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Introduction APR 24 2012

Page history last edited by Jennifer Nelson 8 years, 3 months ago

Introduction

 

Contents:

I.  Scope and purpose

II.   Relationship to other standards

III. Objectives and principles

IV. Options

V. Language preferences

VI. Spelling and style

VII. Acronyms

VIII. Examples and notes

IX. Integrity of the item

X.  Precataloging decisions

XI. Preparation for cataloging

 

 

I. Scope and purpose

 

I.1. Descriptive Cataloging of Rare Materials

 

DCRM(MSS) is one of several manuals providing specialized cataloging rules for various formats of rare materials typically found in rare book, archival, manuscript, and special collections repositories.[1] Together, these manuals form Descriptive Cataloging of Rare Materials (DCRM), an overarching concept rather than a publication in its own right. (DCRM component manuals for books and serials are also available, and DCRM manuals for cartographic materials, music, and graphics are in preparation. - this language likely to change)

 

 

I.2. Descriptive Cataloging of Rare Materials (Manuscripts)

 

DCRM(MSS) provides guidelines and instructions for descriptive cataloging at the item level of individual manuscripts. Rare books, serials, and graphic materials are out of scope. For manuscript maps and manuscript music it is advised to use those standards specific to those materials, following rules for manuscript versions when applicable. Photographic or digital reproductions of individual manuscripts, however, are within the scope of these rules. DCRM(MSS) is intended to serve as a companion standard to Describing Archives: A Content Standard (DACS) for individual manuscripts and as a counterpart to Descriptive Cataloging of Ancient, Medieval, Renaissance, and Early Modern Manuscripts (AMREMM) for non-scriptorium early modern and modern manuscripts.

  

I.3 Need for special rules

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I.3A1. Descriptive conventions

 

--Conceptual framework: Archival description based on ISAD(G) rather than ISBD

--DACS: no abbreviations in the description, e.g. "volume," "pages," "circa," "approximately," etc. are spelled out. Exception: "cm"

--description may be in the context of a bibliographical record or of a finding aid; hence the use of the phrase "additional access point" rather than "added entry," etc.

--description of the item may be only one level of a multilevel description of a larger collection (another way of saying it may be in the context of a finding aid)

 

I.3A2. Transcription

 

--archival description places greater emphasis on context, less emphasis on transcription, than bibliographic description of a publication does; the heart of the description is not the title and production information but the summary note. (Cf. APPM 0.8-0.11)

--most manuscripts have no formal title; so transcription is less important for manuscripts than for published materials

--most manuscripts are unique, and don't exist in multiple "editions"; hence there is less need to distinguish them from each other than there is with books

--no square brackets for cataloger-supplied title or other information

 

 

I.3A3. Title and statement of responsibility area

--Most manuscripts have no formal title or SOR 

--In a manuscript, unlike most published items, the work's title and statement of responsibility may be inaccurate, misleading, irrelevant, or absent. Even when it is present, accurate, and descriptive, the title is generally much less important in a manuscript than in a published work. Most manuscripts are not known by a formal title appearing on the item, if they are known at all.

--For a published text, the title and imprint information are at the heart of the description; for a manuscript, the heart of the description is the scope and content note (summary).

 

From the Oct. 2011 Folger meeting: Distinction between creation and production.

 

Creator of a manuscript may be the author, but alternatively could be the collector, accumulator, etc.; archival concept of a creator differs from that of a book author

 

I.3A4. Edition area

 

This area is generally not used when describing a manuscript. Rather than appearing in multiple editions, the vast majority of modern manuscripts are unique.

 

I.3A5. Physical description area

 

--no recent tradition of providing information on the size of the manuscript, or on illustrations, in archival description (APPM, DACS)

--counting pages or leaves can be enormously time-consuming for a long manuscript without page numbers. The time required must be weighed against the value of the item and the risk of theft (both of which may be low).

--the manuscript is being described individually because of its significant content, not because of its unusual physical properties. Among modern manuscripts, many are all the same size (8 1/2 x 11", i.e. 28 x 22? cm).

--no need for separate rules for physical description of a single-sheet manuscript as there is for a single-sheet printed item (broadside).

--modern manuscripts are not primarily described in terms of pages, but rather in terms of items: 1 item (3 pages), not 3 pages.

--for early manuscripts, extent is given in terms of leaves even if the manuscript is written on both sides.

