Volume 54, no. 5/6, 2016



The Present and Future State of
Rare Materials Cataloging:
An International Perspective

Isabel García-Monge & Daryl Green

Guest Editors


Original Articles

ISBD and DCRM into RDA: An Opportunity for Convergence?
Todd Fell & Francis Lapka

ABSTRACT: Rare materials catalogers have always been engaged in the development of rules for descriptive cataloging. In addition to the contributions made toward rules for mainstream cataloging, the rare materials community has developed a series of manuals called Descriptive Cataloging of Rare Materials. The fundamental principles underlying these manuals are shared with the international community and its efforts to create a common rare materials cataloging code. With the adoption of Resource Description and Access as an international standard for descriptive cataloging, the time has to come to reevaluate the potential to work toward developing common rare materials cataloging rules.

KEYWORDS: Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules, Second Edition (AACR2), cataloging standards, Descriptive Cataloging of Rare Materials (DCRM), International Standard Bibliographic Description (ISBD), Resource Description and Access (RDA), rare books, special collections

How Can We Achieve GLAM? Understanding and Overcoming the Challenges to Integrating Metadata across Museums, Archives, and Libraries: Part 2
David Farneth

ABSTRACT: This IFLA Rare Books and Special Collections Section presentation and discussion grew out of a panel discussion of the same title held at CIDOC's annual meeting in September, 2015. Ideas drawn from the panel discussion were presented to IFLA participants for further commentary. The author prefaces the open discussion with brief contextual information about how the library, archives, and museums sectors are addressing the challenge of metadata integration. Megan Phillips, U.S. National Archives and Records Administration, leads an open discussion, an edited transcript of which forms the main part of this article.

KEYWORDS: Bibliographic data, interoperability, interviews, cataloging standards, controlled vocabularies, cooperative cataloging, metadata, training

RDA and Rare Materials at the National Library of Spain
Adelaida Caro Martín & Roberto Gómez Prada

The National Library of Spain has been working on Resource Description and Access (RDA) since 2008. Although the institution has not decided yet whether the new standard will be adopted or not, a thorough study and comparison with the current cataloging practice is being done. In 2014 a new working group focused on RDA was created within the institution, with representatives from all special materials, including rare books and manuscripts. Although a final conclusion has not been reached yet, the general perception is that RDA is not sufficiently developed for the particularities of rare books and manuscripts.

KEYWORDS: Manuscripts, National Library of Spain, rare books, rare materials, RDA

The Rare Books Catalog and the Scholarly Database
Anne Welsh

ABSTRACT: The article is a researcher's eye view of the value of the library catalog not only as a database to be searched for surrogates of objects of study, but as a corpus of text that can be analyzed in its own right, or incorporated within the researcher's own research database. Barriers are identified in the ways in which catalog data can be output and the technical skills researchers currently need to download, ingest, and manipulate data. Research tools and datasets created by, or in collaboration with, the library community are identified.

KEYWORDS: Library catalogs, OPACs, catalog indexing, catalog display, catalog design, information retrieval, bibliographic data, interoperability

RDA as a New Starting Point for International Cooperation: Retrospective National Bibliographies and Medieval Manuscripts
Claudia Fabian

ABSTRACT: The introduction of RDA is an opportunity to reconsider those cultural heritage materials, their special needs, and their contribution to RDA, which so far have been outside or at the margin of the general catalog and the application of internationally agreed rules. This article discusses these issues and gives two examples of the value of this approach— in the area of retrospective national bibliographies and medieval codex manuscripts. In both cases the availability of a standard identifier plays a central role.

KEYWORDS: Descriptive cataloging, Resource Description and Access (RDA), manuscripts, rare books, cooperative cataloging

Development and Challenges in Old Manuscripts Cataloging: The Experience of the National Library of Portugal
Ana Cristina Santana Silva, Teresa Duarte Ferreira & Lígia de Azevedo Martins

ABSTRACT: This is an account of the experience of the National Library of Portugal (NLP) in the adaptation of cataloging rules and the development of the local practice in old manuscript cataloging. The evolution of the work upon which current policies and practice are based is presented. Also, the process and results of adapting UNIMARC (UNIversal MARC) to manuscripts is explained, showing how the whole practice of automated cataloging of manuscripts at the NLP has been an innovative and pioneering experience.

