lookingfor ways to prepare catalogers for this change. Hitchens and Symons recommend36 Joint Steering Committee for Development of RDA, “A Brief History of RDA,” Joint Steering Committee forDevelopment of RDA, (accessed December 9, 2010).37 Hitchens and Symons, 692. 10
  11. 11. familiarizing catalogers with FRBR terminology and that trainers use a concrete examplesuch as Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice to demonstrate FRBR concepts.38 In addition to new vocabulary, catalogers are going to have to adjust to a differentlayout of the rules. While chapters used to be based on format in AACR2, they will now bebased on the elements of description for each FRBR entity in RDA. Nor are the chaptersbased on ISBD areas of description such as title and statement of responsibility area, editionarea, physical description area, etc in RDA. The entity sections are followed by sectionsdetailing how to record relationships.39 While some librarians eagerly await the switch to RDA, others are a little reluctant,believing that the profession is not ready to take the step anytime soon. A technical serviceslibrarian at a Washington, DC university library stated “I suspect it will be a good 5 years orso before [RDA is implemented], and I think that OCLC and vendors will have to take thelead to get recalcitrant librarians to use RDA.” This respondent goes on to state that “… as arule of thumb, the smaller the library (in terms of staff and holdings) the less likely thesediscussions are to matter, at least at a day to day level.” His viewpoints echo the criticism ofother librarians – perceived/actual costs and benefits associated with changing to RDA,which is more difficult for smaller institutions to enact.Dublin Core Separate from overarching cataloging standards such as AARC2 and RDA are whatare known as metadata standards. While cataloging deals with how to organize data,metadata focuses on retrieval. The standards then try to cover how to describe data duringthe organization process in order to make them easier to later find. A good way to think ofthe difference is to imagine cataloging standards as the form to fill out, while metadataschemes try to standardize how users fill the form out. For example, under “Address” anexpected input would be a street number followed by the street name – this sort of controlledvocabulary is what is largely dealt with by metadata. The most common standard has generally been MARC, which was designed byHenriette Avram in the 1960s, but there are many others in use such as the National Libraryof Medicine’s Medical Subject Headings MeSH and the Library of Congress’s numerousschemes for different types of collections. MARC is relatively simple in concept. Usingtags, fields, and a pre-determined list of tag ID numbers, it allows users to create entries fordata by choosing tags that would be used and filling in the given fields. Since becoming anational and international standard in 1971 and 197340, MARC has been a staple metadata38 Ibid., 695.39 Ibid., 697-8.40 "MARC Creator Henriette Avram Dies." ALA | Home - American Library Association. Web. 02 Dec. 2010.<>. 11
  12. 12. format in libraries, and has evolved into a relatively comprehensive and functional standard;however its two primary limitations appear both in research and user surveys. The first is that only libraries appear to use MARC41. This is significantlyproblematic when considering that sources of information are increasingly coming fromoutside of libraries, making the sharing of metadata incompatible. Second, not only isworking with the pre-determined list of tags unwieldy, but also limiting. Despite theextensive list of tags and flexibility in choosing as many or as few tags as needed for anypiece of data, it is not comprehensive and will always be trying to catch up to newermediums. Additionally, in order to deal with a new medium, tags with more universalapplications may have to be created. This leads to a process in which the governingcommittee must decide on how to deal with the new medium, to relay this decision to allusers of MARC, and how users should adapt to it. A third much more recent, though minor, issue arising for MARC21 is that it coversboth the cataloging and metadata sides. Given the rise in prominence of FRBR, morelibrarians are hoping to move to a metadata standard that works more in conjunction withFRBR rather than one which, like MARC21, functions “in