 

I.3A6. Note area

 

--the user needs more information on the manuscript's biographical and/or historical context in order to identify it and determine whether to look at it or not (e.g., in manuscript description the subject content is often an important tool for identification, which is not the case in book description)

--the content of the manuscript often needs to be summarized in order for the user to determine its utility for his/her research

--there may be restrictions on access, use, or reproduction for a manuscript which would not be placed on its published counterpart, calling for additional notes

--provenance may be of greater significance in interpreting the manuscript than it would be for a book or other published work

--manuscript may bear a complex relationship to the published version of the same work, and/or it may be part of a larger collection; these circumstances require notes to place the manuscript in context

 

 

I.4. Scope of application

DCRM(MSS) is especially appropriate for the description of individual manuscripts produced from about 1600 onward. Examples of the types of material covered by DCRM(MSS) include: a letter; a diary; a manuscript document, such as a deed or a will; a manuscript or typescript draft of a work later published, or intended for publication; a published work subsequently copied out by hand; or a book that was never published but circulated in manuscript form. In the case of a mixed-material item, such as a scrapbook or a photograph album with manuscript captions, the cataloger will need to use judgment to determine whether DCRM(MSS), DACS, or another standard such as DCRM(G) is most appropriate as the basis of the description. (MN)  

 

OR

 

DCRM(MSS) is appropriate for the description of single item manuscripts not included in a collection; manuscripts within a collection that are identified as having added value (intellectual and monetary); a group of one type of manuscripts (e.g., letters, diaries, etc.); or a small group of manuscripts where more detail may be warranted.

 

AEB: While we are aiming for 1600 onward I don't think we should limit by date of material here; books did that with DCRB but set that aside with DCRM(B); For manuscripts there are plenty of things that date before 1600 that you might not want to use AMREMM for and there are certainly things that date after 1600 that might warrant the more complex description of AMREMM.

 

I.5. Application within the bibliographic record

These rules contain instructions for the descriptive elements in bibliographic records or archival finding aids. They do not address the construction and assignment of controlled headings used as main and added entries access points, although brief instructions relating to headings and other access points do appear in some of the appendixes (e.g., Appendix F is entirely devoted to recommendations for uncontrolled title added entries).

 

OR

 

These rules contain instructions for the descriptive elements in bibliographic records or finding aids only. They do not address the construction and assignment of controlled headings (controlled access headings) used as main (creator) and added entries (subjects), although brief instructions relating to headings and other access points do appear throughout (e.g., Appendix F is entirely devoted to recommendations for uncontrolled title added entries).

 

II. Relationship to other standards

 

II.1. AACR2, ISBD, APPM, AMREMM, DACS, and other cataloging documentation

 

Wolfe (in consultation with Alison Bridger), draft of suggested revision (still need to add a sentence about the authorizing body): 

DCRM(MSS) is based on a combination of AACR2 chapter 4, APPM, DACS, and AMREMM. AACR2 chapter 4 lacks details and examples; APPM has been superseded by DACS; DACS does not deal with individual manuscripts; AMREMM is overly descriptive for most modern manuscripts. In matters of style, presentation, wording and subarrangement within areas, DCRM(MSS) follows the conventions of the DCRM series. In its content, it is intended as a bridging standard between ISAD(G)-based archival descriptive standards such as DACS and ISBD-based bibliographic descriptive standards such as DCRM(B). [MN]

 

 

Refer to AACR2, and LCRI, AMREMM, and DACS for guidance and instructions on matters of description not covered in DCRM(MSS). The relevant sections of AACR2 and LCRI must be consulted for rules governing name and uniform title headings to be used as access points for authors, editors, illustrators, printers, series, etc. See DACS for additional guidance on formulating the headings for individuals and bodies as they are likely to be encountered in cataloging manuscripts. For subject headings, numerous controlled vocabularies are available; within the United States, the subject headings of the Library of Congress are widely used. Consult classification documentation for assignment of call numbers. For genre/form headings, consult the various specialized thesauri issued by the RBMS Bibliographic Standards Committee.[2] Terms from other authorized thesauri (e.g., the Thesaurus for Graphic Materials, Art and Architecture Thesaurus) may also be used as appropriate.  

 

OR

 

II.1. DACS, APPM, AMREMM, AACR2, DCRM(B), and other cataloging documentation

As DCRM(MSS) is a unique[aeb1]  attempt to create descriptive rules to modern manuscripts. Several standards were reviewed and compared including APPM, and its replacement DACS, AMREMM, AACR2 chapter 4 as well as FRBR and ISAD(G) and how it will fit into the DCRM series. The Library of Congress authorizes DCRM(MSS) as its interpretation of AACR2, 4.0-8. [aeb2] DCRM(MSS) deviates in substance the above standards when required to resolve conflicts between different standards and for specific manuscript practices and reasons, following manuscript traditions as appropriate. In matters of style, presentation, wording, and subarrangement within areas, DCRM(MSS) follows its own conventions.[aeb3] 

Refer to other standards for guidance and instructions on matters of description not covered in DCRM(MSS). The relevant sections of AACR2 and LCRI, and/or DACS[aeb4] , must be consulted for rules governing name and uniform title headings to be used as access points for authors, collectors, compilers, interviewees and interviewers, etc. For subject headings, numerous controlled vocabularies are available; within the United States, the subject headings of the Library of Congress are widely used. Consult classification documentation for assignment of call numbers. [aeb5] For genre/form headings, consult the various specialized thesauri issued by the RBMS Bibliographic Standards Committee. Terms from other authorized thesauri (e.g., the Art & Architecture Thesaurus Online) may also be used as appropriate.


