Encoding Standards Annual Report: 2020

Annual Report, July 1, 2019-June 30, 2020

Submitted by: Karen A. Peters, Chair

Group Name: Encoding Standards Subcommittee

Special Offices: ALA MARC Advisory Committee (MAC) Liaison, ALA Metadata Interest Group (MIG) Liaison, [RDA/MARC Working Group]

Group Members

  • Karen Peters (Chair, 2019-2023)
  • Jim Alberts (2023)
  • Margaret Corby (2020)
  • Ethan D’Ver (2023)
  • Matt Ertz (2021)
  • Chelsea Hoover (2022)
  • Rahni Kennedy (2023)
  • Nancy Lorimer (2020)
  • Jeff Lyon (2024)
  • Rebecca McCallum (resigned 2020)
  • Casey Mullin (resigned 2020)
  • Felicia Piscitelli (2021)
  • Tomoko Shibuya (2022)
  • Amy Strickland (2022)
  • Damian Iseminger (LC Representative)
  • Jay N. Weitz (OCLC Representative)

Previous Goals

  1. Continue to monitor and participate in MARC development—particularly in light of upcoming implementation of 2020 RDA (currently beta RDA)–and communicate any needs for best practices or other documentation to help music catalogers implement changes to MARC (Goal area: Value of the Profession)
    • The Chair served as MLA’s representative to the MARC Advisory Committee (MAC), attending MAC’s meetings at ALA Midwinter 2020, and 2 of the 3 MAC meetings held June 30-July 2 independent of ALA Annual as a result of ALA Annual’s contraction due to the COVID-19 situation. In the Chair’s absence, Amy Strickland served as MLA’s representative at the MAC meeting on July 2. Prior to these meetings, the Chair solicited comments from the ESS and CMC membership regarding the proposals and discussion papers to be presented at the meetings, and drafted MLA’s (initial) response to these papers for submission to MAC in preparation for the meetings.
    • The Chair and ESS members Tomoko Shibuya and Amy Strickland participated in the CSS-led RDA/MARC Task Group formed to assist the Chair in representing the music community on the MARC/RDA Working Group (MRWG), which was convened by NDMSO to evaluate the impact of (the currently beta) RDA on MARC 21, and propose any changes deemed necessary as a result. The Task Group released a report of their (preliminary) findings in September 2019, which the Chair subsequently shared with John Zagas of NDMSO and the MRWG.
    • The Chair has participated in the work of the MRWG at various times throughout the year as required, representing the music community, if not (strictly speaking) MLA specifically. The MRWG drafted and presented 2 discussion papers at the ALA Midwinter 2020 MAC meetings, and 2 proposals and 2 discussion papers at the June 30-July 2 MAC meetings.
    • For submission to MAC at its June 30-July 2 2020 meetings, the Chair drafted on behalf of MLA, and ESS initially vetted, a discussion paper (No. 2020-DP12) that explored the possibility of moving Form of musical notation from MARC field 546 (Language note) to an expanded MARC field 348 (currently, Format of notated music) in order to take advantage of the possibility afforded by that field of encoding this information in the form of linkable, controlled terms. The Chair presented this discussion paper to MAC at its July 1, 2020 meeting.
    • In advance of the June 30-July 1, 2020 MAC meetings, the Chair was given an opportunity to comment on the draft of an NDMSO proposal to expand MARC field 344 (currently, Sound Characteristics) to include the encoding of RDA Sound Content (defined as “sound” or “silent”). The Chair’s response on behalf of MLA, which incorporated feedback from ESS and CMC members, resulted in NDMSO redrafting the proposal as a discussion paper for consideration at the July 1 MAC meeting.
  2. Continue work on the updating and redesign of the Metadata for Music Resources (via the MMR Task Group): determine new and emerging topics to be represented, and appropriate resources for each. Once the new CMC website design has been completed and implemented, complete design of and administer “card sort” user experience test, using the results to inform a redesign of the MMR website. (Goal areas: Value of the Profession, Technology)
    • The Metadata for Music Resources (MMR) Task Group (members: Ethan D’Ver (Leader), Chelsea Hoover, Rebecca McCallum (resigned 2020), Casey Mullin (resigned 2020), Amy Strickland (joined 2020), Tomoko Shibuya (joined 2020)) began their work this past year by addressing the results of the preliminary evaluation conducted in the spring of 2019. An initial round of maintenance was conducted in late 2019, resulting in removing or fixing broken links, removing severely outdated or unhelpful resources, and revising resource descriptions. Action was taken on 16 items.
    • In the spring of 2020, a budget request was made to purchase a license for usability testing software capable of conducting a card sort test. This would enable the Task Group to evaluate the current organization of the MMR and determine what aspects of the site might need to be redesigned. In late May, the MLA board approved the request, plans were made to purchase a one-year license for UsabiliTest, a web-based usability testing tool with a robust card sort feature.
  3. Activate MARC Cataloging Efficiencies Task Group: analysis of inefficiencies and recommendations for remediation to be completed by MLA 2021; work towards a presentation of the TG’s recommendations at MOUG or MLA 2021. (Goal area: Value of the Profession)
    • The Music Cataloging Inefficiency [note change of name] Task Group (MCI TG; members: Jim Alberts, Janice Bunker (CSS representative), Ethan D’Ver, Matt Ertz (Leader), Jeff Lyon (joined 2020), Casey Mullin (resigned 2020), Jennifer Olsen (VS representative), Karen Peters, Felicia Piscitelli (joined 2020)) held initial discussions from August through December 2019 and eventually settled on thirteen inefficient music cataloging practices bearing further investigation. The Task Group gave a report detailing its findings at the MLA Annual Meeting in February 2020. Part of this report included the Task Group’s general sentiment that many of the identified inefficiencies would be best resolved through recommendations added to the MLA Best Practices for Music Cataloging document, which is maintained by CSS. Also, it was noted that some of the inefficiencies were potentially in the process of resolution due to changes to MARC currently taking place or being considered in order to accommodate beta RDA, as well as factors such as the developing BIBFRAME to MARC conversion, and the increasing use of the OCLC Music Toolkit by music catalogers.
    • During the ESS meeting in February 2020 at MLA Annual, discussions of the MCI TG’s report suggested that if the Task Group were to make recommendations for additions to the MLA Best Practices document, they ought first to survey music catalogers/heads of technical services on what impact these changes might have on local systems. As a result, the TG was charged with creating and distributing such a survey.
  4. Pending future LDWG activity, involve ESS in operationalizing elements of the Performed Music Ontology within BIBFRAME (Goal area: Value of the Profession, Technology)
    • Goal continues to be on hold: LDWG activity appropriate for ESS participation is still pending.

