AACR3, The CODE, antelopes and documents


Table of Contents

Barbara Tillett gave an interesting presentation [ppt] at the FRBR Workshop just finished here about FRBR and AACR3. Or should I say RDA (Resource Description and Access) which is apparently the working title for the new code. She did say that they were still open to suggestion for a new title. So here is my suggestion:


This stands for

Cataloguing of Documentary Entities

Perhaps document needs some justification? In Michael Buckland’s illuminating What is a “document”? he refers to the work of Briet:

There is discussion of an antelope. An antelope running wild on the plains of Africa should not be considered a document, she rules. But if it were to be captured, taken to a zoo and made an object of study, it has been made into a document. It has become physical evidence being used by those who study it. Not only that, but scholarly articles written about the antelope are secondary documents, since the antelope itself is the primary document. [What is a document? JASIS 1997]

Document is a resonant word, as is, in a related way record. Which brings me back to a quote from The Librarian, the recent satirical novel, which I used in an earlier post about the role of libraries:

‘So why have I written this? I can’t show it if it’s going to contradict or undermine my case.

There are a number of reasons. First and foremost, I am a librarian. I live for records and documents.’

(Coda: some parts of this post are more serious than others 😉


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