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TL v56n2 Cataloging Issues – International Initiatives
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Tennessee Libraries

Volume 56 Number 2



Cataloging Issues – International Initiatives:

RDA and Related IFLA Activities  

compiled by

Linda Behrend
Collection Development Librarian
University of Tennessee Libraries


Presenter: Dr. Barbara B. Tillett, Chief, Cataloging Policy & Support Office, Library of Congress

Conference Abstract: Internationally recognized cataloging authority Barbara Tillett will explain IFLA initiatives—including FRBR, the Virtual International Authority File, and IFLA's work on a new Statement of International Cataloging Principles. She will also discuss RDA: Resource Description and Access, the new cataloging code being developed to replace AACR. This pre-conference will inform Southeast librarians about world-wide cooperation in dealing with cataloging issues.

Dr. Barbara B. Tillett of the Library of Congress presented an all-day pre-conference Wednesday, April 5, at the 2006 joint conference of the Tennessee Library Association (TLA) and the Southeastern Library Association (SELA) in Memphis, Tennessee. Thirty-five librarians—from Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, and Mississippi —attended the workshop, which was sponsored by the TLA Technical Services Roundtable.

Dr. Tillett is Chief of the Cataloging Policy and Support Office (CPSO) at LC and Acting Chief of the Cataloging Distribution Service, the divisions responsible for creating and distributing the various authoritative cataloging tools (LC Rule Interpretations, LC Classification Schedules, LC Subject Headings) and other cataloging documentation used by librarians all over the country. She currently serves as the Library of Congress representative on the Joint Steering Committee for Revision of the Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules (the cataloger's “Bible”). In addition, she chairs the IFLA (International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions) Division IV on Bibliographic Control, and leads the IFLA work towards an International Cataloguing Code and a Virtual International Authority File.

She served along with Tom Delsey and Elaine Svenonius as a consultant on conceptual modeling to the IFLA Study Group on the Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records, helping to produce the FRBR report. She currently serves as a member of the IFLA FRBR Review Group and the IFLA Working Group on FRANAR (Functional Requirements for Authority Numbers and Records), which extends the FRBR model to the realm of authority control. In addition, she leads the worldwide initiative within IFLA to update and replace the 1961 “Paris Principles,” which are the foundation of nearly every cataloging code used in the world today.

Dr. Tillett has been active in the American Library Association throughout her 36 years as a librarian, including founding the Authority Control Interest Group in 1984 and chairing the ALCTS Cataloging and Classification Section. She has served on the editorial committees of ACRL Publications in Librarianship, Advances in Librarianship, and continues for Cataloging & Classification Quarterly. In addition, she has been a reviewer for Library Resources & Technical Services and for College & Research Libraries. Her many publications have focused on cataloging theory and practice, authority control, bibliographic relationships, conceptual modeling, and library automation. Her doctoral dissertation (Tillett 1987) has been a source for conceptual designs of computer-based systems for bibliographic control. In the early 1990s, Library Resources & Technical Services published a series of four research reports derived from her dissertation (Tillett 1991a, 1991b, 1992a, 1992b).

During her career, Dr. Tillett has worked at the University of Hawaii and the University of California, San Diego, and taught at UCLA for a short time following her doctorate. For the past twelve years she has been at the Library of Congress where she earned the Library of Congress's distinguished service award. She earned the prestigious U.S. federal Fleming Award for implementing the Library of Congress integrated library system on time and under budget before the year 2000. She is also the 2004 recipient of the distinguished Margaret Mann Citation in recognition for her many contributions in the areas of cataloging and classification.


Linda Behrend, immediate past chair of the TLA Technical Services Roundtable, introduced Dr. Tillett, who distributed handouts and reviewed the objectives of the workshop. Materials provided to attendees included the following: 1) Glossary of Acronyms and Initialisms; 2) What is FRBR? (Tillett 2004); 3) April 2006 draft of the IME ICC “Statement of International Cataloguing Principles”; 4) RDA prospectus; and 5) printouts of PowerPoint slides.

International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA)

Presentation part 1, with speaker's notes

Dr. Tillett went over the agenda for the workshop and briefly mentioned the following recent IFLA initiatives which would be discussed in her presentation: FRBR (Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records); VIAF (Virtual International Authority File); and IME ICC (IFLA Meeting of Experts on an International Cataloguing Code, replacing the Paris Principles). She gave an overview of IFLA, the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions, and of the Joint Steering Committee for the Revision of Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules (AACR) . She also talked about and displayed a number of IFLA publications related to cataloging and authority work.