 [aeb1]Not sure what is the best adjective/word to use here.

 [aeb2]Do we need this statement; what about authorization from SAA and DACS? “The Society of America Archivists authorizes DCRM(MSS) as its interpretation of DACS in the case of single item manuscripts.”

 [aeb3]This is worded exactly like this is (S) too, which seems odd as (S) would follow, in-part, (B); of course (MSS) deviates from (B) probably the most.

 [aeb4]I realize that DACS basically follows/is copied from AACR2, but institutions may only have access to/or experience with DACS and not AACR2.

 [aeb5]I don’t think this is really relevant in manuscripts as call numbers are usually local and just the next number in the collection.

 

II.2. MARC 21  

 

MARC 21 Format for Bibliographic Data is the presumed format for representation and communication of machine-readable cataloging. Use of DCRM(MSS), however, need not be restricted to a machine environment, and MARC 21 is not mandatory. Most examples in the body of DCRM(MSS) are shown using ISBD punctuation; use of MARC 21 coding appears only in some of the appendixes. Catalogers using MARC 21 should follow MARC 21 documentation for input, and be aware of how their bibliographic systems interpret MARC 21 codes to automatically generate display features. This usually means, for example, that the cataloger omits punctuation between areas, parentheses enclosing a series statement, and certain words prefacing formal notes.

 

OR

 

MARC 21 Format for Bibliographic Data is the presumed format for presentation and communication of machine-readable cataloging. Use of DCRM(MSS), however, need not be restricted to a machine environment, and MARC 21 is not mandatory. Examples in the body of DCRM(MSS) are shown using ISBD punctuation; use of MARC 21 coding appears only in some of the appendixes. Catalogers using MARC 21 should follow MARC 21 documentation for input, and be aware of how their bibliographic systems interpret MARC 21 codes to automatically generate display features. This usually means, for example, that the cataloger omits punctuation between areas, and certain words prefacing formal notes.

 

AEB: Not sure if EAD should be its own point or if it can be combined with MARC 21; see both examples below:

 

II.3. EAD

EAD is the presumed format for presentation and communication of machine-readable finding aids. As stated above, use of DCRM(MSS), however, need not be restricted to a machine environment, and EAD is not mandatory. Examples in the body of DCRM(MSS) are shown using ISBD punctuation; use of EAD coding appears only in some of the appendixes. Archivists and Catalogers using EAD should follow EAD documentation for input, and be aware of how local style sheets interpret EAD codes to automatically generate display features. This usually means, for example, that the archivist/cataloger omits punctuation between areas, and certain words prefacing formal notes.

OR

II.2. MARC 21 and EAD

MARC 21 Format for Bibliographic Data is the presumed format for presentation and communication of machine-readable cataloging, and EAD is the presumed format for presentation and communication of machine-readable finding aids. Use of DCRM(MSS), however, need not be restricted to a machine environment, and MARC 21 and/or EAD is not mandatory. Examples in the body of DCRM(MSS) are shown using ISBD punctuation; use of MARC 21 and/or EAD coding appears only in some of the appendixes. Archivists and Catalogers using MARC 21 should follow MARC 21 documentation for input, and be aware of how their bibliographic systems interpret MARC 21 codes to automatically generate display features. Or if using EAD should follow EAD documentation for input, and be aware of how their local style sheets interpret EAD codes to automatically generate display features. In both cases, this usually means, for example, that the archivist/cataloger omits punctuation between areas, and certain words prefacing formal notes.

 

 

III. Objectives and principles

 

AEB: I compared (G) and (B) and there were not that many differences. I can bring the document comparing them both to the meeting in April 2012

 

The instructions contained in DCRM are formulated according to the objectives and principles set forth below. These objectives and principles seek to articulate the purpose and nature of specialized cataloging rules for rare materials. They are informed by long-accepted concepts in bibliographic scholarship and the Anglo-American cataloging tradition, as well as by more recent theoretical work important to the construction and revision of cataloging codes, namely the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions’ Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records (FRBR) and Elaine Svenonius’s The Intellectual Foundation of Information Organization. They assume familiarity with the FRBR terms used to categorize entities that are the products of intellectual or artistic endeavor (work, expression, manifestation, and item) as well as accepted manuscript terminology.[3]  It is hoped that these objectives and principles will provide catalogers, and administrators of cataloging operations, with a better understanding of the underlying rationale for DCRM instructions.  

