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Minutes 2021 Summer

Page history last edited by Jasmin Shinohara 4 months, 2 weeks ago

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AJL RAS Cataloging Committee Virtual Annual Meeting Minutes

17 June 2021, 12:30-2pm EST


Old Business


  1. Welcome (Neil)
  2. Winter 2021 minutes were approved. (Neil)
  3. Updates on committee membership: Recognition of outgoing members, welcoming new ones (Neil) 
    • Outgoing members were recognized; new members were welcomed.
    • Many thanks to Haim Gottschalk, who is rotating out after his second term. Haim continues to be very active and will lead several initiatives in the months to come.
    • We welcome Nahid Dayanim Gerstein from LC as our new LC representative to the committee.
    • Continuing members include Gabriel Angulo, David Roth, Jasmin Shinohara, and Daniel Scheide, Neil M. Frau-Cortes, chair; ex-officio members: Amalia Levi, Joan Biella.


New Business


  1. Catalogers’ forum – a place where catalogers can talk, maybe once a month, about cataloging issues (Haim)
    • Based on online (listserv) conversations, Haim proposed a regular Cataloger’s Forum,  envisioned at 30 min. a month, where cataloging practices are discussed. This will be Informal, not necessarily part of the committee work, and intended for catalogers to talk to each other outside of the Heb-NACO email list.
    • The committee approved the proposal and thanked Haim.


       2. New RDA Toolkit's Community Resources section and the Judaica/Hebraica community (Ahava)

    • Decisions in RDA are pending. More discussion to come at our next meeting.
    • AACR (followed by AACR2 and AACR2rev) was Anglo-centered and Christian-biased. These deficiencies were transferred in whole to RDA. The RDA board and steering committee aim to make it more international and less prejudiced.
    • As RDA is being revised, we have the opportunity to add Hebraica policies and practice to the Official RDA Toolkit.
      • Committee members and attendees agreed that this should be a priority.
      • There was discussion about creating a single set of rules or to allow subsets for varying American and Israeli practices.
        • Conclusion: Practices should be as unified as possible to allow maximum record sharing. Further discussion to come.
        • Question: Once our information is added to the Toolkit, how would we keep track of updates and changes? We would be expected to maintain and change our contributions to the Toolkit at least once a year.
        • Question: How does the RDA update fit with BIBFRAME developments? BIBFRAME is a record format much like MARC; RDA is format-agnostic.
        • Question: What about access for smaller libraries who do not subscribe to the Toolkit? We would have the right to make access to our contributions free of charge.
        • Question: Any talk of eliminating romanization? Jasmin cited the LD4P2 Non-Latin Scripts Affinity Group survey report (Jan. 2020) that concludes romanization will continue to be required in libraries. Ahava added that the NLI has ongoing projects for the automation of romanization, highlighting the work of Dicta. We will continue discussion of romanization practices in our next meeting.
        • Note of caution: It is still unclear if non-English speaking countries will be able to add information without paying into the community services (which include full translation, in which Israel is not included). Diaspora and smaller language communities present particular challenges. If the Hebraica cataloging community is interested and thinks it may be of benefit, we could choose to go through NARDAC or the UK cataloging group instead of as a US-based entity.


       3. Use of Wikidata in creating NARs (Yossi)

    • Well organized wiki data records help VIAF entities cluster properly.
    • Everyone is encouraged to learn about and contribute wiki data, including for entities that would typically require authority work.


       4. Update on BM201-449 class schedule expansion (Haim, Marlene; Gabe, absent)

    • The task force started by looking at BM292-283 (Europe and part of Asia), regions that include countries with bigger Jewish populations like Hungary. Three major problems were discovered:
      • The schedule followed alphabetical order at the beginning, but with revisions over time, that order was lost.
      • The map used for creating the schedules is woefully out-of-date. Countries that no longer exist take up space in the schedule; on the flip side, there are many newly created countries (former parts of the USSR) that are not well represented. For example, Turkey has two numbers, one as a part of Europe and the other as a part of Asia.
      • There is no room in the schedule for countries with large Jewish populations, while other class numbers are crowded.
    • Two options are suggested:
      • Proposing a new LC number for Hungary, and removing it from its current place in the schedule; or
      • Fixing the whole schedule.
    • Haim will attend an LC Policy Meeting on 18 June 2021 and will ask about taking steps to fix the schedule. The task force will give an update at our next meeting. 


       5. Topics for discussion in different forums (workshops/panels/round-tables):

               a. succession planning for Judaica catalogers (Neil, all)

    • There is a need to cultivate the next generation of Hebraica catalogers. It is important to focus on supplementing their education since what they learn at Library School does not include skills needed for Hebraica.
    • Discussions about a potential RAS AJL round-table are taking place.
    • A proposal has been brought forth to have a round-table at AJS. Next year it is scheduled to be in person, in Chicago. We ought to consider joining an existing AJS committee and/or presenting a proposal when the AJS conference call for papers is announced.

               b. Christian bias in LCSH; Anglo-Centric taxonomies; bias in cataloging; reactions to Cataloging Code of Ethics (Marlene)

    • Marlene is compiling a list of bias cases. Please send her examples by email or contribute to the list here. A round-table is proposed for after December.


Future Business


  1. New RDA Toolkit's Community Resources section and the Judaica/Hebraica community (Ahava), continue discussion
  2. Updating HCM-RDA to reflect the approved proposal to allow inclusion of patronymic in NARs regardless of the placement of the patronymic element (Jasmin, Neil)
  3. What constitutes "Sacred Works?" Should we have a list of such works (Robert). Ahava has a list from NLI, which she will post for contributions and comments
  4. Update on BM201-449 class schedule expansion (Haim, Marlene, Gabe)
  5. Romanization: updates on Dicta automation and other projects (Ahava and others) 
  6. Helping libraries that have a Hebraica/Judaica collection but no cataloger (Haim)


In attendance


Sharon Benamou (UCLA)

Jackie Benefraim (AJU)

Ahava Cohen (NLI)

Nahid Dayanim Gerstein (LC)

Jerry Anne Dickel (Yale)

Neil Frau-Cortes (Broward County, FL)

Vanessa Freedman (Univ. College London)

Yossi Galron (OSU)

Haim Gottschalk (LC)

David Levy (Touro)

David Roth (NLI)

Daniel Scheide (FAU)

Marlene Schiffman (YU)

Jasmin Shinohara (UPenn)

Avrom Shuchatowitz (YU)


Draft by Neil Frau-Cortes  


The task force started looking at BM292-283 (Europe and part of Asia).

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