LC PSD response (Reser)

Date:     March 20, 2014

To:          Cataloging Advisory Committee, Art Libraries Society of North America (ARLIS/NA)

From:    David Reser, LC Policy & Standards Division

Subject:  Proposal to revise LC-PCC PS 25.1 to add artist monographs, exhibition and other art catalogs to the list of resource types that do not require conventional collective titles (hereafter CCTs)


Apologies for the lengthy delay in responding to your proposal—the topic, or some variation on the topic, has been raised in different venues.  Since there have been no conclusive decisions yet made that would alter our approach, I’ll explain the approach we took in developing the current guidelines. I’ve taken the liberty of converting some of your comments into questions to facilitate responding to the issues. I’ll also alert you to some of the other discussions going on to be sure that you are aware of them.


Issue:  Does apply to compilations of works of art?

Response:  We can see no obvious reason why it doesn’t apply to compilations of works of art (and reproductions of works of art) by a single artist (“posters” is an example in of a non-literary type of work that was carried over from AACR2 25.10).  The question of “when” a conventional collective title is used has shifted somewhat between the application of AACR2 and RDA, though this is due primarily to 1) elimination of the LCRI that said to ignore AACR2 when a compilation had an “adequate title”, and 2) an RDA implementation decision made at LC to more easily apply the first sentence of  RDA says to use a conventional collective title for a compilation of works of one creator unless that compilation has become known by a specific title.   Having seen catalogers struggle for years with the LCRI concept of when a title was “adequate” we wanted to avoid the same confusion about when a compilation was “known by a specific title.”  As I’m sure you are aware, this LC decision has not been popular with many PCC members, and LC has committed to re-thinking our application of the instruction in consultation with the PCC.  Any re-thinking will not eliminate the need for conventional collective titles altogether (e.g., for compilations with no collective title), but will likely reduce the use of CCTs for some types of compilations. 

However, because of the nature of works of art, we anticipate that conventional collective titles will still apply frequently to compilations of art works.  There are a few compilations, such as Andy Warhol’s Marilyn Diptych, that are clearly compilations known by specific titles, but most are not.  When these works are manifested in art catalogs, often they are a compilation of one artist’s work within a compilation of works of different creators so there is no collective title in the resource to apply to them.

As part of the development of RDA, several years prior to publication, there was an effort to eliminate “special” practices/instructions for special types of materials if they weren’t warranted or could be “mainstreamed” into general instructions.  Thus, instructions such as AACR2 21.17 were not brought forward directly, in favor of following “general” instructions and basic FRBR principles that apply to describing all types of works.


Issue:  Should reproductions of art works be treated as art works in compilations?

Response:  Our attempt has been to identify the works in the compilation (whether that is a compilation of a single artist’s works, works of more than one artist, or the works of an artist combined with the work of another creator writing about the artist’s works).  Clearly reproductions of a work of art in an art catalog are not the same manifestation as an original art work, just as a modern publication of a Shakespeare play is not the same manifestation as the one in his a First Folio, nor is a 2013 publication of Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn the same as the manuscript housed in the Mark Twain Room of the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library.  As AACR2 21.17 indicated, the artist can still be considered the creator of a resource that has reproductions of art works, and RDA chapter 19 would encourage the same (examples at show an artist as the creator for manifestations that include reproductions).   LC has not delved too deeply into specifically identifying different expressions in access points (as indicated in the LC-PCC PS for 6.27.3), and RDA itself does not yet cover access points for manifestations.  In theory, a reproduction that results in a content type change (e.g., photographic reproductions of an artist’s sculptures) could be made clear with a “content type” addition to an expression access point, but when the content type is not different (when both the original and reproduction are both “still image”) a content type addition would not by itself be adequate to differentiate an original from a reproduction, though creative use of “other distinguishing characteristic of an expression” could be used to accomplish the differentiation.

At this point, very few PCC libraries are making authority record for expressions that distinguish the expression beyond the limited cases in LC-PCC PS for 6.27.3, though some have.  The PCC Access Points for Expressions Task Group raised many issues relevant to expressions, but did not necessarily reach conclusive decisions.  That task group report has been passed to the PCC Standing Committee on Standards, which is further investigating the issues.


Issue: Should the “LC practice” for the LC-PCC PS for 25.1 be amended to extend the general exclusion of recording whole/part related works for artists’ monographs and exhibition and other art catalogs?

Response: The LC-PCC PS for 25.1 is divided between “LC Practice” and “PCC Practice” statements.  While we see no reason at this time to alter the “LC practice” statement as suggested, it can be disregarded by ARLIS/NA members since they are not required to follow LC practice in this matter.  For LC, we think the authorized access point for the analytic part of the compilation is useful in answering a user’s query “do you have resources that include this artist’s works?”.  Your conclusion could, of course, be different than ours based on the special needs of your catalogs and users.  We think there is already flexibility in the statement to accommodate this: 1) you could conclude that the artist’s works do not represent a substantial part of the resource, or 2) you could conclude that artist’s works are “similar resources” to those listed in the policy statement.  In either case, you are not bound by LC’s policy decision.   If you do choose to follow the LC practice and add an analytic added entry, whether a name authority record needs to be created depends on your participation in various cooperative endeavors.   The PCC practice for when to create title and name/title authority records is documented in the Descriptive Cataloging Manual, section Z1 introduction, which is fairly loose in terms of requirements-- “NACO participants may contribute name authority records for works or expressions as needed for cataloging”.  While requirements for creating the authority record for PCC BIBCO records is more stringent, a library can choose to exclude any record from BIBCO authentication (do not include 042 pcc).


LC’s training presentation on “Art catalogs” was developed as a guideline to help catalogers through a complicated area after many questions were asked during initial training.  By policy, we make our training materials available to others, usually with the following disclaimer, which no doubt would have been useful in this case:

This training material has been created for a primary audience of Library of Congress staff.  Other audiences are welcome to utilize it as they see fit. However, it should be understood that it reflects policies for LC staff, and should not necessarily be interpreted to either prohibit or require specific practices for persons external to LC.