Additional activities

  1. The Chair served as MLA’s liaison to the ALA Metadata Interest Group (MIG), attending the MIG’s meeting at ALA Midwinter 2020. Note that due to the contraction of ALA Annual 2020 because of the COVID-19 situation, the MIG did not hold its usual business meeting.
  2. The Chair submitted reports of all meetings attended at ALA Annual 2019 and ALA Midwinter 2020, which included sessions devoted to MARC and non-MARC metadata and BIBFRAME, for publication in the Music Cataloging Bulletin.

New activities undertaken this year

Rahni Kennedy and Felicia Piscitelli have replaced former ESS member Thom Pease as ESS representatives to the Music Discovery Requirements ongoing revision recommendations project.

Future Goals

  1. Continue to monitor and participate in MARC development—particularly in light of implementation of 2020 RDA–and communicate any needs for best practices or other documentation to help music catalogers implement changes to MARC (Goal area: Value of the Profession)
    • Specific goal: Based on feedback from the MARC Advisory Committee (MAC), convert Discussion Paper No. 2020-DP12 to a Proposal to be presented at the next set of MAC meetings in January 2021.
  2. Continue the work of the Metadata for Music Resources Task Group on the updating and redesign of the Metadata for Music Resources site (Goal areas: Value of the Profession, Technology)
    • Now that the UsabiliTest license has been approved, resume work on designing a card sort usability test, a task which had previously been on hold pending the completion of the new CMC website. Once the design for the test is finalized, it will be implemented in UsabiliTest and other tools as needed, and distributed to the community through email lists. After the test being open for a couple of months, the results will be analyzed and compiled into a report to be presented at the MLA 2021 business meeting. After that, a plan will be made to determine what changes should be made to the organizational structure of the MMR.
  3. Continue and conclude the work of the MARC Cataloging Inefficiency Task Group (Goal area: Value of the Profession)
    • Create and distribute a survey per the discussion at the ESS Business Meeting at MLA Annual in February 2020.
    • Based on the results of the survey and current conditions, present the TG’s final recommendations at MLA Annual 2021, after which the TG will disband.
  4. Pending future LDWG activity, involve ESS in operationalizing elements of the Performed Music Ontology within BIBFRAME (Goal area: Value of the Profession)

Please note that all of these goals contribute to MLA’s mission to ensure and enhance intellectual access to music for all by contributing to the development and revision of national and international codes, formats, and other standards for the bibliographic control of music.