RE: Preferred access point – some queries

Posting to NGC4LIB

Henry Lam cites RDA:

RDA does not use the word ‘Main Entry’, explained in the FAQ 4.8 in the RDA
website (

“The concept of main entry as used in a card catalogue is no longer applicable in online catalogues, and this term will not be used in RDA. Nevertheless, there is still a need to choose a preferred access point for a work or expression in order to create bibliographic citations, and to collocate works and expressions in the online catalogue. Section 2 of RDA will provide instructions on constructing the preferred access point
representing the work or expression.”

Of course, this means that the functionality of the old main entry continues, and it is simply renamed to “preferred access point.” Concerning the need for a *single* preferred access point to create bibliographic citations, I do not know what citation rules they are referring to, since all of the rules I have seen stipulate that when you are citing, you should cite all of the main authors, with various limitations on numbers (from three to seven or so). Sometimes, they mention editors as well.

There are also differing formats for entry. Although the first author is always entered under surname, the rest of the authors may also be entered under surname, or they may be in regular order. (For a very quick summary of these formats, see:

So, if one of the purposes of the bibliographic record is to create automatic citations (which I have never seen stated explicitly anywhere, but I agree with it since that means we would really be beginning to understand how our records can be useful to our patrons in the modern information environment), there is still no need for a *single* preferred access point since none of the citation rules require it. It is also important to note that the actual forms of the name entered in these bibliographic citations come from what is found on the item and do not mention anything about using authorized forms (that I have seen at any rate). This would relate more to the 245$c, statement of responsibility.

The other purpose given for a single preferred access point, “to collocate works and expressions” doesn’t make a lot of sense either, since all sorts of innovative displays could be created using multiple main authors.

For the process of cataloging, it would be much easier to have to distinguish only between main authors and secondary authors instead of having to follow the detailed rules for determining main entry.

I’m afraid that the continuation of the *single* preferred access point, i.e. the continuation of the policy that the 1xx field cannot be repeated for each main author with the result that in the 7xx, additional main authors are mixed in with editors and other secondary contributors, is just a continuation of MARC format, which in turn perpetuates the limitations of card and printed catalogs, where there was a need for a single main entry.




  1. Anonymous said:

    When they say &quot;collocate works and expressions&quot; they are not talking about displays. They are talking about locating physical items on shelves. You still have to find a single place to put the actual book, so we still need a single preferred access point, and I can&#39;t see any good reason to stop calling it a main entry either.<br /><br />Lloyd Chittenden

    February 11, 2012
  2. I don&#39;t believe I can agree with this. Shelf arrangement can be completely different from main entry, for instance, a book cataloged as a series may be placed on the shelf as a part of the series instead of under the author. Or, a book with two or more works can wind up on the shelf under work number 1, while work number 2 is far away from its other works and expressions.<br /><br />Where it

    February 11, 2012

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