spite of” it. At the moment manylibraries still make heavy use of AACR2, but when more information centers move to newstandards (be it FRBR or something that might arise in the future), the more likely it is thatMARC21 will lose both its convenience and compatibility. Facing retrieval issues, in October 1994, during the 2nd International World WideWeb Conference, Yuri Rubinsky of SoftQuad, Stuart Weibel and Eric Miller of OCLC, TerryNoreault of OCLC Office of Research, and Joseph Hardin of the National Center forSupercomputer Applications had a hallway conversation about the difficulty of findingresources on the web.42 In March 1995 the NCSA and OCLC proceeded to hold a jointworkshop on metadata semantics in Dublin, Ohio.43 This workshop, being the namesake ofthe standard, outlined fifteen “core” sets of semantics for categorizing Web data. By 1998these metadata elements would begin to garner serious consideration for standardization. InJuly 1999, a group of technical experts would meet in Sante Fe to begin the Open ArchivesInitiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH), a forum to tackle the problems of“multiple search interfaces making discovery harder, and [that] there was no machine-basedway of sharing the metadata.”44 By the time of OAI-PMH 1.0, Dublin Core was wide-spreadenough to be adopted as OAI-PMH’s metadata operability baseline which spearheadedDublin Core’s rapidly increasing momentum. Finally, in 2007, DC received ANSI/NISO and41 Taylor, Arlene G., and Daniel N. Joudrey. The Organization of Information. Westport, CT: LibrariesUnlimited, 2009. 141. Print.42 "DCMI History." DCMI Home: Dublin Core® Metadata Initiative (DCMI). Web. 02 Dec. 2010.<>.43 "DCMI History." DCMI Home: Dublin Core® Metadata Initiative (DCMI).44 "2. History and Development of OAI-PMH." Open Archives Forum - Home. Web. 02 Dec. 2010.<>. 12
  13. 13. IETF RFC ratification as standards, the entity broke off from OCLC in 2008, and in 2009 itreceived ISO Standard ratification. This sets the stage for the current situation, in whichDublin Core, very recently minted by the ISO and now a formal, qualified standard, looksextremely attractive to many libraries. An Associate Director for Collections and Technical Services explained that whileher library still mostly uses MARC, Dublin Core has been adopted for special collections,and that she would like to see an expanded use of Dublin Core because she favored “itssimplicity.” This is a major point for Dublin Core as it was originally founded on fifteennecessary elements:451. Contributor – the entity responsible for making contributions to the resources.2. Coverage – special or temporal topic, applicability, or relevance of the resource3. Creator – entity primarily responsible for making the resources4. Date – used to express temporal information at any level of granularity5. Description – account of the resources, ie. Abstract, ToC, or free-text6. Format – file format, physical medium, or dimensions7. Identifier – unambiguous reference to the resources within a given context8. Language – language f the resource9. Publisher – entity responsible for making the resource available10. Relation – related resource11. Rights – information about rights held in and over the resource12. Source – related source from which the described resource is derived13. Subject – topic of the resource14. Title – name given to the resource15. Type – nature or genre of the resourceThese fifteen elements are “part of a larger set of metadata vocabularies and technicalspecifications,” but are those elements that were formally endorsed in their standardization,and those which the creators felt would be most crucial and practical to cataloging andretrieval. Along with the ability to add ranges, super and sub classes, refinements, domains,members of, instance of, et cetera, a key strong suit of Dublin Core compared to MARC(which only has equivalence, hierarchy, and associative) is that it’s an open-source standard.The responses received pointed toward this being a key factor in the switch: “Dublin Coreseems to be very flexible to me, although we had to define our metadata fields that did not fitwith in it, but that’s likely typical and expected. We went with it as it seemed to be the mostwell-known and used open-source standard for cataloging online and cross-domain resources.45 "Dublin Core Metadata Element Set, Version 1.1." DCMI Home: Dublin Core® Metadata Initiative (DCMI).Web. 02 Dec. 2010. <>. 13