KEYWORDS: Descriptive cataloging, cataloging evaluation, cataloging quality analysis, Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules (AACR2), International Standard Bibliographic Description (ISBD), national libraries, special collections, National Library of Portugal

Possibilities for Standardized Cataloging of Prints: The Collection of Engravings at the Hamburg State and University Library
Antje Theise

ABSTRACT: German museums keep over 5,000,000 graphic prints in their graphic collections from the late Middle Ages to the present.1 Due to the poor availability of data it is hard to ascertain how many additional sheets "slumber" in libraries and archives. Libraries often keep conglomerations of graphic sheets, which have grown over the centuries by bequests and donations, without being accessible in a systematic way for the users of a collection. Such a collection is the small but excellent collection of engravings at the Hamburg State and University Library. This article will propose how Resource Description and Access (RDA) can be adapted in such a way that our special graphic material can be made accessible and be used and how a standardized set of elements can be developed.2

KEYWORDS: Cataloging, Resource Description and Access (RDA), images, rare books, special collections


1 This figure comes from a survey of 2006: "Graphische Sammlungen," www.graphischesammlungen.de/index.php?view=detail&id=23 (accessed February 4, 2016).

2 See the Powerpoint slides to the paper presented at the Conference: "A Common International Standard for Rare Materials? Why? And How?," Biblioteca Nacional de Portugal, Lisbon, February 22, 2016, sponsored by the IFLA Rare Books and Special Collections Section and the Biblioteca Nacional de Portugal, http://www.ifla.org/files/assets/rare-books-and-manuscripts/Lisbon-2016-presentations/antje_theise_presentation.pdf (accessed April 2, 2016). Here my thanks go to Marlene Grau for her assistance in the translation, and Daryl Green for proofreading.

Transcription in Rare Books Cataloging
Peter Sjökvist

ABSTRACT: The implementation of RDA poses questions regarding its application on early printed material, e.g., concerning transcription of title information. Cataloging rules used today for early printed books often include a normalization that is misleading, both for libraries and for users. In this article, ideas concerning transcription according to RDA are discussed. These ideas focus on the double purposes of identifying and retrieving an item. For the first purpose, I suggest a transcription of the title, which closely follows the original ("take what you see"), and for the second, a completely normalized variant title.

KEYWORDS: Descriptive cataloging, Resource Description and Access (RDA), rare books, information retrieval, edition identification

Typefaces, Fonts, and Types: Toward a Classification of Fifteenth-Century Gothic "Types"
Benito Rial Costas

ABSTRACT: For more than a century, librarians and bibliographers have supposedly identified and cataloged gothic types using the Proctor-Haebler system and many incunabula collections have been described using it. It is now widely accepted that the Proctor-Haebler system's nomenclature and techniques are uniform and consistent for cataloging rare books and that it is informative about types. This article explains that although the Proctor-Haebler system may help us to identify a printer or a printing office, it confounds different typographic concepts (typeface, font, and type), uses contradictory methods, is based on weak or arguable assumptions, and does not inform us about "types."

KEYWORDS: Proctor, Haebler, typography, incunabula, bibliography, typographic analysis


Jenn Riley

The cultural heritage community in transition

The cultural heritage community is currently in a period of sustained self-reflection in response to fundamental changes to how information is represented, stored, and shared. These changes have occurred along with the emergence of the web as part of daily life in a large proportion of our planet. This reflection is especially true of the subset of the cultural heritage sector responsible for description of and access to the valuable and often either unique or rare material under the careful stewardship of our institutions. The February 2016 Lisbon conference, A Common International Standard for Rare Materials Cataloguing? Why? And How? from which the articles in this issue arise, is an important part of the ongoing work of our community in planning our future.

