Re: RDA Noun Phrase Occurring with a Statement of Responsibility

Posting to RDA-L

On 20/10/2011 00:56, Arakawa, Steven wrote:

When I attended the RDA 101 ALA preconference, one of the things that stuck with me was the RDA rule AACR2 1.1F12 makes a fine distinction between noun phrases that are indicative of the nature of the work and noun phrases that are indicative of the role of the person named in the statement of responsibility. The former category is considered to be part of the title; the latter category is considered to be part of the statement of responsibility. RDA simply states that if a noun phrase occurs with a statement of responsibility, it is part of the statement of responsibility. In fact, RDA takes the same examples used by AACR2 to represent the 2 categories and puts both of them in the statement of responsibility.  Dr. Robert Ellett, the presenter at RDA 101, had a much more striking example of a noun phrase than the ones used by RDA and AACR2: “a novel by …” which we have all seen at one time or another. AACR2 cataloging rather consistently interprets “a novel” as indicative of the nature of the work, with “a novel” in 245 $b, usually immediately preceding the ISBD slash and “by Ruth Latta” in 245 $c, following the ISBD slash. Explaining AACR2 1.1F12 has always been a headache for me when training staff, so I welcomed the rule simplification in RDA. However, if there is no grammatical connection to the author, my understanding has been that the noun (or the noun phrase) in RDA remains part of the title. So, “…  / a novel by Ruth Latta” but “…  : a novel / Ruth Latta.” For training purposes, I wanted to have a couple of  RDA examples, so I went to our LC resource file and did a combined keyword search on “a novel” and “rda” for all books cataloged from 2008.  All of the records continued the practice of leaving “a novel” in the other title and “by so and so” in the statement of responsibility. I then searched on “a novel” in the extra set file of the RDA test and the results were no different from the search limited to LC cataloging. I’ve checked the LCPS and is without comment, and the rule is not covered in any of the LC Training presentations I’m aware of. The only reference to I’ve been able to discover is in Adam Schiff’s AACR2/RDA comparison presentation, but the AACR2/RDA examples are taken from AACR2 1.1.F12 and RDA So I’m wondering if I understand the RDA rule, or if the wisdom of the crowd has resulted in the correct application of the rule. One interesting note–I found quite a few poem collections in the same LC resource file where “poems by” is in the statement of responsibility; there are certainly examples of “poems / by” but the number of grammatically connected “poem” phrases in the statement of responsibility seemed to be noticeably different from the number of grammatically connected “novel” phrases.


I personally think that a jury of twelve people would very quickly decide that a title page such as

[title of book]
a novel by Joe Smith

that the word “novel” describes the title of the book and not Joe Smith. The alternative

[title of book]
a novel
Joe Smith

merely implies the word “by”. In both cases, “a novel” is clearly linked to the title and becomes other title information.

But if the 245 statement read

[title of book]
by the novelist Joe Smith

the word “novelist” describes Joe Smith and not the title of the book. I think very few people would disagree with such reasoning and the conclusions are obvious.

Still, experience plus a quick search reveals that there is practically no consistency in how catalogers have applied any of this and the catalogs have not caved in. I have never even heard of a user ever questioning it so they seem to have no problem whether they see a colon or slash before “a novel”. Or, if it is in a more modern display, e.g.

Title: [title of book]
Other Title Information: a novel
Author statement: by Joe Smith


Title: [title of book]
Author statement: a novel by Joe Smith

I would be absolutely shocked if anyone would even notice. I admit it would make some difference in searching if people were to search for “[title of book] novel” and the word “novel” were placed in the statement of responsibility and the 245c is not indexed for a title search, but what the heck? We’ve survived this long!

Seems to me like this could be a great time to face facts and declare “cataloger’s judgment” since that’s what has been happening for a long time! But no matter what, I have no doubt that catalogers will continue to record it however they want.



One Comment

  1. Anonymous said:

    I know the problems we&#39;ve had with that phrase come when it appears on the large print or audiobook, but not on the regular print. Customers search the title and they don&#39;t appear together. It doesn&#39;t seem like it should create havoc, but it did! We stopped adding the phrase some time ago.<br /><br />Sarah S

    October 20, 2011

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