Report of the Meeting of the Joint Steering Committee, 5 November 2012

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Let me start by saying that these reports on the meeting of the Joint Steering Committee for Development of RDA are based on my own notes and recollections of the discussion.  They are intended to provide an early report of the meeting, but are not authoritative.  Later this month, the JSC will issue a summary of the outcomes of the meeting.  In (probably) several months, the official minutes of the meeting will be issued.

The agenda for the meeting, as well as copies of the documents under discussion, are available on the JSC website at

The Joint Steering Committee members present are:

Barbara Tillett, Library of Congress, Chair
John Attig, American Library Association
Alan Danskin, British Library
Gordon Dunsire, CILIP
Christine Frodl, Deutsche Nationalbibliothek
Bill Leonard, Canadian Committee on Cataloguing
Kevin Marsh, Australian Committee on Cataloguing

Also participating are

Judy Kuhagen, JSC Secretary
Troy Linker, ALA Publishing
The morning was devoted to an executive session.  Two items will be of interest:

  • Barbara Tillett will be retiring from the Library of Congress at the end of November 2012; her replacement as LC Representative to the Joint Steering Committee will be David Reser.  Barbara has expressed her willingness to complete her term as chair until through 2013; this offer was enthusiastically supported by the JSC, but will need to be confirmed by the Committee of Principals.
  • Troy Linker reported (among other things) on future development of the RDA Toolkit.  He noted several significant plans for 2013:  (a) The RDA Toolkit will implement display of RDA in multiple languages, beginning with the German and French translations (currently scheduled for release in February 2013).  (b) The reworded chapters of RDA will begin to appear in the December 2012 release, and all the reworded chapters should be available by the April 2013 release.

The public meeting began on Monday afternoon, with the discussion of two groups of proposals:


6JSC/ALA/20: Proposed revision of RDA and, Basis for Identification of the Resource

This proposal consisted of three sections:  (1) Collective Titles; (2) Predominant Work; (3) Resources Issued in More than One Part.  All three were approved, with wording changes suggested in various responses.

6JSC/ALA/21: Proposed revisions of RDA instructions on Sources of Information (RDA

This proposal also consisted of three sections:  (A) Containers in and 2.2.4 -- accepted with revised wording from LC; (B) Covers as sources of information -- accepted with the addition of "or jackets" suggested by LC; (C) Priority of sources in and -- accepted with revised wording suggested by CCC and LC.

6JSC/BL/9: Change to 2.2.4 to remove parallel title proper

The JSC accepted an ALA suggestion to add the following sentence to "If the title proper is taken from outside the resource, take parallel titles proper from the same source" instead of the revision to 2.2.4 proposed by BL.

6JSC/LC/13: Adjustment to exception for recording acronym/initialism titles in favor of base instruction ( exception)

In response to comments about wanting to be able to record the acronym or initialism as both other title information and as variant title, LC noted that the definition of Variant Title ( does not currently allow this.  JSC approved the LC proposal as written.  There may be a need to revisit the definition of Variant Title at a later date.

6JSC/ALA/10: Revision of RDA, Recording Edition Statements

The proposal was approved with wording changes suggested by CCC and LC and an additional example suggested by LC.  It was noted that distinct expressions can be identified by Other Distinguishing Characteristics of the Expression; a future proposal may be needed to provide specific instructions for doing this.

Fast Track proposal for RDA Add "Consider all remote-access electronic resources to be published"

The proposal was approved; the exact wording will be "Consider all online resources to be published."

6JSC/ALA/11: Revision of RDA, Recording Copyright Dates

The JSC accepted a compromise suggested by ALA.  Instead of defining an exception for phonogram copyright dates, two instructions will be given in the general instruction. In the case of multiple copyright dates that apply to various aspects of the resource, any that are considered important for identification and selection may be recorded.  In the case of multiple copyright dates that apply to a single aspect, only the latest copyright date is to be recorded.

6JSC/ALA/7: Revision of RDA 2.12.8 and 2.12.16 regarding recording ISSNs

The JSC accepted the proposal, with two significant changes suggested by BL: (a) instead of "any source" there will be a list of sources in order of preference. (b) The instruction will be to "transcribe" (not "record") the ISSN.


6JSC/ALA/17: Machine-Actionable Data Elements in RDA Chapter 3: Discussion Paper

Based on the discussion in the responses, ALA will continue to develop the proposal to add structured, machine-actionable definitions for the Extent and Dimensions elements.  They will also develop a proposal to add Extent of Expression to the RDA element set.

6JSC/LC/17: Reorganization of instructions for recording extent (,

The proposal was approved, with additional wording suggested by ACOC.

6JSC/LC/21: Clarification of leaves and pages ( and Glossary)

LC proposed alternative wording to deal with three specific cases: (a) volumes printed and numbered on each page; (b) volumes printed on each page and numbered in terms of pages, but only the odd-numbered (recto) pages bear the numbering; and (c) volumes that are printed on each page, but only the leaves are numbered (this last is to be treated as misleading numbering (  In addition, language is to be added to indicating when to use "pages" and when to use "leaves" when recording the extent of unnumbered pages.  These revisions were accepted provisionally, until I have had a chance to confirm ALA's agreement.

6JSC/BL/2: 3.11.4, Layout of Tactile Text and 3.13, Font Size

This proposal had two parts: (1) Move jumbo braille to Font Size (3.13) -- accepted with wording changes proposed by CCC, LC; (2) merge 3.11.1 and 3.11.4 -- accepted an LC proposal to merge all the instructions on layout.

6JSC/ALA/16: Revision of RDA 3.19.3 for video encoding formats and addition of a new element for Optical Disc Characteristics

Rather than retaining an RDA vocabulary for encoding format, the JSC wants to pursue the use of external vocabularies.  Therefore, they do not wish to make significant changes to the present vocabularies.  ALA withdrew its proposal.  The corrections to terminology and definitions in the current list at 3.19.3 will be proposed as Fast Track changes.

6JSC/ACOC/6: Revision of RDA, Recording transmission speed

The name of the element will be changed to Encoded Bitrate, as proposed by LC; examples will be retained.

6JSC/CCC/10: Proposed revision to Appendix B.1, General Guideline, to explicitly include the usage of units of measure expressed as symbols

The proposal was accepted, using the wording proposed by BL.  The name of Appendix B will be changed to "Abbreviations and Symbols" and CCC will work to identify other changes that may be necessary both in the Appendix and in instructions that refer to Appendix B.

The JSC was encouraged that we were able to complete all the business scheduled for Monday on our agenda.  Tomorrow morning we will take up various technical documents discussing the RDA element set, vocabularies, registry, and glossary.  In the afternoon, we will discuss proposals relations to Persons (Chapter 9).

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