Digital representations of and metadata about unique or rare materials are some of the most valuable contributions libraries, archives, and museums can make to the open web. These materials, held only or primarily in our cultural heritage institutions, can significantly enhance public understanding of history, culture, science, technology, and virtually any other aspect of human life. One way in which these materials are truly special is that their materiality and physical history supplements their information content. Our community's continual work to improve the mechanisms by which these materials are discoverable and accessible to users throughout the world is a vital part of the core missions of our institutions and reinforces our value to society. However, the path forward for achieving these aims with current technologies is not always clear. The cultural heritage community often struggles to define the degree to which we should stay grounded in our past practices and principles and the ways in which we should break with tradition to adopt technology and methods from other information communities.

The presentations given at the Lisbon conference demonstrate some striking similarities in the institutional approach to these challenges. With these similarities, we start to see the frameworks upon which future plans might be built. Many articles in this issue, including those by Fell and Lapka, Farneth, Welsh, and Fabian with a focus on new audiences for unique and rare materials, take as a fundamental tenet a commitment to user-centeredness in descriptive practices. In some, we also see the welcome beginnings of strong evidence-based practices to learn about and respond to user needs. In articles such as those by Farneth and Theise, as well as in community initiatives such as the Libraries, Archives, and Museums Conference Exchange,1 there is a strong trend toward deep collaboration between libraries, archives, and museums to harmonize descriptive practices and reduce our total collective effort expended to make materials available. The need for multilingualism in metadata practices in an increasingly globalized world is similarly mentioned by several contributors. Hands-on, practical tools also seem to be helping institutions think through the issues in front of them and move forward, for example, the use of RIMMF described in the article by Caro Martín and Gómez Prada.

Community considerations

The strongest common trend in the articles in this issue is the examination of Resource Description and Access (RDA) as the anchor for future descriptive practices for special collections. We see several studies of extending RDA for the perceived special needs of unique or rare materials. This philosophy of description is not totally new, but it is worthy of explicit statement (and I would hope agreement) that the rare materials cataloging community should not strike out solely on its own, but rather use whenever possible practices that come from other communities. The benefits of this approach are multiple, including simplifying procedures for our institutions, providing consistency for our users, and allowing efforts that would have been spent on specialized practices that yield less demonstrated value to be redirected into higher-value activities. With this in mind, one can imagine a much smaller number of specialized cataloging rules for the rare materials community, which are derived directly from clear and documented needs founded on solid user-based evidence.

Similarly, we see in these articles an aggregate of efforts to harmonize national standards with RDA, including those from Caro Martín and Gómez Prada, Silva and associates, and Sjökvist. These articles describe tensions found between international agreement and local traditions. The discussions here only skim the surface of a difficult and much needed conversation about the value to users of local traditions in an increasingly globalized environment, and what investment is required to produce this value.

Embedded within the discussions at the Lisbon conference is the long-held value in rare materials cataloging that consistency reigns. Nonetheless, there are rumblings among some descriptive communities that consistency at all costs, or for its own sake, does not always have the impact on actual users that we would hope. We can see this point of view represented in this issue, for example, in certain remarks in Fabian's article. Certainly in many cases, consistency of terminology or in transcription serves users well. However, to move forward, our community must study this issue in significantly more depth and make evidence-based decisions about when consistency does truly provide the functionality that users need and when it only serves a more decorative purpose. Indeed, giving up this requirement for absolute consistency would likely help international adoption of rare materials cataloging standards, as the focus of those standards would be on the highest-value descriptive practices, while still giving local communities the degree of freedom longed for in many of the articles seen here.

Looking forward

Despite the many common themes that appear in the articles in this issue, we also see some divergent opinions. Nowhere is this more obvious than in Farneth's report of a conversation at the conference about how the harmonizing of rare book cataloging practices fits within collaborative efforts emerging between libraries, archives, and museums. The discussion reported in Farneth's article reveals some deep divides in the community, for example, regarding the role of expert-provided versus community-provided metadata and what level of description is appropriate or necessary. I see in discussions like these the very beginnings of truly creative thinking about descriptive issues in libraries, with ideas generated that do not look much like past processes. These are difficult conversations to have, and only through a great deal of further discussion along with hands-on experimentation will we start to see how some of these creative ideas might potentially play out in reality.

