Joint Steering Committee for Development of RDA
News & Announcements

Outcomes of the Meeting of the Joint Steering Committee
Held in Glasgow, Scotland, 1-4 November 2011

L-R Kevin Marsh, Christine Frodl, John Attig, Barbara Tillett, Deirdre Kiorgaard, Margaret Stewart, Gordon Dunsire, Thurstan Young, Alan Danskin

The Joint Steering Committee for Development of RDA (JSC) met at the IET Teacher Building in Glasgow, Scotland, from November 1-4 2011.  The meeting was also attended by Troy Linker, representing ALA Publishing.  On November 3 JSC hosted a joint standards harmonization meeting with ISBD Review Group and representatives of the ISSN Network; and on November 4, JSC and ISBD Review Group met to discuss mapping of element sets and vocabularies to RDF.

JSC welcomed Christine Frodl, who will be the Deutsche Nationalbibliothek’s representative to JSC from January 2012.  Gordon Dunsire represented CILIP, pending the appointment of a new representative to JSC.

Alan Danskin’s term as Chair concluded at the end of this meeting; he is succeeded as Chair by Barbara Tillett (Library of Congress). Danskin will continue as BL representative.  Deirdre Kiorgaard is succeeded as ACOC representative by Kevin Marsh.

This was the first meeting of JSC since 2009 and the first meeting since the publication of RDA.  The meeting had the following objectives:

  • To update and revise JSC policies and procedures
  • To discuss proposals for change received from constituencies and other stakeholders
  • To review progress on RDA Test recommendations
  • To work towards harmonization of differences identified between RDA, ISBD and ISSN instructions and practices

Policies and procedures

JSC agreed and documented new policies and procedures, including a Fast Track process.  The Fast Track process provides for an accelerated review of low impact changes which can be implemented in the Toolkit independently of a substantive update.  The policies and procedures will be published on the JSC Website as 6JSC/Policy/1 and 6JSC/Policy/2

Internationalization of JSC Membership

The addition of the DNB representative to JSC recognises the substantial commitment to RDA already made by DNB, which includes preparation of the German translation.  DNB has also announced its intention to implement RDA during 2013. 

There is a commitment from the Committee of Principals to admit up to two further members to JSC within the next three years.  The JSC recommends scheduling a fundamental review, to take place not later than end 2014, to establish a principled approach to participation in RDA development and JSC membership.

Outcomes of Proposals

JSC discussed all of the proposals submitted for review.  In addition to responses from JSC constituencies, JSC also considered responses received from the National Library of New Zealand.  The outcomes of selected proposals are described in more detail below. A summary listing of the outcomes for all proposals can be found at the end of this report.  


It was agreed that RDA is not intended to replace any subject indexing or classification system.  In order for RDA to provide comprehensive guidelines and instructions covering all types of content and media, it is necessary to include the subject relationship and those entities that may be the subject of works.
Library of Congress will prepare a follow-up discussion paper on these issues, including recommendations for object, concept, and place.
It was also recognised that the properties of Object, Event, Time, and Place are not limited to the subject relationship.  This is an issue with the underlying FRBR model, which JSC will raise with the FRBR Review Group.

Initial Articles

Proposal 6JSC/Chair/3 prepared by Deutsche Nationalbibliothek, was approved in principle. The existing instructions which require omission of initial articles will be flagged as alternative instructions and replaced by new instructions.  The new instruction will permit retention of the initial article while providing continuity for agencies unable to adopt the new instructions.

Profession/Area of activity

It was agreed to retain both elements but to ensure that scope of each is clearly distinguished and to recommend use of controlled vocabularies.  JSC does not propose to define RDA vocabularies for these elements.

ISBD, ISSN, RDA Harmonization


Members of JSC, representatives of ISBD Review Group, ISSN Network and observers in St. Enoch Square

The meeting discussed issues which the different communities had identified as potential barriers to interoperability between ISBD, ISSN, and RDA.  In this context, “Harmonization” was defined as functional interoperability; that is: records created according to any of these standards should be reusable by an agency employing one of the other standards. 
It was agreed to enable access to the current versions of each standard to ensure that recommendations for harmonization are based on accurate information. 
It was agreed that RDA Appendix D will be updated by the ISBD Review Group, and the existing mappings and guidelines will be developed into an ISBD application profile for RDA.
The discussion clarified mutual understanding and resolved some perceived differences.  Actions have been assigned to bring forward proposals for changes to the standards.  A small number of issues remain intractable, nevertheless the communities agreed that it had been a useful meeting and that the process of harmonization should continue.