 

III.1. Functional objectives of DCRM

The primary objectives in cataloging rare materials are no different from those in cataloging other materials. These objectives focus on meeting user needs to find, identify, select, and obtain materials. However, users of rare materials often bring specialized requirements to these tasks that cannot be met by general cataloging rules, such as those contained in RDA or AACR2. In addition, the standard production practices assumed in general cataloging rules do not always apply to rare materials. The following DCRM objectives are designed to accommodate these important differences.  

 

III.1.1. Users must be able to distinguish clearly among different manifestations of an expression of a work

The ability to distinguish among different manifestations of an expression of a work is critical to the user tasks of identifying and selecting published bibliographic resources. While this is an important functional objective of DCRM for published materials, it generally does not apply to manuscripts, which only rarely appear in multiple manifestations.  

 

III.1.2. Users must be able to perform most identification and selection tasks without direct access to the materials

Users of rare materials frequently perform identification and selection tasks under circumstances that require the bibliographic description to stand as a detailed surrogate for the item (e.g., consultation from a distance, limited access due to the fragile condition of the item, inability to physically browse collections housed in restricted areas, etc.). Accuracy of bibliographic representation increases subsequent efficiency for both users and collection managers. The same accuracy contributes to the long-term preservation of the materials themselves, by reducing unnecessary circulation and examination of materials that do not precisely meet users’ requirements.   

 

III.1.3. Users must be able to investigate physical processes and post-production history and context exemplified in materials described

Users of rare materials routinely investigate a variety of artifactual and post-production aspects of materials. For example, they may want to locate materials that are related by illustration processes, binding styles and structures, provenance, genre/form, etc. The ability of users to identify materials that fit these criteria depends upon full and accurate descriptions and the provision of appropriate access points.

 

N/A?

 

III.1.4. Users must be able to gain access to materials whose production or presentation characteristics differ from modern conventions

In order to distinguish among manifestations, general cataloging codes like AACR2 rely on explicit bibliographic evidence presented in conventional form (e.g., a formal edition statement on the title page or its verso). In rare materials, such explicit evidence will often be lacking or insufficient. That which is bibliographically significant may thus be obscured. For such a highly individual artifact as a manuscript, moreover, detailed physical description and a note on historical background may be necessary to explain the item's nature and significance. Not only are there no other copies available, but the manuscript may not be included in bibliographies of the author's work, either. The bibliographic description may need to be accordingly detailed to compensate for the absence of other readily available information sources concerning that item.  

 

N/A in the same sense as it would for books and I think would just be too confusing.

 

III.2. Principles of DCRM construction

 

To meet the objectives listed above, DCRM relies upon the following six principles. These principles are influenced by the general principles of bibliographic description offered by Svenonius: user convenience; representation; sufficiency and necessity; standardization; and integration.  

 

III.2.1. Rules provide guidance for descriptions that allow users to distinguish clearly among different manifestations of an expression of a work This principle derives from the general principle of user convenience and has implications for all areas of the bibliographic description. The principle relates to objective 1 stated above.  

 

III.2.2. Rules provide for accurate representations of the entity as it describes itself, notably through instructions regarding transcription, transposition, and omission

This section needs an overhaul. Explain why we don't use square brackets in the title or physical description elements: most of the information in the record is usually supplied by the cataloger, not transcribed; the chief source of information is the whole item--MFN This principle derives from the general principles of representation (with its related subprinciple of accuracy) and of standardization. Precise representation is of particular relevance in those areas of the description that require transcription (the title and statement of responsibility area, if present), but should not be ignored in the physical description and note areas. The general principles of representation and standardization stand in greater tension with each other when cataloging rare materials. Faithfulness to both principles may require descriptive and annotative treatment necessarily exceeding the norms (and at times the vocabulary) established as sufficient for the description of general materials. The principle relates to objectives 2 and 4 stated above.  

 

III.2.3. Rules provide guidance for the inclusion of manifestation-specific and item-specific information that permits users to investigate physical processes and post-production history and context exemplified in the item described This principle derives from the general principle of sufficiency and necessity (with its related subprinciple of significance). Application of the principle requires that rules for rare materials cataloging provide additional guidance on access points, particularly in cases where such information is not integral to the manifestation, expression, or work described. Rules for item-specific information appearing in the note area may recommend standard forms for presentation of information (addressing the general principle of user convenience and its related subprinciple of common usage). Application of such rules presumes both a user’s need for such information and a cataloger’s ability to properly describe such aspects. The principle relates to objective 3 stated above.  