It is clear from these articles that the community has not yet agreed upon much related to the conference theme, beyond an uneasy coalescence around harmonizing with RDA. When the current discussion is largely about retaining existing models of local standards to supplement common standards, one can see the vast work it will take to do more fundamental types of reimagining. The cultural heritage sector faces a sea-change brought on by technologies such as Linked Data, and we must reflect deeply on what we bring with us from the past that represents fundamental core values of our profession and what functions mainly as means toward deeper but often unstated ends.

The issue of control is one where we are likely to see this type of reflection. One of the fundamental tenets of the Linked Data environment is that metadata can and should come from many sources and then be brought together; no one organization or community can control what is said about a resource and how it is said. This challenge is significant for the cultural heritage sector to accept, as we have long had cataloging environments that are fundamentally based on exercising control over resource description. A move away from a default assumption of control in favor of designing systems that can elegantly handle different descriptive practices both recognizes the reality of practices in a Linked Data world from which the integration of the cultural heritage sector would benefit, and offers local institutions more freedom to adopt practices that make sense to them.

Access points and authority files are one area in which this change might play out. Currently, our community asks everyone to agree that access points should always be constructed a certain way. Our community builds authority files that document forms that are authorized versus unauthorized (agreement upon which is a painful point as seen in some of the articles in this issue) and are sometimes used to direct a user from an unauthorized form to an authorized form. A more flexible way to deal with this could be to maintain something similar to current authority files but which are solely for the function of linking different forms of names or labels for the same things together, rather than stating that one form is preferred over the others. In this scenario, any institution could choose any possible form to display to its users based on local needs. Metadata from other sources could be more easily integrated as there is no expectation that the metadata uses the same agreed-upon labels. Furthermore, systems could easily map user search terminology to whatever forms of labels are used by the system's metadata. However, our path toward agreeing upon and achieving this vision is long. The first step will be to gain comfort with the idea of giving up some level of control that we previously enjoyed.

Reflecting on such possibilities raises even deeper questions, such as what it even means to standardize resource description practices in a Linked Data world. The articles in this issue are just the beginning of that investigation. If one is feeling particularly revolutionary, one might propose that standardization could be something different from the picture of new versions of the Descriptive Cataloging of Rare Materials series and national practices based on RDA that was painted at the Lisbon conference. Apparently, we are at a crossroads where the cultural heritage community must wrestle with some of these big questions while still finding a way to move forward.

And move forward we must. We see in this issue many examples of careful and deliberate study. Care and good decisions are essential. Yet we would be advised to guard against a tendency to develop large scale solutions that are years in the planning, which bring with them their own slow and bureaucratic revision processes. Given the magnitude of change we are facing, we are not going to get everything right the first time, or the time after that, or even the time after that. Our community will be better off acting in a more agile way, with experimental, small scale, and iterative approaches to new descriptive practices interspersed with advances in system design and targeted user studies. We need room to try things, challenge our own assumptions, and see the results of a wide variety of ideas in practice.

We can be inspired by the Linked Data community itself for the adoption of iteration and successful progress as part of a core approach to moving forward. The canonical Linked Data-Design Issues statement by Tim Berners-Lee in 20062 laid out four principles for making data more useful (and "linked") on the web. In 2010, this design issues document was enhanced with a star rating system to encourage organizations to work toward making their data progressively both more open and more useful. Explicit one-star recognition is given to efforts to make data available on the web open initially, even if the full five-star benefits of linking are not capitalized upon immediately.

It comes down to this: everything does not have to be perfect now. We can work, over time, at transforming information once recorded only in notes into machine-readable form. We can quickly introduce data from sources outside our control and enhance and verify them as time goes on. We can start recording new types of data that have a strong likelihood of adding significant value to our users even if all resources do not get this enhanced treatment right away. Here again, these advances will only be possible if we become comfortable with models that provide us with less consistency and direct control over descriptive practices than those to which we are accustomed.

