Vocabularies Subcommittee: MLA Report 2021

Music Library Association Cataloging and Metadata Committee: Vocabularies Subcommittee (VS) Business Meeting 2021 Summary

Thursday, March 18, 2021, 3:00-4:25 pm Eastern, via Zoom

Members present
Rebecca Belford (Chair), Anne Adams, Ann Churukian, Patty Falk, Joshua Henry, Mary Huismann, Marty Jenkins, Leonard Martin, Allison McClanahan, Jennifer Olson, Kyle Shockey, Tracey Snyder, Mark Scharff (NACO-Music Project Coordinator), Beth Iseminger (SACO Music Funnel Coordinator), Maarja Vigorito (LC Representative), Jay Weitz (OCLC Representative)

Chair’s report (Belford)

ALA Liaison

The VS Chair serves as MLA’s liaison to ALA Core Subject Analysis Committee. Reports from the SAC and SAC Subcommittee of Faceted Vocabularies meetings at ALA Annual 2020, a draft report from part 1 of the SAC 2021 midwinter meeting, and a summary of the SAC Subcommittee on Faceted Vocabularies (SSFV) meeting were distributed in advance. Belford was unable to attend the SSFV meeting and thanked SSFV Chair Casey Mullin for use of the chair’s report for the summary. Part 2 of the SAC meeting will be held March 19, 2021.


  • Welcome to new members completing their first year: Ann Churukian, Patty Falk, Mary Huismann, Tracey Snyder. Thank you to departing members: Josh Henry, Marty Jenkins, Treshani Perera, Kyle Shockey.
  • Applications for subcommittee membership due at the end of the day (March 18, 2021).

Library of Congress liaison’s report (M. Vigorito)

  • Has worked well getting proposals prepared with subcommittee and B. Iseminger over the past year.
  • LC has had to suspend paper proposals this past year, so a lot of work has been on ECIP.
  • Monthly list review has generated good conversation and feedback, and it is helpful having additional review.

Types of Composition List Task Group (J. Henry)

Task Group Coordinator’s report distributed in advance. Highlights:

    • Members: Joshua Henry (TG coordinator), Ann Churukian, Patty Falk
    • Vetted new or modified terms: Kołysanka/Kołysanki; Pesen/Pesni; Pjesma/Pjesme
    • Terms under discussion: Balada/Baladi; Capriccioso/Capricciosi; Elegy/Elegeia; Pastorello/Pastorela; Sang/Sange
  • The Types of Composition for use in Authorized Access Points for Music manual and list are available on the CMC website, to be used with RDA for determining if a title is distinctive or not. CMC website includes a link to the suggestion form.
  • In addition to regular work on individual terms, this past year the group has been working to add plural terms to the list.
  • J. Henry thanked A. Churukian, P. Falk, L. Martin, M. Huismann, R. Belford, and (non-CMC) volunteer Sarah Ward, who assisted with the Russian terms.
  • Current project, plural terms: Russian, Hungarian, Czech, Polish remain. Decision on declensions need; plan for now is to list in nominative. Need to add section in the manual portion specifying which plurals are included and why. Once the list is finalized, will need to determine display; terms currently combined in one entry may need to appear twice if the plurals vary by language. Comments/suggestions?
    • M. Scharff: Good to include a general statement, or pop up near terms. J. Henry: WordPress may not handle pop-ups well, but information can be included in the manual
    • Q: Are most terms on the list in nominative? A: Non-Slavic terms on the list are nominative. Terms do appear in genitive on title pages.
    • J. Henry: Literary warrant may be useful deciding how far to go including other cases. : group needs to decide how far to go–literary warrant may be useful
    • C. Mullin: When considering cases, note that declension may not necessarily be at the end of a word depending on language
    • Jean Harden: Suggests a SEE reference to the nominative from the genitive.
    • Q: From a technical perspective, can we include Cyrillic in list? A: Yes. This would be helpful for identification even though access points require transliterated form.
    • Q (M. Scharff): What about 19th-century orthography for Russian terms? A: Not part of the original scope but could be a later phase.
  • R. Belford thanked task group members, and J. Henry for offering to be available to advise group on plurals after rotating off VS.

Thematic Indexes List (MLATI) Task Group (Shockey)

Task Group Coordinator’s report distributed in advance.

