Academic journal article Library Resources & Technical Services

Revising Cataloging Rules and Standards to Meet the Needs of People with Disabilities: A Proposal for South Korea

Academic journal article Library Resources & Technical Services

Revising Cataloging Rules and Standards to Meet the Needs of People with Disabilities: A Proposal for South Korea

Article excerpt

Various types of alternative format materials have been developed and acquired by libraries to improve information accessibility for people with disabilities. Although many cataloging standards contain specific rules designed to describe unique characteristics of these materials, most of these rules focus on describing braille books. This lack of alternative format-specific cataloging rules may hinder information accessibility for people with disabilities. This paper proposes revision, modification, and expansion of the Korean Cataloging Rules, 4th ed., and to Korean MARC (KORMARC) fields to address these problems and to comprehensively describe various types of alternative format materials. Although these changes are intended for the library community in South Korea, they may be relevant to other countries.


Since the enactment of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in 1990 in the United States, interest in information accessibility for people with disabilities has increased in the library community. (1) A survey found that many libraries tried to assist people with different kinds of disabilities by eliminating physical barriers to facilities and by retrieving materials from stacks. (2) In addition to these improvements, libraries have continued to acquire alternative format materials, including talking books, video with subtitles or sign language, braille books, and other materials, to satisfy the information needs of individuals with disabilities. (3) With the development of information technologies, new types of alternative format materials have been produced, and traditional alternative formats materials, such as braille books, have increased.

Format-specific cataloging rules have become necessary because these alternative format materials have unique characteristics. Although many cataloging standards already contain rules designed to describe those materials, most focus on describing one specific type--braille books. In addition, these rules may not be sufficient to describe the unique characteristics of braille materials because they are based on rides designed for general materials, especially the printed book format. Furthermore, new types of alternative formats may have characteristics different from braille books as well as from as general materials. Current cataloging rules may not fully support the detailed description of these alternative formats and hinder information accessibility for people with disabilities.

The library community in South Korea faces the same problems encountered in English-speaking countries when trying to appropriately describe alternative formats for people with disabilities. In South Korea, the Korean Cataloging Rules (KCR) have been a national standard since 1964 when the first edition was released. (4) Korean Cataloging Rules, 3rd ed. (KCR3), released in 1983, was revised so that most rules follow international cataloging rules. (5) KCR was influenced by International Standard Bibliographic Description (ISBD) and the Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules. (6) KCR4, the fourth and current edition of the cataloging rules, has been adopted by most libraries in South Korea as the standard. (7) Korean Machine Readable Cataloging (KORMARC), influenced by USMARC, provides a structure for the records in a machine-readable format that is based on the rules in the KCRs. Most of the bibliographic records in South Korea are now in KORMARC format. (8)

KCR4 and KORMARC are designed to be adopted by all libraries in South Korea, including public, university, school libraries, and libraries for people with disabilities. However, because of the lack of detailed rules for alternative format materials, many libraries cannot fully describe those materials in the appropriate manner. Even more problematic, some libraries have altered the rules to satisfy their own purpose or for their convenience in describing those materials. These problems have resulted in inconsistent, isolated, and noninteroperable records for the same alternative format materials. …

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