In this context of reexamination, reflection, and reimagining, I would like to bring to this conversation two fundamental shifts in thinking about resource description in the cultural heritage sector that, I believe, will help us to more closely align our efforts with concrete benefits to the wider information community. The first is that we should adjust our goal away from updating our technology and practices to use newer versions of standards operating on essentially the same frameworks and assumptions as before, and toward exposing the data that our cultural heritage community creates in a web friendly way for use by others. Our decisions about specific issues could potentially be very different under a vision to push our data out for use in multiple contexts, in many different systems, and by new user groups. The second is that we should fully embrace the uncomfortable fact that we cannot, and will not, completely catalog everything. We must not set up structures that assume we will even strive to catalog everything fully, even with significantly more resources than we have now, or have ever had. Freed from a self-imposed mandate that a description must be complete and that only we can create it, we can then adjust our efforts to focus first on the highest-value types of information and, at least, get some basic information out to the world about a larger percentage of the resources under our stewardship. We must then trust that we or other communities will supplement this initial description over time. Indeed, the promise of a Linked Data environment is an overall reduction of duplication of efforts worldwide. To be truly a part of this environment, we must trust and even welcome the contributions of others. Therefore, one part of an answer to "A common international standard for rare materials cataloguing? Why? And how?" should be to agree upon how our community shares information with the broader world. Furthermore, we need to define together which aspects of that information are most needed and which aspects our community uniquely is best poised to provide.


1 OCLC, "Participants Selected for Libraries, Archives, and Museums Conference Exchange" (March 23, 2016), https://www.oclc.org/news/releases/2016/201605dublin.en.html.

2 Tim Berners-Lee, "Linked Data," https://www.w3.org/DesignIssues/LinkedData.html, accessed July 5, 2016.

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Isabel García-Monge
Catálogo Colectivo del Patrimonio Bibliográfico Español, Madrid, Spain

Daryl Green
University of St Andrews Library, St Andrews, Scotland

The Rare Books and Special Collections Section (RBSCS) of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) has provided a long standing forum for discussion and exchange of information on matters of particular concern to rare books, manuscript, and special collections librarians, including the collection, preservation, description, and use of such materials in all types of libraries worldwide. In recent years, the RBSCS has produced international guidelines for exhibitions and loans in the cultural heritage sector, and, more recently, guidelines for planning the digitization of rare book and manuscript collections.1

The development of new descriptive standards for books, archives, and object-based collections has also been discussed regularly in the Section. The long underswell of the development and implementation of new standards for descriptive cataloging, especially Resource Description and Access (RDA), to rare materials collections has become a topic of lively discussion in the rare book and special collections sector and has had the attention of the IFLA RBSCS since the inception of RDA.

As the popular adoption of RDA has increased in Anglo-American library communities (post-RDA testing in 2011 and Library of Congress adoption in 2013), rare books catalogers have been forced to consider the need for adapting or merging the Descriptive Cataloging of Rare Materials (DCRM)2 with this new standard. The various incarnations of what is now the Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) DCRM-RDA Task Force, described in Todd Fell and Francis Lapka's article, "ISBD and DCRM into RDA: An Opportunity for Convergence?," has driven forward the adaptation of RDA for the DCRM communities. The authors hope to publish a new set of guidelines that will augment RDA. This major development of a new set of cataloging guidelines for the library world has also provided an opportunity for creators of metadata in other sectors to consider closer harmony among the descriptive rules used across curatorial platforms, including archives, graphic and cartographic collections, and three dimensional objects.

The DCRM-RDA Task Force's ongoing work, and the potential for its adaptation outside of the Anglo-American rare materials network, was highlighted for the European community during a one-day conference held in Edinburgh on November 6, 2015. The conference was sponsored by the ACRL Rare Books and Manuscripts Section (RBMS), the European RDA Interest Group (EURIG), the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) Rare Books and Special Collections Group (RBSCG), the Consortium for European Research Libraries, the CILIP Cataloguing & Indexing Group (CIG), the IFLA RBSCS, and the RDA Joint Steering Committee. It offered the European community its first real glimpse of rare, nontraditional book collections being processed using RDA as a descriptive framework. The majority of the papers given at the November conference are available in the June 2016 issue of Catalogue and Index.3 Two presentations, one on cataloging a collection of bookbindings using RDA at the Koninklijke Bibliotheek (Netherlands)4 and another on adapting RDA for graphic materials and object collections (including a collection of typewriters) from the Swiss National Library and the Deutsche Nationalbibliothek5 created conversation among the attendees and opened the door for a discussion about the application of RDA to nonprinted-book rare materials. Several of the members of the IFLA RBSCS Standing Committee were in attendance at the Edinburgh conference and recognized the need to continue the conversation about the potential of a common international standard for rare materials cataloging, regardless of format, to the rest of the Standing Committee. The IFLA RBSCS, in turn, recognized the need to create a platform for further discussion of international descriptive standards for rare materials, which arose out of the Edinburgh conference, and so dedicated its midterm conference slot to the topic.