 

III.2.4. Rules provide for the inclusion of all elements of bibliographical significance General cataloging codes like AACR2 routinely strive for both brevity and clarity, principles affiliated with the general principle of sufficiency. In describing rare materials, too great an emphasis on brevity may become the occasion for insufficiency and lack of clarity. Brevity of description may be measured best against the functional requirements of the particular bibliographic description rather than against the average physical length of other bibliographic descriptions in the catalog. The tension between rules for rare materials that promote accurate representation of an item and yet do not exceed the requirements of sufficiency is great. Reference to the principle of user convenience may offer correct resolution of such tensions. This principle is related to all of the objectives stated above.

 

III.2.5. Rules conform to the substance and structure of the last revision of AACR2 to the extent possible; DACS serves as a secondary reference point How might we want to modify this for DCRM(MSS)? (MN) It depends on what direction we end up going. For example, if we keep the dates in Area 1 instead of in Area 4 we are departing from strict AACR2.   This principle relates to general principles of standardization and user convenience (with the latter’s subprinciple of common usage). DCRM assumes that users of bibliographic descriptions constructed in accordance with its provisions operate in contexts where AACR2 (often as interpreted and applied by the Library of Congress) is the accepted standard for the cataloging of general materials. Therefore, DCRM uses existing AACR2 vocabulary in a manner consistent with AACR2; any additional specialized vocabulary necessary for description and access of rare materials occurs in a clear and consistent manner in DCRM rules, appendixes, and glossary entries. DCRM does not introduce rules that are not required by differences expected between rare and general materials. Numbering of areas within DCRM conforms [for the most part/with few exceptions] to the structure of ISBD as implemented in AACR2. [any deviations from the structure are clearly explained and justified] When an existing AACR2 rule satisfies the requirements of cataloging rare materials, DCRM text is modeled on AACR2 text (substituting examples drawn from rare materials for illustration). In cases where the language of AACR2 is not precise enough to convey necessary distinctions or may introduce confusion when dealing with rare materials, DCRM uses carefully considered alternative wording. Wording of relevant ISBD(A) standards was also considered when deviating from AACR2.  

 

III.2.6. Rules are compatible with DCRB except in cases where changes are necessary to align more closely to current revisions of AACR2 or to conform to the above principles  This needs a rewrite, or omit it This principle relates to general principles of standardization and user convenience (with the latter’s subprinciple of common usage). DCRM assumes that users of bibliographic descriptions constructed in accordance with its provisions operate in contexts where monographic materials in special collections were cataloged, until recently, using DCRB. Therefore, changes to DCRB cataloging practices were introduced only after careful consideration of the value or necessity of such changes. Question: What did DCRM(G) do with this section?  

 

(G) changed it to Graphic Materials (the yellow book); since we are basically writing something new and not editing; (S) is basically the same as (B). Not sure this is applicable to our situation at all since this is not a revision of APPM, DACS, AMREMM, etc.

 

IV. Options

 

Available options are indicated in one of three ways.     

 

      Alternative rule  designates an alternative option which affects all or several areas of the description, and which must be used consistently throughout. (Do we have any instances of alternative rules in DCRM(MSS)?) We only have 3 instances of this in Area 1, but we do have them

 

     “Optionally” introduces an alternative treatment of an element.

 

     “If considered important” indicates that more information may be added in a note, and thus signals choices for more or less depth in the description. This phrase covers the entire range between best practice on the one end, and highly specialized practices on the other. The cataloging agency may wish to establish policies and guidelines on the application of options, leave the use of options to the discretion of the cataloger, or use a combination of the two.  

 

 

 

V. Language preferences

 

DCRM(MSS) is written for an English-speaking context. Cataloging agencies preparing descriptions in the context of a different language should replace instructions and guidelines prescribing or implying the use of English into their preferred language (see 4B3-4, 4B8-12, 4E, and areas 5 and 7). replace into? Reword This is probably fine as is; just need to adjust the see references probably.

 

VI. Spelling and style

 

DCRM(MSS) uses Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, eleventh edition, as its authority in matters of spelling, and in matters of style, the fifteenth edition of the Chicago Manual of Style.  (Use more recent editions?) (G) seems to be using the same editions

 

VII. Acronyms

 

AACR2           Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules, second edition
AMREMM       Descriptive Cataloging of Ancient, Medieval, Renaissance, and Early Modern Manuscripts
APPM               Archives, Personal Papers, and Manuscripts

CC:DA            Committee on Cataloging: Description and Access, Association for Library Collections and Technical Services, American Library Association

DACS               Describing Archives: A Content Standard 

DCRM            Descriptive Cataloging of Rare Materials

DCRM(B)       Descriptive Cataloging of Rare Materials (Books)

DCRM(C)      Descriptive Cataloging of Rare Materials (Cartographic)

DCRM(G)        Descriptive Cataloging of Rare Materials (Graphics)

DCRM(M)        Descriptive Cataloging of Rare Materials (Music)

 

 

ISAD(G)      General International Standard Archival Description

ISBD        International Standard Bibliographic Description

LC                   Library of Congress

RBMS             Rare Books and Manuscripts Section, Association of College and Research Libraries, American Library Association

RDA                Resource Description and Access

SAA                Society of American Archivists  

 

VIII. Examples and notes  

 

VIII.1. Examples. The examples are not in themselves prescriptive, but are meant to provide a model of reliable application and interpretation of the rule in question. A word, phrase, element, or entire area may be illustrated; ISBD punctuation is given as needed only for the portion illustrated.  

