- Standard Bibliographic Description vs. Uniform Cataloguing Rules
- No.8, p.71-82
In my last contribution to this annual, entitled “Fragments from My Viewpoint after ICCP 1961---Is Mr. Gorman's Report a Next Step” I argued that the “difference between two languages are often stronger than the distance between the earth and moon” I certainly did not mean that we should give up the principle of Uniform Cataloguing Rules based on international standards. The main issue of my contribution at that stage was rather to see how the newly established cataloging rules in various countries are in accordance with the principles or the statements. The Paris Conference (1961), by its decision with regard to choice and form of heading and entry word has taken a big step. I felt, however, the follow up of the decision in various countries should be a more urgent task for us than the initiating of the Standard Bibliographic Description (SBD), which relies more upon the conventional usage of each language, than the choice of headings does. A certain library administrator sent me a kind note criticizing my resume，“I am more optimistic than you. I look forward to extending international acceptance of describing library materials, resulting in major part from the pressures exerted by mechanization and the economic desirability of reaping its advantages....'' Another administrator commented that I should follow up the further report of Mr. M. Gorman.
Mr. Gorman's Revised draft proposals, SBD (November 1969) is based on discussions at the International Meeting of Cataloguing Experts itself and also of its Working Party, and is clearer than the August “working paper” I am still wondering whether the intent of SBD can acquire wide understanding and acceptance. SBD says in principle that it is concerned solely with describing books. Mr. Gorman believes that separate treatment of choice of heading, arrangement of heading and the description of books (excluding serials) would result in efficiency. I myself have the opinion that those three factors mentioned above must always handled so they complement each other. The features of SBD are only valid, when one is concerned chiefly with the question of machine readable records. This Mr. Gorman denies.
Now let us analyse the breakdown of comments on SBD (Nov. 1969) from various countries. According to the Digest prepared by Mr. Gorman (March, 1970) seventeen libraries representing seventeen countries responded to “General Point” of SBD. There are thirty comments mentioned. One third of them are on “Punctuatio” problems. Four countries sent comments on the “Order of elements in the SBD” three countries on “Source of information” If the comments are analysed in this way and no comment is taken as approval, we may conclude the result was “The comments, in general, reflect satisfaction with the purpose and ideas of the SBD proposals” If we see the thirty comments in other way, e.g. vertically, we find that many of the comments ignore some of the fundamental aspects of SBD. There are ten disapproving comments from nine countries, which range from renaming the title of document (Standard Catalogue Description instead of SBD), suggestions including choice of heading, filing problems or serials handling, and preference for normative punctuation, etc. Six comments concerning the General Point: the scope or extent of elements in the SBD are scattered in (3) “Object of the SBD”, (5) ``Order of elements in SBD”, (8) ``Flexibility”, (9) ``Comprehensiveness of the SB” and (11) “Obligatory elements”, they range from restriction to extension and we cannot say whether they meant acceptance of SBD or not. There are two competitive comments and one compromizing comment about the use of brackets ``[ ” and source of information problems, i.e. title page versus the book as a whole. The remaining comments include some additional suggestions, which are of a technical nature and we cannot say whether they are for or against the fundamental features of SBD.
One comment, however, considers that the strength of the SBD lies in the standardization of the order of elements. I personally think also that this point is the single significant merit of SBD, if SBD's features stay unchanged in the present form. Comments on the “Particular Point” from twenty countries show a somewhat different picture. One hundred and sixty comments are distributed in eight categories or 31 divisions including sub-categories. A glance at sixteen comments on the subcategory of title area “author statemen” and fourteen comments on the category “Multi-volumed work” is promising, because the comments here are rather sympathetic. Less than 2590 of the respondents criticized the proposal, and this questioning attitude promises the healthy growth of SBD. I wonder what will happen to the SBD in next few years, but hope earnestly that SBD develops into standardized Uniform Cataloguing Rules, notwithstanding, that Mr. Gorman himself does not primarily intend this. Integration of choice of heading (Statment at Paris Conference 1961 ICCP) and SBD (IMCE) and furthermore with subject cataloguing as a final goal is of course desirable, but to the end we must first make clearer for the library and publishing world, the feasibility and utility of consistent headings given to all the library materials including serials and non-book materials in the world.
（School of Library and Information Science）