Re: [RDA-L] Sources of information for other title information

Posting to RDA-L

On 19/12/2012 10:08, Bernhard Eversberg wrote:


Am 19.12.2012 09:29, schrieb Heidrun Wiesenmüller:

Phew, one really must read RDA *very* carefully…!

Three or four questions:

  1. What about the “rewording”? Does it reduce the amount of necessary exegesis?
  2. Based on the fact that next to no one will have all the time it would take to do all this careful reading and reasoning, what will be the chances for consistent data?
  3. Hadn’t one of the objectives for RDA been to make cataloging more economical? Who’s going to evaluate this and to determine if the results fit the business case for RDA?
  4. How will all of this appeal to the “other communities”? (If they can be persuaded to buy access to the rules, that is.)


This thread, among others on this list, has prompted me to re-read Seymour Lubetzky’s chapter “Is This Rule Necessary” within his “Cataloging rules and principles; a critique of the A.L.A. rules for entry and a proposed design for their revision”, all now available at (I still find this amazing)

At the very end of this chapter, he quoted :
“Miss Julia Pettee foresaw this development in our rules when she warned:
“The rapid development of cooperative cataloging for which many libraries contribute copy, has created a demand for a multiplicity of minute rulings to aid in producing uniform work. The writer believes the very formidable extent of this demand makes necessary a most careful analysis of all rules to discover basic principles which, if applied consistently, will simplify the problems and eliminate many special rulings. Heaven forbid an encyclopedic work of pedantic distinctions and specific directions for every possible vagary. …”
“The Development of Authorship Entry and the Formulation of Authorship Rules as Found in the Anglo-American Code,” Library Quarterly 6: 270-90, July 1936.”

Much of what Lubetzky writes is not so valid in a computerized networked environment, but his main question “Is This Rule Necessary?” is still 100% pertinent. Many of the details he describes are of little interest to us today, but his basic method of questioning is highly instructive. We should also keep in mind that these were vital questions to the catalogers back then. Are modern catalogers committing the same mistakes?

His question “Is This Rule Necessary?” will soon become a central concern again. I think everyone could gain from a reading, or re-reading, of this work.