  • Reminder: MLA Thematic Indexes list, used with MARC 383$d and access points.
  • This year, LC (and group members) unable to access thematic catalogs held in physical collections. Approved indexes included in written report were discussed prior to MLA 2020. Received two requests in 2021; have not been able to them address yet
  • K. Shockey thanked A. Churukian for taking over as task group coordinator in 2021-2022.
  • Final tasks before rotating off:
    • Check which approved terms need to be sent for inclusion in the Music Cataloging Bulletin
    • Clarify LC’s criteria for approving an index. Usually: does LC have the index, how many libraries own the index, is the index cited in standard reference works, and what is already in use in the authority file.
  • Q: Does LC want all requests sent over, or only those where cataloger needs it for AAPs (Authorized Access Points)? A: Per D. Iseminger, LC wants to see indexes requested for AAP use; does not need to review VAP (Variant Access Point)-only; codes can still be used in 383.
  • K. Shockey thanked task group members L. Martin and Treshani Perera
  • R. Belford thanked K. Shockey

LC Vocabularies Maintenance Task Group (A. Adams)

Task Group Coordinator’s report distributed in advance.
TG members: A. Churukian, M. Jenkins, A. McClanahan, J. Olson

  • Increased number of proposals this year: 1) suggestion box (received three new proposals that way this year) 2) review of monthly lists and accompanying decision to draft LCMPT/LCGFT proposals that correspond to LCSH tentative list terms has led to a sizable increase in term proposals
  • New terms proposed: rapper; encephalophone; qarmon; gambus; Song parodies; Trance music; Tarana music
  • Revisions proposed: visuals (scope revisions); mixed media (scope revision); Symphonies concertante (ref under Concertos); Trance (electronic dance music) (term change); Barong (Music)
  • Project: gendered medium of performance terms. Goal to separate vocal range from gender. Sometimes gender term is appropriate (boy soprano, countertenor), but wanted to otherwise be able to disassociate gender from vocal range to reflect historical and musical realities. The group decided not to address LCSH (just MPT) and to leave application decisions to the Best Practices. The April 2021 tentative list includes the proposed terms: 4 new (transgender chorus, transgender voice, treble chorus, tenor bass chorus) and 16 revisions. (Note, May 11 2021: terms were approved.)
  • A. Adams thanked the task group members for their work during a very busy year.
  • Q: Does Song parodies cover Contrafacta in general? A: Yes, there is a See Also to Contrafacta
  • Q: ETA for Song parodies? A (B. Iseminger): should be on the May list
  • FYI (B. Iseminger): Terms on tentative lists are available in cataloging, pending approval.
  • Q: Any discussion of putting voice range in MPT records? A (A. Adams): This project was limited to gender. Ranges are challenging, as they differ depending on source and may also vary depending on voice type. R. Belford noted many supplementary resources are available, though even those don’t agree with each other.

SACO Music Funnel (B. Iseminger)

SACO Music Funnel Coordinator’s report distributed in advance. Highlights:

  • 9 approved terms through Funnel: 1 genre, 5 medium, 3 revised
  • 13 new terms, 24 revised in proposal process [full list in report]
  • LC PTCP put all the voice terms on April list; hoping all the remainder will appear on May list
  • FYI: April list includes a genre term with a 2017 LCCN (State songs); terms can get delayed.

Task Group on Deriving Faceted Terms from LCSH/Music Toolkit (Jenkins)

Coordinator’s report (Jenkins)