 

VIII.2. Notes. The instructions and guidelines in Area 7 are written in imperative form. This does not imply that all notes are required; on the contrary, most many notes are not (see 7A1.5). Consult the other areas of DCRM(MSS) in order to ascertain what is required and what is optional in any given situation (see 7A1). The conventions for notes included as part of the examples are as follows. 

 

“Note” indicates that the note is required if applicable to the situation.

 

  “Optional note” indicates that the note is not required. The labeling of a note as “optional” in these rules carries no judgment about its importance (see introductory section IV); certain notes designated as “optional” may in fact be almost universally applied.  

 

“Comment” prefaces details needed to adequately explain the example, and are not to be confused with notes appearing within the bibliographical description.  

 

IX. Integrity of the item (imperfections) -- This was added by (G)

 

IX.1. Defects and sophistication A greater vulnerability to damage, defect, and loss means that rare materials, especially older materials, are less likely than modern materials to be in a perfect or complete state when they reach the cataloger. One of the cataloger’s tasks is to ascertain (within reasonable constraints) whether and how much the manuscript in hand deviates from its original state. Bibliographers’ and booksellers’ descriptions are the usual source of such information. Bridger: I think this section needs to be reworked in some way, because integrity of the item is important but in a different way. A manuscript may have been separated and be in two (or more) hands. Pages may be missing. Pages may have been added at a later date either because it was doctored or it was part of its “natural” life.                  

 

X. Precataloging decisions

 

Before a bibliographic record can be created for a manuscript, appropriate decisions must be made regarding the array of descriptive options available to the cataloger. These precataloging decisions include: determining whether DCRM(MSS) or AACR2 DACS rules will govern the description, choosing the level of cataloging that will be applied, and determining the extent to which various options in the rules will be exercised. Because DCRM(MSS) was written to address the special needs of users of manuscripts, it is likely to be the appropriate cataloging code for the majority of individual manuscripts held in special collections. However, for some categories of manuscripts, the cataloging objectives (see introductory section III) may be met by the application of options within DCRM(MSS) and DACS that permit less detail in the description. Full-level DCRM(MSS) records that employ all possible descriptive options will not necessarily be the best choice for every item. The following section provides guidance for catalogers and cataloging administrators faced with these decisions and identifies some of the institutional and contextual factors that should be taken into consideration. It assumes that certain routine choices will already have been made, such as whether the encoding standard for the description will be MARC 21 or EAD and whether individual items within a larger collection will be analyzed. Institutions may promote efficiency by setting cataloging policies for specific categories of materials in their collections rather than making decisions on an item-by-item basis. For example, an institution may decide to catalog all literary manuscripts using DCRM(MSS). A mechanism for easily making exceptions to general cataloging policy is desirable as well. If, for example, an institution buys a manuscript notable for its unusual format or handwriting style, description of and access to these features ought to be given in the bibliographic record, even if it is not the institution’s usual policy to describe them.  

 

X.1. Decisions to make before beginning the description  

 

X.1.1. Item-level vs. collection-level description

Determine whether the material will receive item-level description, collection-level description, or some combination of the two. Item-level cataloging represents the normative application of the DCRM(MSS) rules. Guidelines for creating collection-level descriptions are found in DACS. Collection-level cataloging is usually faster than item-level—sometimes dramatically so—but is attended by such a substantial loss of specificity that its use as the sole final cataloging for a group of items should be chosen only after careful consideration. The lack of specificity can be mitigated through provision of some sort of item-level control, such as an inventory list, finding aid, or database, and such an approach is highly recommended. Collection-level cataloging of rare materials is most suitable when items have minimal value in themselves but derive value as part of a collection. Use of collection-level control by itself may be appropriate when users are unlikely to be seeking known items, or the risk of inadvertent purchase of duplicate individual items is considered insignificant. Collection-level control alone is unlikely to provide adequate evidence to identify materials following a theft. A combination approach would entail individual cataloging of all or selected items in the collection in addition to the creation of a collection-level record. Such an approach may involve phased processing, whereby the cataloger creates a collection-level record to provide immediate basic access to the collection, and then later creates item-level records for priority items as time and resources permit. When to catalog at the item level [from SAA workshop, "Applying DACS to Single-Item Manuscript Cataloging"]:

  • Items have high research value relative to other holdings
  • Material has high financial value
  • Material has local significance
  • Standardized subject access and contextualization are priorities

 

 

X.1.2. Cataloging code: DACS vs. AMREMM vs. DCRM(MSS)

Determine which cataloging code will govern the description. Each code contains optional rules in addition to the required ones, and each allows varying levels of cataloging depth. Needs new paragraph  

 

X.1.3. Encoding level: DCRM(MSS) minimal vs. core vs. full Determine whether the description will be done at a minimal, core, or full level. Each level has its particular uses with attendant advantages and disadvantages.  

