CMC Town Hall Summary: MLA Conference 2023

CMC Town Hall

MLA session Friday, March 3, 2023

Summary by Ivan Kaproth-Joslin, Eastman School of Music

Program slides are available via Humanities Commons, “Cataloging and Metadata Town Hall (2023)

Speakers: Introduction, Hermine Vermeij (UCLA); Encoding Standards Subcommittee, Karen Peters (Library of Congress); Vocabularies Subcommittee, Janelle West (University of North Texas); Content Standards Subcommittee, Keith Knop (University of Georgia); Linked Data Working Group, Kevin Kishimoto (Stanford University); Drafting a SACO term proposal, Leo Martin (University of Houston)

Hermine Vermeij began the Cataloging and Metadata Committee (CMC) Town Hall by highlighting upcoming ALA eLearning events through the Fundamentals of Music Cataloging series: Introduction to Music Cataloging (4-week eCourse, March 20-April 14); Music Cataloging with Library of Congress Vocabularies (4-week eCourse, April 17-May 12); Music Cataloging with Library of Congress Classification (4-week eCourse, May 15-June 9; and Using the New RDA Toolkit to Catalog Music (three daily 1-hour webinars, June 12-15).

CMC position transitions: Encoding Standards Subcommittee Chair (Karen Peters to Ethan D’Ver), Cataloging and Metadata Committee Chair (Hermine Vermeij to Rebecca Belford), and OCLC Representative (Jay Weitz outgoing with upcoming retirement; new representative not announced at the time).

Vermeij reminded everyone of the CMC website, which contains Best Practices documents, Metadata Guidance Documentation, draft Metadata Application Profile, Types of Composition list, and more. Attendees were encouraged to apply for openings on the three CMC Subcommittees (Content Standards, Encoding Standards, Vocabularies).

Encoding Standards Updates: Karen Peters gave a reminder regarding the Interim MLA BP for Form of musical notation and MARC updates to fields 348 and 546. Generally, do not record field 348 subfields $b or $d: see example in the MLA BP for (original) RDA 7.20. This also applies to Official RDA: see MLA RDA Metadata Guidance v. 0.92.

MARC update 34, which was approved at the 2022 Midwinter MARC Advisory Committee meetings and outlined at last year’s CMC Town Hall, was made official as of July 2022:

  • Field 340, subfield $f (Reduction ratio value: formerly Production rate/ratio) redefined to limit usage to microforms; further clarifies that playing speed of sound recordings belongs in 344 $c (Playing speed) or 347 $f (Encoded bitrate)—not 340 $f.
  • Field 373 added new subfields $i (Relationship information) and $4 (Relationship).
  • New Field 387: Representative Expression Characteristics (Bibliographic and Authority Formats), for Official RDA only. Used to record Representative Expression Elements such as Date of Capture ($d), Date ($e), Duration ($f), Language ($h), Place of Capture ($i), and Script of Language Content ($l).
  • Field 382: new 1st indicator values 2 (Medium of Performance of Musical Content of Representative Expression) and 3 (Partial Medium of Performance of Musical Content of Representative Expression) were added. In field 384, new 1st indicator value 2 (Key of Representative Expression) was added. For examples see MLA RDA Metadata Guidance 0.92 (382 and 384 fields only).

MARC Update 35, December 2022, numerous changes were made to Field 856 (Electronic Location and Access) in all formats:

  • Second indicator 2 (Relationship) and values # (No information provided), 0 (Resource), 1 (Version of resource), and 2 (Related resource) redefined; new values 3 (Component part(s) of resource) and 4 (Version of component part(s) of resource) added
  • New subfields $g (Persistent identifier) and $h (Non-functioning Uniform Resource Identifier) added
  • Subfield $q (Electronic format type) redefined and made repeatable
  • Clarifying additions/changes made to Field Definition and Scope, and to subfields $u (Uniform Resource Identifier), $3 (Materials specified), and $7 (Access status)

Selected MARC changes were approved at the 2023 MAC Midwinter Meetings (to appear in MARC update 36, mid-2023): Subfield $3 (Materials specified) added to Field 041 (Language code) (Bibliographic format), added by approval of MLA/OLAC-authored Proposal No. 2023-02; supporting documentation will be added to field 008/35-37 (Language). Subfield $3 is already available for use in (corresponding) note fields 546 (Language note) and 500 (General note).

The MARC/RDA Working Group’s work was completed (Final report (PDF) available). Largely due to ongoing RDA development, outstanding issues remain, but additional changes in support of the Official RDA Toolkit may be brought forward by the wider community in the future.

BIBFRAME development and BIBFRAME/MARC conversion work continued with NDMSO (Network Development and MARC Standards Office) Discussion Papers (2022-DP10, 2022-DP11, 2023-DP01). These papers concern the defining of new subfields in fields 264 and 490 to record unparsed statements, and the defining of a new subfield in field 264 to record an unsubfielded statement in the MARC 21 bibliographic format. Peters stressed that it cannot be assumed that conversion will result in 1:1 equivalence (Final Report of the PCC TG on MARC Simplification for BIBFRAME Conversion)

The Metadata for Music Resources (MMR) Task Group continued to review and add resources and resource descriptions to the Metadata for Music Resources website; suggestions welcome (contact/links are on the CMC website.)