  14. 14. I like that it’s open-source… we are trying to move all our data into our new Dublin Corecompliant metadata standard, which is based much more on our actual needs.” Most prominent from that respondent’s reply is the “for cataloging online and cross-domain resources,” which underscores both Dublin Core’s original intent as well as thechanging landscape of information resources. While people have created software to roughlyconvert information from one standard to another, such as the Library of Congress’ MARCCrosswalks46, it’s significantly better, both for efficiency and for retention of information, forall databases to use the same standard. For example, in the MARC-to-Dublin-CoreCrosswalk, there is a disclaimer of sorts: “Not that it is not expected that round-trip mappingis possible using this crosswalk. Once MARC data is converted to Dublin Core, not enoughinformation is retained to allow for mapping back to MARC accurately.”47 This is becauseDublin Core is at heart a much simpler format (15 primary elements as opposed to thehundreds of tags), and also because Dublin Core is often modified from institution toinstitution to adjust to unique needs. And with more and more information originating as “awebsite” or a set of records stored in a database, most notably being something like Twitter, aformat that arguably was not designed with the internet in mind (despite the /21 update toMARC) begins to lag behind. So now the question is how widespread Dublin Core is becoming. This wasremarkably difficult to determine because most librarians do not find themselves in theposition of knowing much about metadata, which is purely a cataloging aspect. Among thosein cataloging, many simply go with what is already in place, particularly since these systemshave been in place for some time and changes are costly, and/or they do not find themselvesin a position to make the changes. Others still had deeply-ingrained and highly customizedstandards. For example, a librarian working for the March of Dimes, a health charity forbabies, responded that they use their “own standards based on MeSH,” a controlledvocabulary standard created and managed by the National Library of Medicine. This hasbeen around since 1954 and has been updated annually48, and is generally accepted as the “defacto” standard for medical libraries in the United States. One additional result of the surveymethod was the revelation that most institutions, for whatever reason, do not disclose suchinformation readily. One survey-taker responded with interest in finding out the final resultsof the survey, which may allude to a lack of significant studies on this topic. As a result, instead of relying solely on the survey, the group opted to look forrelevant literature on the subject. One 2002 article, if a bit dated, is useful for its specificfindings regarding Dublin Core. This survey was not so much about its spread so much as46 "MARC to Dublin Core Crosswalk." Library of Congress Home. Web. 02 Dec. 2010.<>.47 "MARC to Dublin Core Crosswalk." Library of Congress Home.48 "Preface - 2011." National Library of Medicine - National Institutes of Health. Web. 02 Dec. 2010.<>. 14
  15. 15. the reasoning for its adoption, so it was possible to compare them with more recent butsmaller-scale findings. In this study, the top three reasons for using Dublin Core were itsinternational acceptance, flexibility, and future interoperability.49 These matched this group’sfindings. What stood out in particular was Dublin Core’s international acceptance, asopposed to something like MeSH, whose survey alone 9 countries responded to with a “yes,”against the Dublin Core Metadata Initiative’s (DCMI) “over 1500 subscribers from more than50 countries.”50 This study also listed reasons people did not use Dublin Core, the top threeof which were the lack of quantity in elements and qualifiers, the lack of guidelines, andawareness/motivation to switch. The first two speak to its perceived strengths, while the thirdimplies the practical difficulties facing standards changes in institutions. The DCMI alsoadministers an ongoing survey to a number of governments contemplating or already usingDublin Core, but the list is very short and attests to its “in-progress” status.51 For example,Canada had formally called for the usage of Dublin Core elements in all websites since theearly 2000s, while Denmark is still in