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2009-01 ALA Midwinter Meeting Minutes

Page history last edited by Kate Moriarty 12 years, 4 months ago





Bibliographic Standards Committee Manuscripts Working Group

Editorial Meeting

January 26, 2009

1:30-5:30 p.m.

Hyatt Regency Denver, Capitol Ballroom 6


Members in attendance: Alison Bridger, Folger Shakespeare Library; Diane Ducharme, Yale University; Kate Moriarty, Saint Louis University (recorder); Jenny Nelson, Robbins Collection, UC Berkeley School of Law; Liz O’Keefe, Morgan Library & Museum; Margaret Nichols, Cornell University (chair).


This was an open meeting. Also attending were Bill Landis, Yale Univesity; other DCRM editors, interested guests.



1.      Edit version three of the document

2.      Things to consider

a.       Meeting tomorrow

b.      Meeting this spring

3.      Timeline

4.      Assignments


Margaret informed the group that there were no objections to her Bib Standards Committee report Saturday. No one questioned our decision to eliminate Area 4.


We worked on version three of the document this meeting. After the meeting, we’ll be working with version four.


Discussion of Approach

We started working on Area 1. Kate had drafted a change in format of Area 1 to more closely reflect our decision trees and we began by discussing that draft. Bill Landiss put forth a concern that our decision trees are too bibliographically-oriented. He suggested that the first part of a decision tree be: are you treating the description archivally or bibliographically? For example, if the item is being described archivally, ISAD prescribes solely a title; no deliberation regarding formal title, other title, etc. is needed.


We discussed the issue in depth. How do we make the rules accessible to both catalogers and archivists? The DCRM modules work with ISBD. How do we incorporate ISAD? It was pointed out that ISAD focuses primarily on collections so it would be difficult to adopt that as the primary standard on which our rules are based. One idea was to keep the ISBD areas (title, creator/statement of responsibility, date, statement of extent, note) then tap into ISAD for other necessary elements, such as provenance. It was also noted that Diane has had success with a diverse audience in her workshops on using DACS for item-level description.


We decided that in order for DCRM(MSS) to be useful to both communities it needs to be accessible to both. We want to avoid the situation where one community consistently has to sift through several pages of rules in order to get to a relevant section that may serve them better were it emphasized earlier or differently in the rules. To avoid a bibliographic bias we will temporarily lay aside the DCRM structure. We will identify the elements necessary for single-item manuscript description, define those elements and write the instructions for each of them. Then we will try to fit the document into the DCRM structure. That final task will be a considerable one but working within the DCRMB parameters initially may be too confining.


We decided for the rest of the meeting to focus on writing rules for specific elements. We started off with the element, creator.



We had an extensive discussion on creator, primarily focused on whether or not to provide instructions on how to identify a creator. There were arguments for each side with most people inclined towards providing the instructions. Nothing final was decided.



Alison had posted to the wiki two documents on dates, “Date Chart Comparison” and “Dates Suggestions for Area 1.” We used these as the basis for the discussion. “Dates Suggestions for Area 1” presents recommendations on listing the ways in which dates should be recorded in a DCRM(MSS) record. We went through the document as a group and made decisions on the issues Alison highlighted (4th column: Questions and Issues).


Probable date: we decided that we do want to include the question mark for any dates that are not present in the document, even if we are certain of the date. For example, a document that refers to the San Francisco earthquake, which took place in 1906, but does not have the date, record as: 1906?. The question mark means uncertainty and even though we may be certain of a particular event referred to in the document there’s a small sense of uncertainty due to the lack of an actual date in the document. After a discussion on square brackets for dates we re-confirmed our earlier decision to eliminate square brackets in the date element, as this is not a transcription field for manuscripts.


Probable approximate date: We discussed the possibility of omitting this from DCRM(MSS) as we were not clear on its meaning, but were informed that we probably need to leave it in as part of the DCRM suite.


Terminal date: We will go with Alison’s suggestion of following the DACS style (in the positive) rather than the DCRM(B) style (in the negative), i.e. record as “before 1867” rather than “not after 1867.”


Date span certain: We will not limit date spans to 20 years nor to a half century. We will strongly encourage the recording of a date, even if the date span extends to two centuries.


