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Module 4: Metadata Standards

Posted by arlekeno on August 3, 2012

Today we do more on Metadata standards, the ISBD, AACR2, RDA and Marc. I am particularly interested as AACR2 and RDA must be compared in Ass.task 1, due in 2 weeks, and Marc is the standard we use in NSW school libraries.

First, the Hider text from Section II, Chapter 2. And the introduction already mentions something I have not thought about, “bibliographic description” which covers the non-subject areas, e.g. Author, title, size. i had never even seperted these when looking at the info.

Why have standards? Economy, time saving, sharing, easier access and cataloging etc PG 32.

Pg 34: Dublin core exists only for the core elements of meta data. “DC gives the cataloguer the freedom to adopt different styles and vocabularies within its framework” (So I could use a DC frame but use LCSH or SCIS SH with little effect on the core).

“DC is therefore considered by many to be more flexible than older, pre-digital standards”

and now, The ISBD guides.

ISBD(G): General International Standard Bibliographic Description

the first Consider is how to you think using standard punctuation helps make these surrogate records more easily understandable. (Why Surrogate records? )

I will consider this as part of standardisation. If everyone uses and knows the same method, everyong has a better chance of understanding the information in the same way. Also handle for being machine readable.

Why has ISBD been successful?

One reason for ISBD’s success is because it provides an easily learnt standard framework for describing documents. This framework can be applied to documents in a wide variety of formats, and in any language. The key to its success is that it uses a standard framework of eight areas and standard punctuation in a fixed order. The eight areas, which were developed from the characteristics of a wide range of documents, are:

  1. Title and statement of responsibility area
  2. Edition area
  3. Material (or type of publication) specific details area
  4. Publication, distribution, etc. area
  5. Physical description area
  6. Series area
  7. Note area
  8. Standard number and terms of availability area.

The standard punctuation full stop space dash space (. – ) is used in ISBD to separate the different data elements (called areas in ISBD), and other punctuation is used within each area:

Title and statement of responsibility area. – Edition area. – Material (or type of publication) specific details area. – Publication, distribution, etc. area. – Physical description area. – Series area. – Note area. – Standard number and terms of availability area.

I think this judgement about why it is good will come in handy for the first assesment task.

Study task

Prepare a description of your textbook using ISBD. Follow these steps:

  • identify the data elements in the book (for example, identify the book’s title and author – this is the first ISBD area). Note that not all of the eight data elements may apply to your example.

Apply the standard punctuation between the areas.

Organising Knowledge in a global society: Principles and practices in libraries and information centres / Phillip Hider with Ross Harvey. – Wagga Wagga, NSW : Centre for Information Studies, Charles Sturt University, 2008. – Rev.Ed. – 372 p ; 24.5 cm. – Topics in Australiasian Library and Information Studies ; 29. – ISBN 978 1 876938 67 3.

(I used and and to work this out).

On to Hider Chap 3 ( I will read the whole thing.) MUCH better description of ISBD than the IFLA website! pg 42 and page 45 looks very important for the first ass.task. Some see the ISBD prescriptors as irrelevent online, particulalry the punctuation and fixed order. Many people fail to understand the punctuation. DC is more flexible, being developed in an online world. RDA can omit punctuation.

(maybe using 4th Gen search engines… check that!~)

Now to AACR 2. in the notes and textbook. Esp from pg 52 /the main characteristics/


I am going to look at the other standards, but If I cant get my head around this Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records stuff, I am stuffed.

anyway, Conclusion to Chap 3 (pg 62):Characteristics of a “good” standard of description. (maybe use for Ass.Task1)

  • Its product (the description0 should be as brief as possible,
  • It should be easily understood by the user,
  • It should be easy to apply to all information resources,
  • it should be widely accepted and used (internationally if possible), and
  • it should be economical to apply.

On to Chapter 4 in “Organising knowledge in a Global Society”

It appears  to be all about what terms we use to fill the differetn areas. Which makes sense after the subject heading discussions.

BUT< I am looking for info on AACR2 and why it is being replaced. One question is primary responsibility and main entry (pg 65) This is to do with who we credit as Author/creator. Some have a MAIN ENTRY, as in a chief access point ( where you search from? And I thought this was who was the main creator.) there are also other access points subservient to teh main point (pg70) but again, redundant in modern searches. But it looks like the main entry is usually the chief person/body responsible.

looking at the chief and other access point things, I am thinking that the whole subject/keyword/tagging things available on most search engines go beyond this, no wonder AACR2 is considered old hat.