the process of developing guidelines for publicwebsites. Conversely, the United States has only two states – Minnesota and Texas – usingDublin Core on a government level. Finally, the Repositories Support Project published asoftware survey in November 2010 which looked at the various standards some of the majordigital resource database software used .52 This survey revealed that all of the software listedhad support for Dublin Core, while the use of other standards (METS, MARC, IEEE, etcetera) varied greatly. The conclusion that can be drawn from these reports is that the information scienceworld is still undecided on any one standard – one survey was done regarding generalconcerns about metadata in general, gathering over 400 answers from 49 countries in creatingan IFLA Guideline for Digital Libraries53 – and that it is highly unlikely that any one standardwill be adopted without an international mandate. Another response received in this group’squestionnaire said that they use “MODS, METS, VRAcore. It depends what your needs areand what kind of collection you are describing. Some are better suited for art collections,other multimedia, and others still (like METS) are metadata wrappers.” While this hintsheavily at the difficulties faced in deciding upon any one standard, as well as for pushingpeople to change and update standards (especially from extremely engrained traditions), it isalso clear that many feel incumbent standards like MARC are insufficient when it comes toweb resources.49 Guinchard, Carolyn. "Dublin Core Use in Libraries: a Survey." OCLC Systems & Services 18.1 (2002): 40-50.Print.50 "DCMI History." DCMI Home: Dublin Core® Metadata Initiative (DCMI).51 "DCMI-Government Survey of Activities." DCMI Home: Dublin Core® Metadata Initiative (DCMI). Web.02 Dec. 2010. <>.52 "RSP - Repository Software Survey, November 2010." RSP Home Page. Web. 02 Dec. 2010.<>.53 Zeng, Marcia Lei, Jaesun Lee, and Allene F. Hayes. "Metadata Decisions for Digital Libraries: A SurveyReport." Journal of Library Metadata 9.3&4 (2009): 173-93. Print. 15
  16. 16. As for the future of Dublin Core, along with the expanded Dublin Core metadataelements list, DCMI has turned its attention to Application Profiles – metadata records that“meet specific application needs while providing semantic interoperability with otherapplications on the basis of globally defined vocabularies and models.”54 This is a step upfrom metadata and begins to tackle standardization between different institutions whileintegrating itself into the FRBR cataloging standards. The Singapore Framework displays therelationship between Application Profiles, metadata, and cataloging standards in this way: 1 Singapore Framework55 This tackles not only the issue of “not enough elements” for some, but also differentneeds of different institutions (for example, an incorporation of MeSH vocabulary intoDublin Core). It would also create a universal standard for compatibility. This is a lofty goaland may take a long time to create, much less implement, but is definitely a glimpse into thefuture.Conclusion Technological changes and societal adaptation to new information systems haveinevitably led many in the profession to challenge traditional methods and procedures ofinformation retrieval. Though some individuals have accepted the idea that innovation andoverhaul are necessary to improve user function, many cling to long-standing, outdated54 "Guidelines for Dublin Core Application Profiles." DCMI Home: Dublin Core® Metadata Initiative (DCMI).Web. 2 Dec. 2010. <>.55 "Guidelines for Dublin Core Application Profiles." DCMI Home: Dublin Core® Metadata Initiative (DCMI). 16
  17. 17. standards and procedures that are incapable of producing adequate results in the rapidlyevolving information environment. By analyzing some of the leading cataloging standards, itis possible to see the current times as a pivotal moment that will be re-examined in the future.Assessment of current attitudes from the project questionnaire strongly suggest uniformacceptance and implementation of cataloging standards, but significantly more hurdles andapprehensions over metadata. With the formulation and spread of newer web standards andmore and more Web 2.0/Web 3.0 concepts such as folksonomy and inter-databaserelationships, such concepts as Application Profiles are already creeping into the informationscience field, some sort of change in the future, whether slight or an overhaul, seemsinevitable to many. These are important implications not only for professionals already in thefield, but to students presently learning the theoretical inner workings and who will go on topropel the field even further with new ideas. 17