 

DCRM(MSS) minimal level provides for faithful transcription and exact physical description, but requires neither notes nor headings. Minimal-level records can be produced quite quickly. Because name and subject headings may be lacking, the materials represented by these records may be inaccessible through all but known-item searches, and so should be used only after careful consideration. DCRM(MSS) minimal level may be suitable when accurate physical description is desired but a record with few or no access points is acceptable, or when particular language expertise among current cataloging staff is insufficient for proper subject analysis. For further information on creating DCRM(MSS) minimal-level descriptions, see Appendix D.  

 

DCRM(MSS) core level provides for faithful transcription and exact physical description, a full complement of name headings, and at least one subject heading, but requires few notes.[4] Core-level records may be suitable for items or collections that carry enough bibliographical or artifactual significance to benefit from detailed description and controlled heading access, but for which the omission of most notes is acceptable. For further information on creating DCRM(BMSS)core-level descriptions, see Appendix C.  

 

DCRM(MSS) full level represents the normative application of these rules, yet encompasses a range of potential levels of detail. Full-level records provide for faithful transcription and detailed, complete physical description. Although some notes are required (e.g., the source of the title proper if not the title page need new example), most are optional and can be applied selectively depending on the nature of a collection or an institution’s needs. For example, signature statements, descriptions of illustrative elements, names of illustrators and others responsible for such elements, and particular attributes of the item in hand may be included or omitted as desired. Although treatment of headings is outside the scope of DCRM(MSS), full-level records typically contain a full complement of name and subject headings. In addition to those typically given to general materials, DCRM(MSS) full-level records may contain headings for compilers, collectors, recipients, illustrators, engravers, former owners, binders, printers, publishers, etc. The name headings need not be established using authority records, although full authority work, especially if contributed to the LC/NACO Authority File, will result in greater consistency of headings and improved access.[5] The addition of genre/form headings is particularly encouraged in full-level records. These may be used to provide access by genre (e.g., Medical formularies, Poetical miscellanies) or by physical form (e.g., Manuscript waste, Annotations). Prefer (?) terms found in the official thesauri maintained by the RBMS Bibliographic Standards Committee;[6] terms from other authorized thesauri (e.g., Art and Architecture Thesaurus) may also be used as appropriate.

 

X.1.4. Drafts, copies, and other versions

 

If two or more items can be identified as drafts, copies, or versions of the same work, decide whether to describe them using a single bibliographic record or multiple records. It is taken as a default approach in DCRM(MSS) that a separate record will be made for each manuscript version of a work. However, this default approach is not prescriptive and indeed may not be desirable in every situation. (Would we ever describe two different manuscript versions of a work in the same catalog record?) For further guidance on the cataloging of bibliographic variants, see Appendix E.  

 

X.2. Factors to consider in making these decisions

 

Consider the following factors when determining appropriate levels of description and access for materials awaiting cataloging. These factors will help to identify items that might deserve more detailed descriptions or higher priority treatment.  

 

X.2.1. Institution’s mission and user needs

Evaluate the relevance of the items awaiting cataloging to the institution’s mission and the needs of its users. Ideally, the institution will have developed internal documentation that will facilitate such an evaluation, including a mission statement, collection development guidelines, and a listing of constituent users and their anticipated needs. The needs of both patrons (researchers, teachers, students, etc.) and staff (collection development, reference, technical services, etc.) should be taken into consideration.  

 

X.2.2. Institutional and departmental resources

Evaluate institutional and departmental resources, especially staffing levels, expertise, and current workloads.

 

  •   Is staff able to keep up with the inflow of new materials? 
  •   Is there a reasonable balance between resources devoted to acquiring materials and those devoted to processing them?
  •   Is current staff expertise in languages, subject areas, descriptive standards, and encoding standards adequate for implementing and/or completing proposed work plans?
  •   Is staff able to work concurrently with more than one code and/or description level?
  •   Are funding and space available for hiring new temporary or permanent staff with the necessary qualifications?
  •   Are adequate reference sources, such as specialized bibliographies, available for staff use?
  •   How many other projects are in process and what are their requirements and priorities?

 

  The regular review of cataloging priorities is highly recommended and should include discussions with curatorial, public services, technical services, and preservation staff.  

