Encoding Standards Subcommittee Annual Report: 2018

Encoding Standards Subcommittee (ESS)
Annual Report, July 1, 2017-June 30, 2018
Submitted by James Soe Nyun

Members (Current appointments)

James Soe Nyun (Chair, appointed 2015), Anne D. Adams (2015), Margaret Corby (2016), Matt Ertz (2017), Chelsea Hoover (2018), Nancy Lorimer (2016), Thomas Pease (2015), Karen A. Peters (2015), Felicia Piscitelli (2017), Tomoko Shibuya (2018), Amy Strickland (2018), Kimmy Szeto (2016), Hermine Vermeij (2015); Damian Iseminger (LC Representative); Jay N. Weitz (OCLC Representative)

We thank Catherine Busselen, Keith Knop and Mark V. Scharff who rotated off of Encoding Standards Subcommittee in January 2018, and Christopher D. Holden who moved to the position of LC Representative to the Content Standards Subcommittee. We welcome Chelsea Hoover, Tomoko Shibuya and Amy Strickland, who joined the Encoding Standards Subcommittee in February 2018.

Report On Activities

MARC Field 384, Key, Updated

Developed a MARC Fast-Track proposal for the MARC Steering Committee that Field 384, Key, be made repeatable, along with a specification to add subfield $3, Materials Specified, in case several keys were associated with works in a compilation. Approved by the Steering Committee and published in MARC Update 25, December, 2017. This effort done in response to a request to the MARC Steering Group from the Belgian National Conservatoire. Due to contract staffing leaving the Conservatoire ESS took on the entire effort.

Inventory of MARC 3XX Fields Lacking $3, Materials Specified

Formed a working group (Anne Adams, Catherine Busselen, Matt Ertz, Chris Holden (project lead) and Chris Knop) that drafted what became Discussion Paper 2018-DP03. The effort identified several MARC fields that lacked Subfield $3, and made a case that internal linkages in MARC records would be clarified if the subfield were validated for several fields lacking the subfield. The paper was advanced to a formal proposal on the spot at the February, 2018 MAC meeting, with the proviso that some examples were clarified. ESS undertook the example rewrite, and submitted changes to the LC Network Development and MARC Standards Office. Changes were announced in MARC Update 26 in April 2018, and the examples now appear in the MARC documentation.

Participated in Broader MARC Development

Commented on MARC proposals and discussion papers that were discussed at ALA Midwinter 2018 and ALA Annual 2018, and also collected responses from all of CMC. Shared distilled comments on the MARC-L list, and used the input to help guide comments made at the MARC Advisory Committee meetings.

Assembled and sent forward a request to the MARC Steering Group to restore the definition of $r in Field 382 to closer to the language in MARC Proposal 2016-02. Changes subsequent to the paper’s passing had made it impossible to use the existing subfields to determine the exact number of individuals involved in performances when there were also ensembles involved. The hope is that the changes will make it easier to develop an interface that will enable discovery of exact mediums of performance. Approved by the MARC Steering Group; changes effected in MARC Update 26, April 2018.

MARC Advisory Committee Liaison Duties for Chair

ESS Chair represented MLA on the MARC Advisory Committee and attended their meetings at ALA Annual and ALA Midwinter. Presented MLA’s discussion paper 2018-DP03, mentioned above, and contributed to discussions using MLA comments on discussion papers and proposals as a starting point.

ESS engaged in two rounds of providing feedback on the idea of removing ISBD punctuation from MARC records. The main set of comments focused on several areas of concern, and was forwarded by the CMC Chair to PCC Chair Lori Robare and preceding chair Matthew Beacom January 23, 2018. Subsequently PCC announced a formal test of records that had been stripped of ISBD punctuation. MLA did not formally participate in the test, though ESS did review the small number of music MARC records prepared for the test. We submitted a brief response that we saw no problems in the small sample, but mentioned that a larger selection would likely pull up some of the issues we identified. Also, we commented that “removing ISBD” had only applied to notes in the test records, and that the test records still contained notes with internal ISBD punctuation. This was one of our main areas of concern in our January comments.

