The Concise AACR2, 1998 Revision

Philip Hider (Temasek Polytechnic, Singapore)

Library Management

ISSN: 0143-5124

Article publication date: 1 August 2000



Hider, P. (2000), "The Concise AACR2, 1998 Revision", Library Management, Vol. 21 No. 6, pp. 330-333.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2000, MCB UP Limited

Michael Gorman’s new abridgement of the Anglo‐American Cataloguing Rules, overtakes the 1998 revision of the full edition, for it includes guidelines based on the 1997 International Standard Bibliographic Description for Electronic Resources, or ISBD(ER), whereas the AACR2 chapter for computer files is still based on the old International Standard Bibliographic Description for Computer Files, or ISBD(CF). This is very handy, since the ISBD(CF) is well over a decade old in fact, which given its subject matter makes it almost antique.

The layout of the Concise mirrors that of the full edition, for which Gorman was also co‐editor. There are two parts and three appendices. The first part contains 12 groups of rules, 0‐11, for the bibliographic description, just as the rules in Part I of the full edition are numbered 1.0‐1.11, and in parallel for specific forms of material, 2.0‐2.11, 3.0‐3.11, and so on. The second part of the Concise contains rules 21‐65, on headings, uniform titles and references. They are numbered differently from those in Part II of the full edition, but follow the same sequence. Finally, in the appendices, there is a summary of the AACR2 rules on capitalization (Appendix A of the full edition), a glossary (Appendix D of the full edition), and a useful comparative table of rule numbers. I would have thought one or two of the lists of legitimate abbreviations in the full edition’s Appendix B could also have been usefully included in the Concise, but perhaps the author had a 150‐page limit.

With the index, the Concise runs to 168 pages: the 1998 full edition covers some 676 pages. Gorman has included the rules that are most applied, and précised them (where necessary) in clear, straightforward language. Not only is it concise, it is also often more intelligible and practical. For example, in the full edition, 1.1F7 details the exceptional cases of titles of nobility, honour, address, etc., in statements of responsibility, and only after half a page of these states the usual case, when such additions are omitted. In the Concise, it is vice‐versa and more readily understandable as a result. The potential for entanglements caused by the clumsy rule 1.4F6 is also reduced when using the Concise, since here the manufacture date is not even suggested as a substitute for the publication date. The rule for the title of part of a work has rightly been moved up the order to 1B4. The rules on choice of main entry are summarised very well, given their complex nature, with so many conditional clauses. In analytics are covered in 29B8, though some of the alternatives described in Chapter 13 of the full edition are not mentioned. The rules for headings of subordinate bodies are clearer in the Concise than in the full edition.

Inevitably, there are one or two things in the Concise that might mislead. The statement under 0A that information taken from outside of the item should be enclosed in square brackets is not quite correct and is contradicted in later rules. I am not quite sure why the British GMD list is omitted. Also, the revised rule regarding the position of the GMD for items without a collective title does not feature. And the second place of publication for a place in the home country of the cataloguing agency is not optional in the full edition. Unfortunately, what constitutes a “work” is made no clearer in the uniform title rules, which also omit specific treatment of translations, one of the most common of uniform title cases.

Of course, some details will be lost when applying the Concise as opposed to the full edition, otherwise the full edition would not be four times as long. Here Gorman rules that statements of responsibility for introductions to books should not be recorded. Also, the pre‐page sequences ending in roman numerals are not to be recorded – indeed, who cares about these? Particularly good news is the lack of 8.5C1 (c), under which the full edition insists you work out how an art reproduction has been reproduced. There will not be quite so many square brackets (enclosing information from a non‐prescribed source), and a few capital letters might go astray. However, if your catalogue users do not especially mind such things, if your library’s catalogue is not so enormous, and if you are not contributing to the national bibliography, then you could probably get by quite adequately with this abridgement.

The “optional” rules in the full edition are not necessarily the “optional” rules indicated as such in the Concise (I mention an example of this above), yet neither do the “optional” rules in the Concise correspond to rules above the first level of description. There are rules in the Concise which go beyond the first level, but which are not indicated as “optional”. It is very likely, however, that those who wish to follow the Concise will be basing their description on the first level, which is in fact the only level that the book itself mentions (in 0E). Thus I would prefer to see all non‐first level rules to be labelled “optional” (perhaps some abbreviation could be used).

The examples in the Concise are nicely set out in a different typeface and quite a number of them have been updated. The index is good, and the introductions to the different parts are well written. Although this book is two‐thirds of the price of the full edition, while being only a quarter of the size, if you do not want to use the full edition, then you need to buy this one. It costs less than most other cataloguing books, yet for many libraries, this book is exactly what is required.

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