  • As with many of the other groups, work delayed this year. Work on the OCLC Music Toolkit specifically was on hold while Gary Strawn (programmer) was unable to access the machine with the software on it.
  • OCLC toolkit: confirmed 348 working as intended (separate fields) after multiple iterations; fixed percussion ensemble and as a result noticed there are multiple ensemble terms not in LCMPT (to be addressed in new business)
  • Discussion:
    • Casey Mullin noted that the newest version of the Music Toolkit is not generating field 370 when it should and will send an error report. Q: Plans to use existing 048 fields to generate 382?
    • A (R. Belford): Spreadsheet lacks a tab for 048; seems like an easy project if it would be useful.
    • C. Mullin: Considerations for how we can or test use mappings/program in other environments, or in large-scale projects?
    • R. Belford: Based on error reports still coming in, OCLC Music Toolkit is not ready to run through a database unmediated. We need to address the deferred mapping issues, e.g., are concerto reductions chamber music?
    • MarcEdit option, perhaps a cross-group project? May be helpful to draw from beyond CMC to find those with specific expertise.
    • M. Jenkins: reminder that the stated goal of the Music Toolkit is to save typing, so we need to be very clear, particularly about which mappings are 1:1 and which require human/individual review.
    • R. Belford: If we explore MarcEdit, should we settle conceptual issues before pursuing other platforms outside Connexion, for consistency?
    • C. Mullin: We could provide platform agnostic documentation, and guidance on mappings.
    • Q (Thom Pease): Could the Music Toolkit be used for BIBFRAME data in OCLC? A (R. Belford): noted, perhaps as future project.
    • Q (Jean Harden et al) about Music Toolkit use at institutions where loading OCLC Toolkit is difficult. Would Connexion 3.0 make this better? A: This is still an issue between catalogers and local systems/IT staff. Security concerns are likely the portion of the program that runs outside Connexion on local directories. J. Olson noted that a MarcEdit version would not require special permissions.
  • New Derive business (R. Belford): Request received for the Music Toolkit to run on video format. Can anyone thing of unintended consequences or needed safeguards, or can we assume that if music LCSH are present that related faceted fields are desired? No objections; overwhelming support. R. Belford will follow up on Wiki or cmc-all email list.

LCMPT/LCGFT Best Practices Task Group (Huismann)

Task Group Coordinator’s report was distributed in advance

  • Overview: The Best Practices group updates/maintains the two documents drawing on discussion or suggestions from social media, email lists, suggestion boxes, and elsewhere. Task group’s scope includes collaborating if requested by LC; has not applied in the past year.
  • This year, primarily tracking ideas.
  • Will be revising both in coming year: web-based formatting for accessibility and consistency. Content updates will definitely include issue of specific forms within suites and revised or new voice terms from gender project.
  • The best place for questions is the suggestion boxes on CMC FAQ page: “Don’t complain, submit a suggestion!”
  • R. Belford reminded attendees that all groups/projects have suggestion boxes, which provide a tracking mechanism and are checked by multiple VS members for backup.
  • R. Belford thanked M. Huismann and the group.

New business

Ensemble terms (Jenkins)

  • OCLC Music Toolkit glitch prompted a review of examine “X ensemble” LCSH terms that weren’t mapping. Authority file search for LCSH ensemble resulted in around 100 terms; some were in LCMPT, many are not. Should we undertake a project to propose the remaining LCMPT terms? Spreadsheet sent out to all VS listing terms–LCSH, matching existing LCMPT, near-match existing, likely candidate.
  • Would this be onerous to add to the Vocabularies maintenance group? Proposals seem straightforward. B. Iseminger will assist in sending new proposals through the Funnel.
  • Resolving terms that don’t map in the current Toolkit terms are primarily programming or application challenges, where LCSH/LCMPT scopes vary (e.g. wind ensemble, Vocal ensembles, unaccompanied, synthesizer ensemble)

Other Deriving Faceted Data new business

  • R. Belford noted there is no incoming coordinator for the task group. Anyone interested, please contact!
  • Q: Were any voice terms deprecated, requiring batch changes? A: No; hierarchy changed but the terms did not.

Demographic terms (general discussion, attendee suggestion)

How best to think about LCDGT for music?

  • Discussion of LCDGT and demographic terms in general: LC is not currently adding to it; LC manual is not issued yet; ALA committee is looking at related ethical issues. There are some clear 1:1 correlations where the vocabulary could be applied, as in cases where we already use creator demographic terms in LCSH for compilations. The large concept is demographic terms in bibliographic and authority records; LCDGT as its own vocabulary is closely a connected but separate issue. We could think about meta-issues of usability, ethics, etc. separately from a single defined vocabulary. One attendee noted that availability of demographic terms could improve access to non common-practice Western art music.
  • Discussion of VS/CMC/MLA role: Questions about whether to address music-related issues, or wait to comment on others’ responses, and timing. Thinking about what information we want to capture and why is not limited to vocabularies or even CMC. Strong support for including public services colleagues and MLA diversity committee in a large conversation (actual user needs, ethical considerations, cataloging, DEI). MLA’s size enables cooperation among many groups that is difficult in a group such as ALA. The MLA electronic scores working group could be a model as a MLA-wide task force.

Post-meeting note

Special thanks to Janice Bunker (MLA tech support volunteer) for providing technical support in Zoom throughout the business meeting, and to the program/web committees for ensuring the recording and chat transcript were accessible for use in compiling this report.