 

X.2.3. Market value and conditions of acquisition of the item or collection

Consider the conditions of acquisition and the estimated market worth of the item or collection awaiting cataloging.

 

  •   Does the monetary or public relations value of the material justify a higher level of access than would otherwise apply?
  •   Have any access requirements been imposed by a donor as part of the terms of acquisition?
  • Is the item or collection accompanied by bibliographic descriptions that will facilitate cataloging?

 

X.2.4. Intellectual and physical characteristics of the item or collection

Finally, evaluate the intellectual and physical characteristics of the items awaiting cataloging.

 

  •   Is there a unifying characteristic that would justify and facilitate the description of the materials as a collection (e.g., author, publisher, place of publication, genre/form, etc.)?
  •   Is a particular collection renowned?
  •   Do the materials have a topical focus that has recently acquired importance or urgency (e.g., due to a scholarly conference hosted by the institution or the hiring of a new professor with a particular specialty)?
  •   Were the items purchased primarily for their content?
  •   Do the specific copies have bibliographic or artifactual value?
  •   Is the institution collecting deeply in the area?
  •   Are detailed descriptions likely to reveal bibliographic variants that will be of interest to researchers?
  •   Are detailed descriptions likely to help in the acquisition of similar materials?
  •   Is the item or collection vulnerable to theft or vandalism?
  •   Would a more detailed description help prevent unnecessary handling by staff and researchers?

 

  The workbook handed out at the SAA workshop, "Applying DACS to Single-Item Manuscript Cataloging," March 10, 2008, includes a very useful section on "Preparation for Cataloging" (pp. 59-61) which we might adopt. I've taken the liberty of cribbing the text of these 3 pages from the workbook below--MN  

 

XI. Preparation for cataloging

Does the manuscript meet your repository's criteria for single item cataloging? How much time will you spend on:

--Examining the manuscript

--Research in external sources

--Creating the catalog record  

 

Examining the Manuscript

  • Review any existing descriptions
  • Examine the whole manuscript, especially looking at:
--Cover, spine, pastedowns --Annotations, inscriptions, bookplates, stamps, labels --Pages preceding and following text --Beginning and end of text --Major divisions of text --Drawings, maps, photographs, other visual material --Tipped in, laid in, accompanying material
  • Based on your examination:

--Does this manuscript meet your repository's criteria for individual cataloging?

--What kinds of name, title, subject, and genre access are most important to your staff and readers?

 

What to Look For

  • What is the genre or genres?
  • What is the date or date span?
  • Who created the manuscript? Are there other associated names?
  • For what purpose(s) was it created?
  • Who has owned or used it?
  • For what purpose(s) has it been used?
  • Is any part of the text a "known" work?

--Has the work been published? When? In what versions?

--What version of the work is represented in the manuscript? Is it complete?

--Was the manuscript created by the author of the work, or is the manuscript a copy made by someone else?

 

Consulting External Sources

  • Consult sources such as:

--Published editions of the manuscript

--Descriptions by former owners, vendors, or donors

--Biographical sources

--Bibliographies of authors' works

--Reference sources concerning historical periods and events

--Published editions of works represented in the manuscript

  • Look for information that will affect the most important access points
  • Set a time limit for external research

 

Assembling Descriptive Information 

  •  Identify at least:
--Documentary form
--Language
--Time period
--Physical extent
  • Try to identify, as appropriate:
--Creator(s)
--Title(s) appearing on manuscript
--Author, uniform title, and version of a literary work
--Dates or date span
--Place of creation
--Subject content
--Associated names
--Evidence of ownership and use
  • Determine research values and appropriate level of detail for description and access
  • If you are not familiar with the genre, time period, subject matter, language, script, or handwriting, consider asking a specialist for help

 

 

 

 

 


[1] The term “rare materials” is used to refer to any special materials that repositories have chosen to distinguish from general materials by the ways in which they house, preserve, or collect them. Rarity in the narrow sense of “scarce” may or may not be a feature of these materials.

[2] These thesauri include: Binding Terms; Genre Terms; Paper Terms; Printing and Publishing Evidence; Provenance Evidence; and Type Evidence.

[3] A good source is Peter Beal, A Dictionary of English Manuscript Terminology, 1450-2000 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008).

[4] If an institution is a BIBCO participant contributing core-level records as part of the Program for Cooperative Cataloging (PCC), all headings must be established in the LC/NACO and LC/SACO Authority Files.

[5] If an institution is a BIBCO participant contributing full-level records as part of the Program for Cooperative Cataloging (PCC), all headings must be established in the LC/NACO and LC/SACO Authority Files.

[6] These thesauri include: Binding Terms; Genre Terms; Paper Terms; Printing and Publishing Evidence; Provenance Evidence; and Type Evidence.

 

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