On February 22, 2016, the IFLA RBSCS held a one-day conference—A Common International Standard for Rare Materials Cataloguing? Why? And How?—in Lisbon at the Biblioteca Nacional de Portugal. The articles in this issue are based on presentations given at that conference. The aim was to provide another forum for discussion about the pros and cons of DCRM-RDA, especially for non-Anglo-American cataloging agencies; more important, this conference hoped to explore the possibilities of the convergence of descriptive standards for rare materials, which have long been siloed by format. Current national and local cataloging codes have proved to be incomplete or hard to adapt to the requirements of the description of special collections. This drawback has led librarians and archivists to build on dispersed practices that frequently resulted in the creation of material-oriented databases.

Through case studies such as Santos and Estacio's "Private Libraries as Special Collections in Academic and Research Libraries: Description Challenges and Users' Needs: A Case Study," from the School of Arts and Humanities Library (University of Lisbon),6 and Silva and colleagues' "Development and Challenges in Old Manuscripts Cataloging: The Experience of the National Library of Portugal," speakers at the Lisbon conference discussed how different projects have responded to the need to adapt and develop descriptions and integrate them into general catalogs with special focus on copy-specific information, one of the most considered aspects in this conference.

The need for accurate description and, at the same time, for adequate access, not only for scholars but also within the objective of a wider dissemination, led speakers in the direction of RDA. As reflected in its name, RDA is description and access. From this point of view, the application of this new descriptive code presents problems and possibilities for big institutions and collections. These concerns were highlighted by presentations from the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, which was represented by Claudia Fabian and her article "RDA as a New Starting Point for International Cooperation: Retrospective National Bibliographies and Medieval Manuscripts," and the National Library of Spain's Adelaida Caro Martín and Roberto Gómez Prada's "RDA and Rare Materials at the National Library of Spain." Questions arose about how these new approaches interact with existing descriptions and projects, the new roles that they offer for previously created content, and the potential for the creation of relationships and contexts (another of the main themes during this conference). The issue of the relationship and convergence among different cataloging codes, including a practical approach to implementation and cost, was the subject of Todd Fell and Francis Lapka's article.

Lasting problems, and maybe some solutions, have to be shifted from current cataloging and processing rules to the environment of RDA. Elements of description as fundamental as transcription, essential for the representation versus recovery of manuscripts and early printed books, as discussed in Peter Sjökvist's article, "Transcription in Rare Books Cataloging," or the granular level of describing typefaces and founts from the fifteenth century, as discussed in Benito Rial Costas's "Typefaces, Fonts, and Types: Toward a Classification of Fifteenth-Century Gothic 'Types,'" and, more generally, the knowledge these tasks demand from librarians, are recurrent topics throughout this issue.

The description and metadata created about special collections will have to be adapted to the dual nature of some bibliographical objects that are at the same time unique cultural objects, books, and artifacts. The characteristics of these items point to a new perspective that tends to equate description practices in libraries, archives, and museums, align theoretical models, and produce interchanges of their information. David Farneth's moderated discussion on this topic prompted an hour-long dialogue among attendees, and is recorded in "How Can We Achieve GLAM? Understanding and Overcoming the Challenges to Integrating Metadata across Museums, Archives, and Libraries: Part 2." As with manuscripts, graphic prints preserved in different formats (scattered in folders, forming series, or in books) and in different heritage institutions, are here represented by Antje Theise's "Possibilities of Standardized Cataloging of Prints: The Collection of Engravings at the Hamburg State and University Library." The information itself, which is created under these current or future standards, became a subject of study and conversation as data creators were urged to consider how data might best be used and reused (from casual comparison to in-depth data mining), to create data for the end-user, as described in Anne Welsh's article, "The Rare Books Catalog and the Scholarly Database."