Atomized medium of performance

ESS discussed the possibility of breaking up medium of performance from a single 382 field to multiple 382 fields, with one field per medium component, allowing identifiers to be associated with each instrument or ensemble. The DNB follows this practice, and it seemed like an interesting proposition.
We invited comments from all of CMC as well since this would be a major change. After much discussion we decided not to pursue this change in practice at the time. A few changes to MARC would probably be necessary to make unambiguous statements, but those were fairly trivial compared to the reality that changing practices would be fairly disruptive, and that any changes might not forward the cause of linked data enough to justify the disruption now. Also, a library transitioning to a linked data format might be able to develop methods to associate identifiers with medium components listed in Field 382.

RISM consultation

Last year ESS undertook discussions concerning the RISM office being interested in potentially asking for new MARC elements to support their directory of music institutions work. This year we passed on one further suggestion for their work, that of looking to use and extend the MARC Format for Community
Information if necessary.

List of Previous Goals and Progress Made Toward Each Goal

1. Complete work on Discussion Paper examining validating subfield 3 in recent 3XX Fields lacking the subfield. Present at MARC Advisory Committee meeting at Midwinter, 2018.
Discussion Paper authored by ESS working group and presented at the MAC meeting. The paper was converted on the spot to a formal proposal and passed MAC. See more extended discussion above.

2. Work with OLAC to examine the music community’s use of Subfield n to demarcate qualifying dates. Develop proposals or papers in support of any agreed-upon changes.
ESS discussed whether we would like to pursue integrating music practices into the larger community model. In the end it was clear that our practice, which had its roots in the 1970s MARC Music Format and pre-dated format integration, could not be abandoned without significant degradation of the semantics of many title access points. ESS Chair corresponded with requestor in October, 2017 that we would not support a change. No further developments as of this writing.

3. Remain engaged in MARC developments to allow removing ISBD punctuation from MARC records, and solicit and organize feedback from the music community as appropriate.
Provided two cycles of feedback on removing ISBD punctuation as mentioned above.

4. Stay abreast of efforts to harmonize the medium of performance vocabularies in UNIMARC with the Library of Congress Medium of Performance Thesaurus, and look for opportunities to contribute expertise.
These efforts were undertaken under the umbrella of IAML’s Cataloging and Metadata Section, so ESS was not directly involved. At least two ESS members participated as individuals, however, including Kimmy Szeto, who chaired the working group. We will include links to any final documentation on the
ESS-maintained Music and Metadata Resources pages.

5. Stay up to date on developments in BIBFRAME, and look for opportunities to contribute to its evolution.
As with item 4 above, ESS has not had a project directly involving BIBFRAME development or implementation. ESS has tried to keep BIBFRAME in mind as we work on MARC projects, however, and the recent MARC paper 2018-DP03 did have in mind a background notion that clarifying relationships within a MARC record might help with transformations into BIBFRAME or other more linked data-friendly formats. MLA’s Linked Data Working Group organizationally sits outside of ESS, though ESS members have participated extensively, most recently to provide feedback on the data modeling of the Performed Music Ontology.

6. ISO/TC 46/SC4/WG16 to revise Dublin Core will be getting under way next year. Look for ways to facilitate music community engagement with the work through providing links on the MMR site and/or other ways as appropriate.
This is essentially a 5-year documentation review, and no changes may result. Still, with DCMI as a baseline metadata standard the work merits monitoring. ISO has established a working group to develop ISO/NP 15836-2, Information and documentation — The Dublin Core metadata element set — Part 2: DCMI Properties and classes. The project’s convener has a term that extends to the end of 2019, and a concrete recommendation to review should be available as the group wraps up their work.

Goals for 2018-2019

The Encoding Standards Subcommittee’s goals for 2018-2019 are as follows:
1. Transition to a new Chair for ESS in February 2019, and work to keep activities moving smoothly during the move.
2. Look for opportunities for ESS to be involved in operationalizing elements of the Performed Music Ontology within BIBFRAME.
3. Continue to monitor and participate in MARC development, and communicate any needs for best practices or other documentation to help music catalogers implement changes to MARC.

All of these goals promote core values of access, collaboration, and expertise of members.

Respectfully submitted,
James Soe Nyun
July 25, 2018