Date span uncertain: The question was, what part of the date span is uncertain – the whole span or only the date preceding the question mark? We believe the uncertainty applies to the entire date span and will make this explicit in the rules.


Century certain: The recommendation is to spell out the century but we will check the Chicago Manual of Style. [Note: 15th edition instructs: “Particular centuries are spelled out and lowercased.”]


Incorrect date: Previously, we thought this might be the only situation in which we would use square brackets. From the discussion we decided not to use square brackets for corrected dates. There was a suggestion to omit the incorrect date and only record the correct date. Another suggestion was to include mention of the incorrect date in the scope and contents note.


Date in different calendar: The suggestion was to be consistent in how we handle all of our dates and to instruct at the beginning of this section to give dates in the Gregorian calendar. If the date is different then do a mandatory note with that information. This agrees with the first part of Alison’s recommendation but no decision was made as to whether we should record dates as they are on the item if they cannot be converted to Gregorian dates.


No dates: We agreed with Alison’s suggestion to make every effort to supply a date even if the range is as wide as two centuries. If this is not possible we will use “date unknown.”


Gaps in date: This category is only found in DACS and we would want to include it in DCRM(MSS). It would cover situations in which there are multiple dates for a document: the bulk of the document was written at one time but added to at later dates (for example: 1975, 2002). If there are more than three different dates, the inclusive dates category would come into play and possibly a note, if considered important.


Other dates discussion:

What about instructions on identifying different types of dates, for example, the date that is physically written vs. the date of intellectual content. It was suggested that as the date element is the date of the physical creation of the document, if it does not reflect the date of the intellectual content put the latter in the scope and contents note. The Folger, however, is putting the date of intellectual creation at the end of the title element with the date of the physical creation following (in MARC language: date of intellectual creation at end of $a, date of physical creation in $f).


It was also pointed out that we may need to clarify situations in which the date represents the date of physical creation but the creator represents the intellectual creator.


A manuscript facsimile (a manuscript copy of another document) would be dated by its date of creation.


A suggestion was made to record in a note the date that a document was published. For example,  the case of literary manuscripts: the manuscript may have been written in 1975 but was not published until 2002.


Copyright dates: This may not be as significant an issue for manuscripts as it is for music. If there is a copyright date it can be recorded in a note, it would not go in the date element.



We decided to make the wiki public to everyone.


We will schedule another meeting at the Folger for the spring, if permitted by the new Folger Librarian. Thursdays and Fridays are bad days for the Folger and its guest house. People will send Alison their availability dates for April and May.


At the next meeting we will set a timeline for the completion of DCRM(MSS).


Discussion on how to proceed

We discussed ways in which we could make our work go as efficiently and productively as possible. One suggestion was to have something prepared ahead of time for meetings. Randy offered to send us agendas used at DCRM(S) meetings. He described some of their workflow: editors would send him changes to the text, Randy would update the text and any questions that arose from the changes were added to the next meeting’s agenda. The result was a long agenda in rule-number order. At their meetings they designated someone the taskmaster to ensure the group progressed through the entire agenda.


We can bring sections of the document, particular rules, or other questions to Bib Standards meetings for discussion. These would be posted in advance of the meeting. We can also post questions and issues to DCRM-L. These actions were suggested so that we do not invest too much time on aspects of the document that might need to be changed.


We hope to have a draft ready for Annual 2010.



Here are the assignments posted on the Assignments page of the wiki under “Assignments for Spring 2009 Meeting.”

1.      Set up “version 4” (Jenny)

2.      Arrange for meeting space at Folger for a three- or four-day meeting in April (Alison)

3.      Work on extent element (Liz)

4.      Create backup Word docs of existing wiki pages (Jenny)

5.      Randy to forward sample agendas from other editors’ meetings

6.      Come up with ideas for supplied title/ creator. Take ideas and start drafting rules (everyone)

7.      Take dates worksheets and create rules (Alison)

8.      Also work on these elements:

a.       February: Dates

b.      March: Supplied title/creator

c.       April: Extent




Submitted by Kate Moriarty, June 8, 2009

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