Topics that reappeared throughout the conference and the discussion that followed ranged from how to adapt cataloging codes to very specific problems while maintaining reliable content, coherence and authenticity in the catalog, and staying within the framework of wider standards and information systems. In some aspects, book description standards are still clearly insufficient even for early printed books, as the conflicting approaches to transcription in Sjökvist's article prove. International approaches to copy-specific information found in books, manuscripts, or objects have not sufficiently developed, and local decisions have had to be made in order to represent provenance, binding, physical condition, or handwritten annotations.

On the other hand, the use of new descriptive standards, especially RDA, may allow for the integration of different materials into the same database and also provide ways to address a range of objectives that did not have a proper solution in previous systems. These objectives include creating contexts for the manuscripts and codifying the relations between them and printed books or objects. These items and these new approaches also present the challenge of integrating metadata beyond libraries based on conceptual models that are intended to align with other conceptual models and mapping information to other heritage and cultural resources. Experts and institutions at this conference felt the need to provide effective access and information retrieval for new and wider public audiences and, through the use of conceptual models and standards, to integrate data from the collections in our care into the semantic universe.


The articles in this issue would not have had context without the conference in Lisbon, which was hosted at the Biblioteca Nacional de Portugal. Thanks are due both to the organizing team led by Inês Cordeiro, director-general of the National Library of Portugal, and to the IFLA RBSCS Standing Committee, chaired by Helen Vincent (National Library of Scotland), for endorsing this conference. Thanks are also due to the editorial board of Cataloging & Classification Quarterly for choosing the articles developed from these conference presentations for this special issue and to Jenn Riley for her thought-provoking reflections on these articles in her afterword.


1 IFLA Rare Books and Special Collections Section. Guidelines for Planning the Digitization of Rare Book and Manuscript Collections (Den Haag: IFLA, 2014). Available in eight languages, http://www.ifla.org/publications/node/8968?og=59 (accessed June 30, 2016).

2 A full list of the DCRM manuals, including books, cartographies, serials, etc. can be found at http://rbms.info/dcrm/ (accessed June 30, 2016).

3 Catalogue and Index: Periodical of the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) Cataloguing and Indexing Group 183 (June 2016), http://www.cilip.org.uk/sites/default/files/documents/catalogue_and_index_issue_183_june_2016.pdf (accessed June 30, 2016).

4 Marja Smolenaars, "Book Bindings and Paper Sheets Fit for RDA: Current Practice in the Netherlands" (paper presented at the seminar RDA & Rare Materials, Edinburgh, Scotland, November 6, 2015). Paper available ibid; slides available: http://www.slideshare.net/CIGScotland/book-bindings-and-paper-sheets-fit-for-rda-current-practice-in-the-netherlands-marja-smolenaars (accessed June 30, 2016).

5Christian Aliverti and Renate Behrens, "Alignment between Special Material and RDA in German Speaking Countries" (paper presented at the seminar RDA & Rare Materials, Edinburgh, Scotland, November 6, 2015). Paper available ibid; slides available: http://www.slideshare.net/CIGScotland/alignment-between-special-material-and-rda-in-german-speaking-countries-christian-aliverti-swiss-national-library-and-renate-behrens-deutsche-nationalbibliothek (accessed June 30, 2016).

6This article does not appear in this issue; however, the slides of the presentation are available. See Fernanda Santos and Pedro Estácia, "Private Libraries as Special Collections in Academic and Research Libraries: Description Challenges and Users' Needs: A Case Study," (presented at the conference A Common International Standard for Rare Materials? Why? And How? Lisbon, Portugal, February 22, 2016), http://www.ifla.org/files/assets/rare-books-and-manuscripts/Lisbon-2016-presentations/santos_estacio_private_libraries_as_special_collections_fs_pe_v2.pdf (accessed 30 June 2016).

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