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 January 28, 2003 [posted]
 NLM Implementation of Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules, 2nd edition, 2002 Revision

drop cap letter for o n December 2, 2002, along with other major libraries in the United States and as a participant in the national Program for Cooperative Cataloging (PCC), the NLM Cataloging Section began implementation of the amendments represented in the Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules, 2nd edition, 2002 Revision (AACR). However, NLM has decided to delay implementation of certain sections of AACR rule 21.2A.2 "Minor Changes" until at least March 31, 2003, so that the implications of these changes on various areas of the Library can be thoroughly investigated. Specifically, NLM is not implementing application of rules 21.2A2c (differences involving the name of the same corporate body), 21.2A2h (order of words in a list), 21.2A2i (addition or deletion of words indicating the type of resource) in cases when these changes would affect the first word of a title. In addition NLM is not applying rule 21.2A2a if the first word changes from an acronym to a full-form or vice-versa.

While NLM supports the overall goal of reducing the number of major changes requiring new serial records, the Library considers some of the changes now defined as minor in rule 21.2A2 to pose possible problems for our users. NLM is concerned about the impact of those changes defined as minor where the first word of a title appearing on an issue of a serial significantly differs from that which appeared in previous issues. The three major areas of concern are that: 1) users of indexing databases will have difficulty identifying citations; 2) patrons of libraries where materials are arranged alphabetically will not easily locate serials on the shelf; and 3) publishers are likely to be concerned that their materials are cited incorrectly.

As an indexing agency as well as a research library, NLM is concerned that title abbreviations in indexing citations (that are based on the title proper) may differ significantly from the title that appears on the journal itself. LocatorPlus, NLM's online public access catalog, has a rich cross-reference structure that allows users to retrieve the correct record using earlier or later forms of the title. That same structure is used in PubMed for searching journal citations. However, only one form of the journal title abbreviation can be used to display a journal citation. For most of the minor changes defined in AACR rule 21.2A2, users can recognize that the bibliographic record in LocatorPlus and the citation for the article are for the same title. For cases where the first word of the title changes, users will find this much harder to recognize.

NLM also produces many print and online publications which list our indexed titles. These lists only contain a single form of the title. The Library is concerned that users will not recognize the indexed citations for a title such as Journal of Biological Chemistry if the publisher changes it to Biological Chemistry, and NLM continues to cite it in LocatorPlus as Journal of Biological Chemistry, and in PubMed and Index Medicus and other printed lists as J Biol Chem. NLM's experience also shows that publishers, not unreasonably, expect their citations to carry the title that actually appears on their journal and NLM anticipates objections from publishers if some of these new rules are applied.

Many of NLM's constituents are smaller medical or hospital libraries that shelve their journals alphabetically by title. These libraries are dependent on the bibliographic records distributed by NLM. It is our view that users in these institutions will have a difficult time finding these journals if there are significant differences between the title as it appears on the publication and the shelving order based on the cataloging record.

If NLM's preliminary analyses hold, it is likely that the Library will not encounter many changes in these categories during the next few months. However, if NLM does have a need to create new serial records for LocatorPlus, any such records will not be submitted to CONSER.

By Diane L. Boehr
Cataloging Section

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Boehr DL. NLM Implementation of Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules, 2nd edition, 2002 Revision. NLM Tech Bull. 2003 Jan-Feb;(330):e5.


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