Recording Extensive Statements of Responsibility

BEST PRACTICES –┬áCATALOGING

Prepared by:
American Association of Law Libraries
Technical Services Special Interest Section
Descriptive Cataloging Advisory Working Group

Original Draft August 2015; Working Draft October 2015.

BACKGROUND

The following RDA instructions include options for abridging or omitting certain elements from the transcription when this can be done without loss of essential information:

  • RDA 2.4.1.4 – Recording Statements of Responsibility
  • RDA 2.4.1.5 – Statement Naming More than One Person, Etc.

The LC-PCC Policy Statements (PS) for both of these instructions state that the cataloger generally should not abridge or omit information; however, Library of Congress training materials on the transcription of SORs stress the use of cataloger’s judgment, particularly in the case of extensive SORs. In fact, in situations very similar to the ones explored by the DCAG working group between October 2014 and August 2015, LC training materials approve abridging or omitting the data in examples wherein it clearly can be done without loss of essential information. The conclusion reached by DCAG members was that the word “generally” can be interpreted very differently amongst catalogers, both in AALL and at the Library of Congress.

The following best practices apply to the law cataloging community engaged in original cataloging. These are not requirements, but recommendations, to be considered in light of:

  • The principle of cataloger’s judgment in RDA
  • Case-by-case, reasonable assessment of the resource being cataloged
  • Local/institutional policies and practices
  • Cooperative cataloging (e.g., PCC) policies and practices

BEST PRACTICES FOR RECORDING EXTENSIVE STATEMENTS OF RESPONSIBILITY (SORS)

1) Omit position and affiliation information about each author that may be embedded in a statement of responsibility, when this can be done without loss of essential information about the resource being cataloged (RDA 2.4.1.4). Use cataloger’s judgment in applying this option. Consider whether the omitted information is useful in identifying the listed authors (especially those with common names); also consider whether the omitted information is available in existing name authority records.

  • If you create name authority records for the named authors, include all information found in the SOR, especially if you omit such information from the description.
  • If name authority records exist for the named authors, consider enhancing them to include all information found on the source of information, especially if you omit such information from the description.

Special considerations for copy cataloging:

  • Do NOT remove or modify any accurate additional information for authors from the master record in a shared database (such as OCLC).
  • Follow local copy cataloging policies regarding omitting such information from the record in your local database.

2) Omit multiple authors beyond the first-named, when the extensive number of authors implies very diffuse responsibility and when this can be done without loss of essential information about the resource being cataloged (RDA 2.4.1.5). Follow RDA instructions for the use of “[and others]” in the transcription of the abbreviated SOR. Use cataloger’s judgment in applying this option.

  • Consider naming all authors when the number listed is less than your determined cut-off (based on cataloger’s judgment and/or institutional policy).
  • Include faculty authors from your institution according to local policy.

Note: Catalogers should remember that the “rule of three” is gone – RDA instructs that the first-named of any number of authors is the basis of the authorized access point (AAP), whereas AACR2 would have required a title main entry for any resource with more than three authors.

Special considerations for copy cataloging:

  • Do NOT remove or modify any accurately listed authors from the master record in a shared database (such as OCLC).
  • Follow local copy cataloging policies regarding omitting such information from the record in your local database.

3) Omit multiple statements of responsibility, particularly when they do not relate to the title proper (see RDA 2.4.2). Use cataloger’s judgment in applying this option.

  • When it is readily apparent that the work being cataloged is a compilation rather than a collaborative work, record the name of the primary editor and create an access point.
  • When cataloging a frequently revised work as a serial, assume the primary author listed in the statement of responsibility is “considered an important means of identifying the serial” (RDA 2.4.1.4), and create an access point. Also record changes in SORs for serial works when updating existing cataloging.

4) Whenever possible and practical, provide access points for any entity named in the SOR for legal materials whether they are transcribed in a title statement or recorded in a note about the statement of responsibility. This guidance applies in particular to authors of frequently revised works that are cataloged as serials. Also apply access points for faculty authors, according to your institution’s policy.

Special considerations for copy cataloging:

  • Provide additional access points if needed, especially for faculty authors, only according to your institution’s policy.