Academic journal article Library Resources & Technical Services

A Summary of the Treatment of Bibliographic Relationships in Cataloging Rules

Academic journal article Library Resources & Technical Services

A Summary of the Treatment of Bibliographic Relationships in Cataloging Rules

Article excerpt

A Summary of the Treatment of Bibliographic Relationships in Cataloging Rules

In designing future computerized library systems, it would be very helpful to have a conceptual model to guide our efforts. One part of that model would be the various relationships we want to express, including bibliographic relationships, access point relationships, etc.

With regard to bibliographic relationships, history has shown no rationale and little consistency in how we relate bibliographic entities. A review of cataloging rules since 1841 reveals differing methods and devices used over the years to show bibliographic relationships, but also reveals a lack of any theoretical rationale for the devices prescribed. Cataloging rules change with changing technologies and pressures of traditions in large libraries, such as the introduction of filing titles when card catalogs came into vogue and the disapperance of dashed-on notes with the introduction of machine-readable bibliographic records. Perhaps we should now work toward a more theoretical approach.


In the mid-1980s an analytical study was conducted to examine the cataloging rules through the Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules, 2d ed. (AACR2) to reveal practices for indicating bibliographic relationships in cataloging records and to identify types of relationships.[1] Consideration was given to both the historic rationale and the future importance of expressing bibliographic relationships in catalogs.

An effort was made to identify all major cataloging codes and sets of rules used in the United States. Panizzi's rules were also included, since they have been acknowledged as the basis for cataloging codes used in the United States. From the codes and rules identified, twenty-four principal cataloging codes were selected for review. Codes with well-recognized influence on cataloging at both the Library of Congress (LC) and major libraries in the United States were preferred. For codes covering only serials, Pierson's Guide to the Cataloguing of the Serial Publications of Societies and Institutions, second edition, was selected to represent serials cataloging at LC. The codes that were analyzed are listed in appendix A.

The glossaries of the various cataloging codes were inspected, along with the ALA Glossaries,[2] to further identify types of bibliographic items and types of linking devices. The ALA Glossaries provided additional terms for bibliographic items not explicitly mentioned in the codes, terms that proved useful in developing the taxonomy of relationships.[3] Once these terms for bibliographic items were listed, they were examined to determine whether any natural categories for a taxonomy might result. Indeed, the categories of bibliographic items provided a very useful perspective on possible structures for the taxonomy of bibliographic relationships.[4]

After identifying categories of bibliographic items that could be related, cataloging codes were analyzed to select rules pertaining to bibliographic relationships and linking devices. This was accomplished through a chronological reading and annotation of copies of each of the twenty-four cataloging codes, noting all rules that mentioned making a link between bibliographic records or mentioned relating an item being cataloged to some other item or larger work.

Cataloging rules cover a wide range of topics pertaining to the description of bibliographic items and catalog entry. Some rules are specifically about relating items, such as rules calling for series notes. Some rules combine relationship information with nonrelationship information, such as rules calling for entry under a specific name and title with an added entry for a related item's name and title. Some rules combine several types of relationships, such as rules for serials that call for notes on all types of relationships with other serials. Some rules are not associated with any bibliographic relationships, such as simple rules on the measurement of the size of an item and complex rules on some of the decisions for authorship. …

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