  18. 18. Reference ListBishop, William Warner. 2010. J. C. M. Hanson and International Cataloging. The Library Quarterly 4, no. 2 (Apr), (accessed December 9, 2010)Carlyle, Allyson. 2006. Understanding FRBR as a Conceptual Model: FRBR and the Bibliographic Universe, Library Resources and Technical Services, 50 (October), 264-265.Dearstyne, Bruce. 2000. Leadership and Management of Records and Information Programs: Issues and Strategies. Records & Information Management Report 16 (March), 2.Denton, William.2007. Understanding FRBR: What It Is and How It Will Affect Our Retrieval. Ed. Arlene G. Taylor. Westport: Connecticut: Libraries Unlimited.Gorman, Michael. 2007. Commemorating the Past, Celebrating the Present, Creating the Future: Papers in Observance of the 50th Anniversary of the Association for Library Collections & Technical Services. ed. Pamela Bluh. Chicago: American Library Association.Guidelines for Dublin Core Application Profiles. DCMI Home: Dublin Core® Metadata Initiative (DCMI).Guinchard, Carolyn. 2002. Dublin Core Use in Libraries: a Survey. OCLC Systems & Services 18.1, 40-50. Print.Jones, Ed and Patrick Carr. 2007. The Shape of Things to Come. The Serials Librarian, 52.Le Boeuf, Patrick. 2006. …That struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more …”:the elements that should be accounted for in a conceptual model for performing arts and the information relating to their archives. Paper given at the workshop “De la conception à la survie: comment documenter et conserver les productions du spectacle multimédia ?”on Friday 13 January 2006 in Paris).Lehnus, Donald J. 1972. A Comparison of Panizzi’s 91 Rules and the AACR of 1967. Occasional Papers No. 105 (Dec.): 37.McGee, Matt. 2010. By the Numbers: Twitter v. Facebook v. Google Buzz. Blog, posted February 23, 2010, facebook-vs-google-buzz-36709 (accessed December 9, 2010).Pettee, Julia. 1936. The Development of Authorship Entry and the Formulation of Authorship Rules as Found in the Anglo-American Code. The Library Quarterly 6 no. 3. (Jul.), (accessed December 9, 2010).Riley, Jenn. 2006. FRBR. Techessence. (accessed December 9, 2010. 18
  19. 19. Tate, Elizabeth L. 1967. Review: [untitled]. The Library Quarterly, 37, No. 4 (Oct.), p 394 (accessed December 9, 2010).Taylor, Arlene G., and Daniel N. Joudrey. 2009. The Organization of Information. Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited., 141.Tillett, Barbara ed. 2005. IFLA Cataloging Principles: Steps towards an InternationalCataloging Code, 2. Munich: K.G. Saur Verlag.Tillet, Barbara. 2008. I n FRBR: A Guide for the Perplexed by Robert L. Maxwell. Chicago: American Library Association., 3.Zeng, Marcia Lei, Jaesun Lee, and Allene F. Hayes. 2009. Metadata Decisions for Digital Libraries: A Survey Report. Journal of Library Metadata 9 : Conceptual Model.” Businessdictionary, December 9, 2010).DCMI-Government Survey of Activities. DCMI Home: Dublin Core® Metadata Initiative (DCMI). Web. 02 Dec. 2010. 200106.shtml.DCMI History. DCMI Home: Dublin Core® Metadata Initiative (DCMI).DCMI History. DCMI Home: Dublin Core® Metadata Initiative (DCMI). Web. 02 Dec. 2010. Core Metadata Element Set, Version 1.1. DCMI Home: Dublin Core® Metadata Initiative (DCMI). Web. 02 Dec. 2010. for Dublin Core Application Profiles. DCMI Home: Dublin Core® Metadata Initiative (DCMI). Web. 2 Dec. 2010. guidelines/.History and Development of OAI-PMH. Open Archives Forum - Home. Web. 02 Dec. 2010.>.Joint Steering Committee for Development of RDA. A Brief History of RDA. Joint Steering Committee for Development of RDA, (accessed December 9, 2010).MARC Creator Henriette Avram Dies. ALA | Home - American Library Association. Web.02 Dec.2010. 19
  20. 20. MARC to Dublin Core Crosswalk. Library of Congress Home. Web. 02 Dec. 2010. - 2011. National Library of Medicine - National Institutes of Health. Web. 02 Dec.2010. - Repository Software Survey, November 2010. RSP Home Page. Web. 02 Dec. 2010. is FRBR? A Conceptual Model of the Bibliographic Universe Cataloging Distribution Service. What is FRBR? A Conceptual Model for of the Bibliographic Universe. Library of Congress, (accessed December 9, 2010). 20