Linked Data

ISBD RG and JSC approved the approaches to mapping RDA and ISBD vocabularies and elements sets described by Gordon Dunsire.  Two approaches were described.  In both cases the intention is to encode the mappings in RDF/SKOS on the Open Metadata Registry (OMR).

  • ISBD terms defined in Area 0 and RDA terms defined for Carrier Type and Content Type will be mapped to the base categories defined by the RDA/ONIX Framework for Resource Description. This hub and spoke mapping will enable equivalence relationships to be inferred between the RDA and ISBD terms.
  • The definitions of ISBD and RDA elements will be reviewed to determine whether they are semantically equivalent or whether one is a sub-property of the other.

RDA Test

Progress towards meeting the recommendations of the RDA test was reviewed by JSC and Troy Linker, on behalf of the co-publishers. 

  • JSC welcomed the appointment of Chris Oliver as Copy Editor for rewording RDA.
  • Agreement was reached on the general approach to flagging changes and recording revision history outlined by the publishers, subject to evaluation by users.
  • JSC has specified changes to the views and searches offered by the RDA Toolkit.  RDA Instruction Types offered in the advanced search will be changed as follows : “All instructions” (replacing “All Instruction Numbers”); “Basic instructions” (replacing the current “Core”);  “Core element instructions”, is a new option which limits the search to instructions on “core” and “core if” elements only; the View Text captions, filter labels and search result flags will be amended for consistency.  Only instructions relating to “core” or “core if” elements will be labelled core in the search results.

Information on current the status of all recommendations can be found on the JSC Website: US RDA Test Recommendations Progress Reports

Further information

Full details of the decisions made at the meeting will be provided in the meeting minutes. Until these are available, the ALA representative’s blog from the meeting may be of interest.

Summary outcomes of proposals

JSC Ref.




Revision of RDA Names Written in a Non-preferred Script

Approved with changes proposed by LC.


Revision of RDA,,, Recording Place of Production; [Publication, Distribution, Manufacture]



Revision of RDA 2.5.2: Designation of Edition and
Revision of RDA 2.5.6: Designation of a Named Revision of an Edition

Withdrawn. JSC will propose merging elements to ISBD RG.  Minor textual change will be fast tracked.


Revision of RDA Reports of one court

Approved with changes proposed by LC.


Revision of RDA 11.2.2: Heads of State and Heads of Government

Not approved. Revised proposal invited.


Revision of RDA 9.13: Affiliation

Not approved. Issues to be discussed with FRBR Review Group.


Change to RDA 7.24 and Glossary: Artistic and/or Technical Credit

Approved expansion to include sound recordings.  ALA invited to revise.


Title of person: change to 9.4.1 and



Proposed revision to Glossary definition of vocal score

Approved with changes proposed by LC.


Proposed revision to instruction “Compilations of Musical Works,” “Recording Numeric Designations of Musical Works”, and “Additions to Access Points Representing Compilations of Musical Works”

Deferred to MLA/LC/CCC/CAML RDA Revisions Task Force


Proposed revision to instruction “Instrumental Music Intended for One Performer to a Part”

Approved.with LC revision at 


Proposed revision to instruction “Groups of Instruments”

Approved.with changes.


Proposed revision to instruction “Accompaniment for Songs, Lieder, Etc.”

Approved.with changes.


Initial articles - Revision of RDA 0.5;;;;; Appendix C: Initial articles

Approved with changes.


12-16, 23, 33-37 (Group 3 entities and “subject”)



Date of signing a treaty (,

Approved with changes.  BL invited to revise with CILIP.


Field of Activity (9.15) and Profession/Occupation (9.16)

Not approved; ALA Rep. will revise.


RDA Appendix A

Approved with changes.


Date of manufacture (RDA 2.10.6)

Approved with changes.


Elimination of RDA treatment for “names not conveying the idea of …”



Punctuation guidance for see also references used with relationship designators

Approved with changes


Clarifying Date Associated with the Person and Core Requirements

Approved with changes.


Additions to RDA (Corporate bodies considered to be creators)

Approved with changes


Changes in content characteristics

Approved. LC invited to prepare revised proposal.


Revision of RDA and RDA

Approved in principle for LC invited to revise.

6JSC/LC rep/2

“Selections” as used in RDA Chapter 6

Approved in part, with changes. LC invited to submit proposal based on discussion.

6JSC/LC rep/3

Chapters 12-16, 23, 33-37 (Group 3 entities and “subject”)

Discussed.  New discussion paper requested.

Thurstan Young
Secretary, JSC

11 January 2012
Last updated: 11 January 2012
Webmaster: JSC Secretary