FRBR: Theory and Applications

Presentation part 2, with speaker's notes

Dr. Tillett discussed FRBR (Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records) in detail, giving many real-life examples of the FRBR entities—work, expression, manifestation, and item—and relationships. She referred attendees to the pamphlet on FRBR that was included in the handouts (Tillett 2004).

Conceptual Models: FRAD and FRSAR

Presentation part 3, with speaker's notes

Calling it a “work in progress,” Dr. Tillett began her discussion of the Functional Requirements for Authority Data (FRAD) by explaining that this model was originally called FRANAR (Functional Requirements and Numbering of Authority Records) and had grown out of a need to extend the FRBR model to authority data. She also discussed the development of a conceptual model for the Functional Requirements for Subject Authority Records (FRSAR).

VIAF: Virtual International Authority File

Presentation part 4, with speaker's notes

Dr. Tillett's presentation on the Virtual International Authority File demonstrated how it facilitates the sharing of authority data about the same entity (person, corporate body, work) even when that data has been recorded in variant scripts. Through OAI protocols and the semantic web, the authority record becomes an “information package.”

Cataloging Principles: IME ICC

 Presentation part 5, with speaker's notes

As background for discussing the IFLA Meeting of Experts on an International Cataloging Code, Dr. Tillett gave an overview of the Paris Principles, adopted at the International Conference on Cataloguing Principles in 1961, and the role of Seymour Lubetzky in their development (Lubetzky 1953, 1960a, 1960b). She talked about the current series of meetings being held to develop a new “Statement of International Cataloguing Principles” and stressed that one of the primary objectives of those constructing the code is the convenience of the catalog user.

RDA: Resource Description and Access

Presentation part 6, with speaker's notes

Before discussing RDA, the new cataloging code that will replace the Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules, Dr. Tillett gave an overview of the history of cataloging and of AACR . She introduced members of the Joint Steering Committee through a picture in her PowerPoint slides and talked about their vision for a new standard for resource description and access that is designed for the digital environment.


In conclusion, Dr. Tillett stated, “We are updating the underlying principles that support the organization of information and doing it in a way to help build cataloger's judgment.” The new standard for resource description and access, she went on, will enable catalogers to take metadata from many sources and will provide guidance on adding controlled vocabularies that will assure precision in future searching. She emphasized that FRBR (Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records) and its related models are designed with catalog users in mind and stressed the importance of the global sharing of bibliographic information, which is now possible through the Internet and which results in savings both in cost and in effort.


Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules. 2005. Prepared under the direction of the Joint Steering Committee for Revision of AACR, a committee of the American Library Association ... [et al.]. Chicago : American Library Association ;  Ottawa : Canadian Library Association ;  London : Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals.

International Conference on Cataloguing Principles, 1961, Paris. 1963. Report. A.H. Chaplin and Dorothy Anderson, eds. London: Organizing Committee of the ICCP.

International Federation of Library Associations. 1971. Statement of Principles Adopted at the International Conference on Cataloguing Principles, Paris, October 1961. Annotated ed. with commentary and examples by Eva Verona, et al. London: IFLA Committee on Cataloguing.

Lubetzky, Seymour. 1953. Cataloging Rules and Principles: A Critique of the A.L.A. Rules for Entry and a Proposed Design for Their Revision. Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress Processing Department.


———.1960a. Code of Cataloging Rules: Author and Title Entry: An Unfinished Draft . . . . With an explanatory commentary by Paul Dunkin. Chicago: American Library Association.


———. 1960b. Code of Cataloging Rules: Bibliographic Entry and Description. Draft of Rules 1959-60. Prepared for the Catalog Code Revision Committee. Unpublished.

Tillett, Barbara B. 1987. Bibliographic Relationships: Toward a Conceptual Structure of Bibliographic Information Used in Cataloging. PhD dissertation, University of California , Los Angeles .

———. 1991a. “A Summary of the Treatment of Bibliographical Relationships in Cataloging Rules.” Library Resources & Technical Services 35 (4): 393-405.

———. 1991b. “A Taxonomy of Bibliographic Relationships.” Library Resources & Technical Services 35 (2): 150-158.

———. 1992a. “Bibliographical Relationships: An Empirical Study of the LC Machine-Readable Records.” Library Resources & Technical Services 36 (2): 162-188.

———. 1992b. “The History of Linking Devices.” Library Resources & Technical Services 36 (1): 23-36.

———. 2004. What is FRBR?: A Conceptual Model for the Bibliographic Universe . Washington , D.C. : Library of Congress. Available in PDF on the Web at: (accessed May 1, 2006).

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