Re: Plans for Existing Bib Records?

Posting to RDA-L

On 05/20/2011 05:34 PM, Myers, John F. wrote:

So, when AACR2 makes an arbitrary determination that “a single author is good enough” when there are more than three, it is OK.

However, when RDA affords catalogers the option to follow that historical arbitrary determination to its logical end (by extending its application to numbers of authors less than three) or to break with the pattern of arbitrary determinations (by allowing all authors regardless of number), that is now a problem?

On a local basis, I routinely disregarded the Rule of Three in order to incorporate descriptive elements and access points for college faculty. In the future, regardless of whether the “restrictive” option allowed in RDA is initially employed, the agencies where such access is important will improve the record to meet their constituents’ needs and expectations. Those agencies that use the record “as is”, in its pre-improved state, will do so because it meets the needs of their own constituents and hence needn’t worry about the subsequent changes.

That was what AACR2 determined: that a single author was good enough when there were more than three. Do I agree? No, and I never did. So what? There are lots of people who don’t agree with what is mandated in the standards, but it doesn’t matter: they are still the standards and must be followed. Otherwise, they are not standards. In normal standards, they mandate minimums and you can do more. When cataloging, lots of catalogers made additional access points. I have too. Unfortunately, according to AACR2, that goes outside the standard because AACR2 is not so much a standard as much as it creates a template, as RDA does too in a lot of ways as well.

The rule of three could be improved and turned into a real rule of three by turning it into a minimal standard: “trace at least the first three authors”. This is simple, easy to teach and even adds access because we would trace three authors when there are four or more, while if somebody added the fourth, it would still follow the standard. This is the concern that I have, here is an item with 3 authors and 2 editors, and all I have to do is trace the first one and still be in the standard. That is going the wrong way!

I keep quoting myself, but I hate to repeat everything. I talk about the same issues in my last podcast.