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Open discussion of RDA, RDA Toolkit, and related topics

Name of element "country associated with person of"

  • 1.  Name of element "country associated with person of"

    Posted Aug 03, 2021 06:30 PM
    As you might be able to tell from my questions about the place entity, I am working on developing LC/PCC policies and metadata guidance for this entity.  Today's question has to do with the element "country associated with person of".

    Currently, in NACO authority records we record the reciprocal element "country associated with person" as an attribute in MARC 370 subfield $c:

    100 1# $a Biden, Joseph R., $c Jr.
    370 ## $c United States $2 naf

    The relationship could also be recorded as:

    100 1# $a Biden, Joseph R., $c Jr.
    551 ## $w r $i Country associated with person: $a United States $4 http://rdaregistry.info/Elements/a/P50097

    The inverse relationship "country associated with person of" has no place specific place in MARC 3XX to record it.  It can, however, be recorded in the 500 field:

    151 ## $a United States
    500 1# $w r $i Country associated with person of: $a Biden, Joseph R., $c Jr. $4 http://rdaregistry.info/Elements/p/P70024

    Setting aside the consideration of whether it is advisable to record the relationship in this direction, since any country would have so many persons that could be associated with it, I am particularly wondering about the choice of name for this element.  It is not at all apparent from the current name that the domain is place and the range is person.  In this situation, I don't think it makes sense to just add "of" to form the inverse of "country associated with person".  Wouldn't "person associated with country" be much clearer as the name for this element?:

    151 ## $a United States
    500 1# $w r $i Person associated with country: $a Biden, Joseph R., $c Jr. $4 http://rdaregistry.info/Elements/p/P70024

     

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    Adam Schiff
    Principal Cataloger
    University of Washington Libraries
    He/Him/His
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  • 2.  RE: Name of element "country associated with person of"

    Posted Aug 04, 2021 08:46 AM
    'country associated with person of' is constructed in exactly the same way as all other inverse element labels.  It is clear that RSC has tried to be consistent with this pattern.  It is true that almost all of these  inverse element labels could instead have been constructed by flipping the subject and object terms within the label.  But I can see the advantage of doing it this way.

    The statements you give as examples could be expressed in text as:
    'Biden, Joseph R., Jr.' has country associated with person 'United States'
    'United States' is country associated with person of 'Biden, Joseph R., Jr.'

    Essentially, the element labels have a string encoding scheme.  I'll call the pattern of the former element the obverse scheme, and the latter the inverse scheme.  The obverse scheme contains the scope of the subject of the element, a verb phrase expressing the nature of the relationship, and the scope of the object of the element.  The inverse scheme contains the label of the obverse element followed by 'of'.  By following these schemes, you always know what type of subject the element takes, what type of object the element takes, and what the label of the inverse element is.  If RDA flipped the terms within the element label to construct the inverse element label, the verb phrase would have to change in many cases.  That would make it much more difficult to infer the inverse label.

    I agree that the inverse scheme is often much more awkward for humans to parse or say.  But I've decided that it makes sense to have a consistent string encoding scheme for constructing the element labels, and this scheme has the advantage of identifying it's own inverse element.  That can make it easier to understand the nature of an element.  The fact that we can define and use alternative labels makes this string encoding scheme acceptable to me.  I think that 'person associated with country' would be a fine alternative label for 'country associated with person of' if defined in an application profile.  The LC-PCC Task Troup on Element Labels in beta RDA Toolkit did make a recommendation that PCC create a vocabulary of alternative element labels for application profiles and policy statements, but I don't recall whether PCC has taken action on that yet.


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    Stephen McDonald
    Digital Initiatives Librarian
    Tufts University
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  • 3.  RE: Name of element "country associated with person of"

    Posted Aug 04, 2021 12:32 PM
    Stephen,

    Thank you for reminding me of the verbalized labels.  Indeed

    United States is country associated with person of Joe Biden

    makes perfect sense, and I don't know why I didn't think of it last night when I was perplexed.

    As you mention, I do hope that PCC comes up with some more user-friendly labels for some of these elements.

    Adam

    Adam L. Schiff
    Principal Cataloger
    University of Washington Libraries
    (206) 543-8409





  • 4.  RE: Name of element "country associated with person of"

    Posted Aug 04, 2021 10:00 AM

    In addition to exploding the size of authority records beyond the limits of the MARC format by adding a 500 field for each person associated with a country, isn't it just as problematic to add a 551 for the country to each person's authority?  That would add huge numbers of results to a search in the authority file for any country.  It's already a problem with many large university names where you get hundreds of entries because of 510s that were added just because someone was a graduate or employee of the university.  That's not what an authority file was designed for.  You can do that stuff in Wikidata.

     

    ------------------------------------------

    John Hostage

    Senior Continuing Resources Cataloger

    Harvard Library--Information and Technical Services

    Langdell Hall 194

    Harvard Law School Library

    Cambridge, MA 02138

    hostage@law.harvard.edu

    +(1)(617) 495-3974 (voice)

    +(1)(617) 496-4409 (fax)
    ISNI 0000 0000 4028 0917

     






  • 5.  RE: Name of element "country associated with person of"

    Posted Aug 04, 2021 10:09 AM
    Edited by Stephen McDonald Aug 04, 2021 10:10 AM
    I don't think Adam was suggesting that we start recording associated country in 551.  He noted that we currently put it in the 370$c.  The LC-PCC Task Group on Element Labels in beta RDA Toolkit recommended against using element labels when there is a one-to-one match with existing bibliographic and authority fields.  I hope that Adam was just using the 551 and 500 with labels to clearly express the relationships he was pointing out.

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    Stephen McDonald
    Digital Initiatives Librarian
    Tufts University
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  • 6.  RE: Name of element "country associated with person of"

    Posted Aug 04, 2021 12:35 PM
    Rest assured I was not suggesting that we add persons as 500 relationships to place, or that instead of or in addition to using the 370 field we add 551 for associated places in authority records.  There may be rare instances where it might be useful to do so, however, and I was trying to understand what that would look like in our NACO MARC context.

    Adam L. Schiff
    Principal Cataloger
    University of Washington Libraries
    (206) 543-8409