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Minutes 2012

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Minutes of  AJL's RAS Cataloging Committee Meeting
Association of Jewish Libraries 2012 Convention, Pasadena, California
Sunday,  June 17, 2012

In attendance: Aaron Taub (LC, Chairperson), Jasmin Nof (U. Penn; Committee Member), Janet Heineck (U. of Washington, Committee Member), Rachel Simon (Princeton, Committee Member), Joan Biella (LC, Ex-Officio), Marina Korenberg (LC), Galina Teverovsky (LC), Lenore Bell (USHMM), Stanley Nachamie, Rachel Leket-Mor (Arizona State, RAS President, Ex-Officio), Nancy Sack (U. of Hawaii), Heidi Lerner (Stanford, Committee Member), Marlene Schiffman (Yeshiva U.), Riny Goldsmith (NLI), Elhanan Adler (NLI), Haim Gottschalk (Indiana U.),  Avrom Shuchatowitz (Yeshiva U.), Adaire Klein (Simon Wiesenthal Center), Janice Wien (Santa Monica Public), Nora Avetyan (UCLA), Caroline Miller (UCLA), Daniel Scheide (Florida Atlantic), Sarah Barnard (HUC Cincinnati), Jackie Ben-Efraim (American Jewish U.), Sharon Benamou (UCLA, Vice-Chairperson), Yoram Bitton (HUC) 

1)    Approve 2011 Minutes; designate minute-taker:  A motion was made and seconded to approve the 2011 Cataloging Committee minutes. Lenore Bell was appointed minute-taker.

2)    Mystery of Shoshanat Yiśraʼel: Joan Biella raised the issue of the cataloging treatment of multiple publications on various topics by a single author, in which each publication employs the same title proper.  Under the rules of the new cataloging code, Resource Description and Access (RDA), the use of uniform titles (i.e., preferred access points) in such instances is not optional, as it is under AACR2.  Joan proposed establishing a subcommittee on preferred access points.  Using the example of Shoshanat Yiśraʼel, she posed the question of what is the best treatment option for this type of publication (see examples in the document shoshanatyisrael.doc):

a)    To treat the publications as an unnumbered multipart work, with a 505 note to record the individual titles/topics.  This is an economical approach in that it precludes the need to create a new record for each subsequent publication.

b)    To consider the publications as parts of a larger work, and catalog each individually with the part designated in both the 240 and the 245.

c)    To consider the publications as stand-alone titles, and to distinguish them by assigning uniform titles with the individual topics as parenthetical qualifiers (LC’s general practice).   It is not clear if this current AACR2 approach of using the parenthetical qualifier as the distinguishing characteristic is applicable under RDA.   [It was noted that Joan Biella and Heidi Lerner would be addressing certain RDA issues at a separate session during the conference.]

One challenge of dealing with this type of publication is that often the cataloger encounters a single instance, and unless there is some indication or prior knowledge of the other works with the same title, the initial instance must be cataloged as a stand-alone title.  Upon encountering the next instance, the cataloger must then make the determination regarding treatment of the publications as a group, and superimpose that treatment on the first publication cataloged.  It was noted that the decision on treatment also has implications for subject assignment and classification practice.  “Stand-alone” approaches (b) and (c) result in individual specific subject assignment and classification for each publication. The “multipart” approach (a) may result in the assignment of a broader topic and corresponding classification, or depending on the scope of the work, in classification based on the first of several assigned subject headings.

Action item:  Joan Biella, Heidi Lerner, Jasmin Nof, and Aaron Taub, will form a subcommittee to determine a recommended standard practice, and will submit a report by March 31, 2013.

3)    Action, if any, to be taken regarding Nusaḥ Sefarad:  The group considered issues that were first raised by Ella Ruderman of Yeshiva University, who questioned the Library of Congress (LC) practice of using the qualifier “Sephardic” for liturgical works identifying themselves as either “Nusaḥ Sefarad” or “Minhag ha-Sefaradim ṿa-'Adot ha-Mizraḥ.”  It was acknowledged that the two rites differ, and that “Nusaḥ Sefarad” is used by various Ashkenazic communities, Hasidic and non-Hasidic, so the current usage of the qualifier “Sephardic “ may be misleading in many cases.  It was noted that the Encyclopaedia Judaica (EJ) distinguishes between the two rites, using "Sefarad" for “Nusaḥ Sefarad” and "Sephardi" for “Minhag ha-Sefaradim…” Discussion covered a number of the alternatives suggested in the LC notes document (NusahSefarad.doc).  Members commented on the need for extensive bibliographic file maintenance if any change in practice is implemented, including that of ceasing to qualify by rite altogether.  The problem of distinguishing between Sefarad and Ari rites, was also noted, as these rites are considered to be related and similar, but not identical.  The question was posed about how important these distinctions are to users, and there was general agreement that doing away with distinctions by rite would be a loss to users.  The National Library of Israel’s practice is to provide information about the rite in a note, rather than in the uniform title.  There was general agreement that in many cases, it is not realistic to expect catalogers to have the time or knowledge to be able to distinguish rites more finely than is currently done.  