Janelle West, Vocabularies Updates: The Vocabularies Subcommittee continued work on the Types of Composition for Use in Authorized Access Points for Music, including plurals for nonpreferred terms and updated documentation. Terms (listed on the session slides) were added to or revised in the following lists, indexes, and vocabularies and can be seen on the CMC Town Hall: Thematic Indexes Used in LC NACO Authority Files (MLATI), LC Medium of Performance (LCMPT), LC Genre & Form Terms (LCGFT), LC Subject Headings (LCSH). Work on deriving faceted data (OCLC Music Toolkit) and on the most recent revision of the LCMPT Best Practices was completed.

West commented on the report of the joint GNCRT/SAC/OLAC Working Group on Compound Terms in the LCGFT Vocabulary (Graphic Novels and Comics Round Table’s Metadata and Cataloging Committee/ALA Subject Analysis Committee/OLAC) , which advocates for policy revisions to allow for the inclusion of compound terms in LCGFT. VS plans to complete the LCGFT Best Practices revision and to distribute the LC Vocabularies Survey, assessing the usage of and reliance on LCSH/LCGFT/LCMPT.

Keith Knop, Content Standards Updates: New Best Practice (BP) recommendations include recording non-Latin scripts for notated vocal music if knowledge of the script is necessary for performance, and recording Creative Commons license information in Field 540. Updated BP content highlights include a line in Manifestation: copyright date, clarifying that license dates are not copyright dates, a recommendation to record 13-digit ISMNs as ISMNs (024 2_) in addition to or instead of EANs, and additional guidance on when to consider enumeration as part of a title proper when the title is distinctive. None of the new or updated BP content contradicts Original RDA and may be applied immediately.

The new MLA RDA Metadata Guidance Documents (MGDs) include MARC/RDA mappings, MARC examples, and supplementary guidance regarding aggregates, electronic scores, access points for musical works and expressions, and many other aspects of bibliographic and authority format records. The MGDs can be found with other CMC Best Practices documents, which also, as Knop stressed, has feedback links for the MLA Best Practices, the MLA RDA MGDs, and other MLA RDA documentation.

The projected date for LC/PCC implementation of Official RDA remains “not before June 2023,” but Knop cautioned the switchover may be delayed to sometime in 2024, due to the unfavorable results of the RDA/PCC test. The next RDA Toolkit update will happen in March 2023, with further updates occurring on an alternating two-month/four-month schedule. LC-PCC Policy Statements for pages in the Community Resources section of the Toolkit will be removed from the Toolkit and incorporated into the Metadata Guidance Documents. The timeline for this change is unknown, but will occur in stages. This will affect some legacy instructions on access point formulation, as well as the special instructions for preferred titles for musical works and access points for musical works and expressions.

Kevin Kishimoto, Linked Data Working Group Updates: Kishimoto began by stressing that the MLA Linked Data Working Group (LDWG) is a working group, not a subcommittee. Its emphasis is on exploration and learning of linked data, building practical skills and knowledge, making connections, and learning concepts and theory. The group meets twice a month on varied topics, including BIBFRAME and Performed Music Ontology, Wikidata, data conversion and querying linked data.

LDWG’s Wikidata projects from the last year include thematic catalog concordances for Vivaldi & Mozart, works commissioned by the Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge Foundation, and piano rolls published in the early 20th century.

LWDG met with developers at Cornell University to explore ways to enhance a catalog with Wikidata properties, such as catalog code (e.g. thematic catalog number), tonality, and date and location of first performance. Screenshots were shared showing examples of how this might look in a catalog (slides pp. 39-42).

LDWG will continue Wikidata projects, create BIBFRAME/Performed music ontology data, learn more about linked data query and discovery, and create documentation of models and workflows, among other goals. Those with questions or an interest in joining LDWG should contact Kishimoto at

Leo Martin, SACO Music Funnel:

The SACO Music Funnel promotes and facilitates the creation of authority records for medium of performance terms, genre/form terms, and subject terms for music. Proposals for Library of Congress Classification and demographic group terms related to music are also accepted by the funnel. Drafts of proposals may be submitted to the funnel coordinator or the MLA-CMC Vocabularies Subcommittee. Catalogers may also make proposals through the Music Vocabularies Suggestion Box.

The proposal process–detailed in the session slides–begins with questions the cataloger should consider before proposing a new term. The cataloger then follows the instructions on the SACO Music Funnel website shows a list of proposed term requirements). Common issues and challenges include: 1) Proposal lacks appropriate work cataloged (Avoid “solutions in search of a problem” proposals); 2) Related terms (RTs) cannot share identical broader term(s) and must follow scope note instructions if applicable; 3) Format terms and topical terms as genre will need LC pattern heading if proposed and must be accurate (consider LCSH, RDA value vocabularies, etc.); and 4) Non-English terms are addressed with UF terms in LCMPT (M 657) and Geographic or ethnic origin (M 650).

In closing, Martin discussed Conscious Editing/Reparative Cataloging term proposals. These proposals incorporate “a formalized approach to remediating and critically examining terminology and practices used to describe not only the collections, objects, and resources that cultural institutions steward, but also the people, groups, and organizations related to these resources.” This has been seen in the work of the African American Funnel and the new Gender and Sexuality Funnel, as well as in revised minstrelsy terms and hierarchy in LCSH and new GFTs, and updated diacritical marks for Māori terms in LC vocabularies.