Now it looks like SCIS as the Aus Library are going to RDA, so I better catch up! Also, “It has been designed for compatibility with other standards and for the potential use of the metadata and semantic web communities beyond libraries. Particular effort has been made to ‘internationalise’ the code by eliminating Anglo-American bias.”

Ok, while AACR2 is about form and content, RDA is only about content. Its about attribute s of and relationships between entities. Based on FRBR and FRAD… which I don’t understand yet 😦 Going to read “what is FRBR” to see if it helps.

What is FRBR: Barbara Tillet

Ok, its a little clearer now. I think, from Clear as mud to mear murky water. I need more info on the Work-Expression-Manifestation-Item idea. I think it is to do with different versions of the same creation. I am skipping the next part just to look at FRBR. … YAY,. this is a MUCH BETTER explanation than the Library of Congress one. Thank you library geek! I think this “entity relationship” thing could be an answer to some of the frustration I feel when I search for a copy of the book and the Sentral/Oasis search gives me the different ISBN number versions, so different manifestations of the same expression, when I would rather have all the same expression as one search result. I am used to the different versions/manifestations having their own result now, but I had to learn that and I dislike it.

Also Really helpful for FRBR and this one on linked Data

Now back to the Lib of Congress RDA Changes from AACR2 for Texts on youtube. with the power point notes as well by Barbara Tillett
“RDA is a web tool” (3.56 min) “Meant to be used by searching the related-relevant instructions”. not meant to be read from beginning to end.

“organised around user tasks to help users to identify and relate the resources needed”.

“meet the new international cataloging principles”

relies more on Catalogers judgement.. (good thing? )

Workflows looks handy, not sure I can use it for the task though.

less adjusting of information (saves time) allows natural searching.

replaces the AACR2 “rule of 3” for creator.


There is a lot of talk about take what you see, I am worried how this will effect sequenced articles if, for example, a magazine goes from Volume 4 to Volume V.

More accurate language searches, less polyglot

Uses the goals of FRAD and FRBR to improve RELATIONSHIPS and IDENTIFICATION e.g. Naming of relationship of person to resource (in MARC FORMAT) or for pen names.

Ok, reading Hider again, Pg 56. This starts to make sense. RDA will be based on FRBR, which derives from how the user will Find, Identify select and obtain. In short, this will reduce the number of clicks to find an item, shorten search time and mean more people will have successful searches. ( I need to find a quote about people giving up with frustration with poor search results).

Resource description and Access by Kiorgaard:

from pg6, talking about why RDA is better for future database structure as opposed to the old flat file structure.

In some library systems today, and increasingly in the future, data will be stored in a
relational or object‐oriented database structure that mirrors the FRBR and FRAD conceptual
models. In this type of structure there would be separate records for each FRBR entity.
Relationships between the entities would be made using links. The links might be access
points, but are more likely to be identifiers, preferably persistent identifiers. The changes
made in RDA will help us move towards this future.

Advantages of RDA

  1. RDA as a cataloguing tool: interactive and online.
  2. Better Coverage: of range of resource types (especially online).
  3. Resource Categorisations: improved ability to select a resource by replacing GMD ( e.g. music/text) with the Media category, the type of carrier and type of content… So if you need a computer to read it, you will be told.
  4. Relationships: easier searching of related works.

Also reading:  Six Letters That Count, ILS + RDA = A Better School Library Experience by Anita Brooks Kirkland

Talks about why people prefer google, ( spell check, ranking) Our current searches only do the access points, not the full text etc.

Kevin Randall’sRDA: End of the world postponed? (The Serials Librarian, 2011, 61, p.334-345)

hope for future proofing. esp in types of resources.

Joy Anhalt, & Richard Stewart’s RDA simplified (Cataloging &Classification Quarterly 2012, 50(1), p. 33-42) which overviews a number of differences between AACR2 and RDA.

Good quote from on WHY RDA on page 34. Simplify and set standard for all resources.

A IT IS FOR ALL resources, no adding extra chapters as with AACR2.


Finally, the Official Australian Homepage of RDA: Australian Committee of Cataloguing.

Module 4 Continued later. For all your Contracting needs.


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