Action item:  The decision was made to maintain current practice; however, LC will update the appropriate authority records to clarify that the single qualifier “Sephardic” is used to signify both rites.

4)    Religion Genre/Form Headings Update:  The Cataloging Committee continues to participate in the effort led by LC, in coordination with the American Theological Library Association (ATLA), to develop genre/form terms in the discipline of religion for inclusion in the LC Genre/Form Thesaurus.  A report was received from Erica Treesh, ATLA, noting that the term “Parashiyot ha-shavua’” was newly accepted as genre term.  In general, the terms that have been accepted to date are at a very high level, and are not distinguished by religion when applicable across religions.  It was noted that a MARC field for religion may be proposed to distinguish such genres further.    

Action item:  An effort will be undertaken to further check LC Subject Headings for topical headings representing  distinctively Judaic genres to ensure that they are either captured in the list of terms or appear as upward see references to more generic terms.  Aaron Taub volunteered to lead the effort, and Lenore Bell volunteered to assist.

5)    Syriac:  LC’s Policy and Standards Division (PSD) now requires that new romanization schemes be machine-reversible to the extent possible.   LC and the American Library Association both approved the new Syriac romanization table developed by Joan Biella, which is largely reversible, except in the case of short vowels.  Joan reported that there has been recent criticism of the table’s limited reversibility by one critic; however, it is not expected that any changes will be made to the table at this time.

6)    Follow-Up to Encyclopedia of Jews in the Islamic World. Incorporation of Encyclopedia into the LCPS Regarding Headings for Names in the Hebrew Alphabet:  Last year, it was proposed to the Cataloging Committee that  the Encyclopedia of Jews in the Islamic World be designated, as is EJ, as an authorized source for establishing name authorities for persons with names in the Hebrew alphabet.  With LC’s implementation of RDA on the horizon, PSD is no longer making any updates to the LC Rule Interpretations (LCRI), so the resource will not be added to the current LCRI on the order of preference for establishing names in the Hebrew alphabet.  However, on the recommendation by LC’s Israel & Judaica Section and the Cataloging Committee, PSD has approved the inclusion in the LC Policy Statement (LCPS) on the Alternative to RDA Instruction  It was noted that this LCPS also includes widely-used online resources accepted as authorized sources since they are freely available and likely to include forms of names sanctioned by authors themselves.

7)    Raising AJL Concerns Regarding RDA:  As various institutions begin or expand implementation of RDA, there will be an increasing volume of questions related to practice that will need to be raised with PSD and/or the RDA Steering Committee.   Committee members discussed options for creating a mechanism to raise and submit questions.  It was decided to continue to use the HebNACO listserv as the forum for discussing such questions.  

Action item:  Joan Biella, Heidi Lerner, and Nancy Sack will form a subcommittee to consider further how to channel questions and submit formal proposals.  The subcommittee will also consider establishing an RDA FAQ on the Committee’s wiki.

8)    Cataloging Committee New Business: Appointment of new chairperson, new members, etc.:   Daniel Scheide was pleased to report that Heidi Lerner will be the new chair of the Cataloging Committee.  There are plans to have other new committee members in place by the end of the conference.

9)    Other:   It was acknowledged that a one-hour time slot at the conference is not sufficient to complete the Committee’s business.  A one-and-a-half hour slot will be requested for the 2013 conference.  Also, it was noted that the Committee’s meeting next year will not be held on Sunday.  Outgoing Committee Chair Aaron Taub thanked all past and current Committee members for their efforts and support during his term.   

Minutes taken by Lenore Bell; submitted to Aaron Taub on July 9, 2012; submitted by Aaron Taub to the HEB-NACO listserv and Michelle Chesner, RAS Secretary on July 11, 2012



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