>From the time the independent Czechoslovak Republic was created in 1918, seven versions of cataloging principles were used, all of which reflect the characteristics inherent in the rules which they tried to emulate. The most influential ones were Prussian instruction, Soviet rules, and Anglo-American rules.
My description of the development of the rules until the end of the eighties is based on dr. Vodickova's monograph (1), whereas the discussion of the last decade includes my own involvement with the developments. Consequently, that part also presents personal observations and opinions, uncertainties and errors. This subjective interpretation is bound to be rectified in the future by a more objective, historically-based analysis.
During 1925-1950, the official rules were "Pravidla katalogu zakladniho (listkoveho abecedniho seznamu jmenneho" (3) (Rules of the Basic Card Catalog Alphabetically Arranged). The rules were written by Jaromir Borecky, the director of the Public and University Library in Prague (today's National Library) and they reflect strong influence by the German library tradition which had been widely accepted since 1899. In 1921, Z. V. Tobolka, director of the Library of the National Assembly (today's Parliamentary Library) published his "Pravidla, jimiz se ridi budovani abecedniho seznamu jmenneho" (4) (Rules for the Creation of an Alphabetically Arranged Catalog). Although this work was created ostensibly for that Library's use, it soon began to be used also in other administrative libraries as they all aimed at the creation of a union catalog. Due to their simplicity, they also became quite popular with the network of public libraries.
After 1948 there arose the need to revamp the cataloging rules, not to mention the fact that there was a resistance to continue anything based on German tradition. The rules indeed became somewhat obsolete, but even stronger were the ideological and political reasons: the librarian becomes an active political educator and, following the Soviet model, should provide information on the same level to the user of a
research institution as well as the patron of a public or a factory library. This trend is reflected in the 1950 publication of "Prozatimni pravidla abecedniho jmenneho seznamu" (5) (Interim Rules for the Alphabetical Catalog). Unlike Borecky's and Tobolka's rules, the "Interim" rules are no longer the fruits of one man's effort, but they are the result of collective thinking. The authors intended to shake off the Prussian influences but were left with a hard task of choosing between the Soviet (6) and the American (7) models. For political reasons, the Soviet rules were the only alternative. Since those were not yet completed, the "Interim" rules tried to incorporate principles that anticipated the final Soviet opus. With the exception of scores, no other special materials were covered, and for various other reasons, large institutions found them quite inadequate.
The lack of rules for special documents during this time when librarianship and information science were beginning to go their separate ways, led in 1952 to the creation of yet another set of rules, "Jednotny katalogizacni predpis pro literarni sluzbu" (8) (Unifying Cataloging Rules for Reference Services) to satisfy the special materials libraries and newly created data centers.
Since the sixties, Czech cataloging practice was for decades influenced by "Pravidla jmenneho katalogu" (9) (The Rules of the Catalog), which were in fact a refinement of the "Interim" rules. These rules now also covered some special materials and they were to be used by large and mid-size institutions. Naturally, the rules reflected Soviet cataloging traditions but, since the authors also closely followed other international trends, the final product incorporated some principles that were eventually promulgated by the 1961 Paris conference. In 1960, there appeared an abridged version (10) of the "Rules", intended for mid-size and small libraries and 1972 saw the publication of "Pravidla jmenneho zaznamu specialnich dokumentu a
analytickeho popisu" (Cataloging Rules for Special Materials and the Treatment of Analytics").
Besides the attempts to create workable cataloging rules, it is also worthwhile to mention the preparation of national standards for the bibliographic description of materials. 1964 saw the publication of "CSN 010195 bibliograficky (dokumentacni) a katalogizacni zaznam" (11) (Czech Standard 010195 for Bibliographic and Cataloging Records). Its intent was to implement it in all institutions and thus unify Czech cataloging practice which, at that time, reflected primarily Nadvornik's "Rules". Unfortunately, his "Rules" were not mandatory and many institutions chose to avoid their faithful application.
"Pravidla jmenneho katalogu" and the CSN 010195 standard, together with the 1983 "CSN 010188 Tvorba predmetovych hesel" (12) (Czech Standard 010188 for Subject Headings) were used for over two decades. In a few libraries, they continue being used. "Pravidla" began to be used during a time when there was practically no automation in Czech libraries, when librarians had almost no chance to travel and visit institutions and colleagues, none of us were aware that each record, especially once it becomes automated, has to observe a strictly defined structure. Our catalogers got exposed to the "deconstruction" of a record and learning a MARC format only in the late eighties. Until 1983 when "Ceska narodni bibliografie (Knihy)" (Czech National Bibliography (Books) for the first time used ISBD, this standard itself was an unknown and feared concept.
The Beginnings of Automation (80's-1993)
The first significant step in the direction of automation and acceptance of international standards was the project "Automatizovany system ceske narodni knizni bibliografie: ASNB-K" (13) (Automated System of Czech National Book Production: ASNB-K). (In point of fact, already in the sixties the "GIPSY Project" (14) experimented with an automated version of the "Czech National Bibliography", though due to technical deficiencies it never took off.) Data were being created using a regular word processor: the goal was not the creation of a searchable database but the ability to prepare paper issues of the "Czech National Bibliography" for publication. The project staff was also charged with analyzing the created records and studying international cataloging standards. Luckily, since all records used ISBD punctuation, there was a sort of unifying structure and for this reason it was possible to convert them recently into the rest of our modern database. The employment of ISBD in the "Bibliography" was viewed by Czech librarians for years more as a curiosity rather than a means to standardization. Although as far as the bibliographic description was concerned, there was obviously a unifying structure, in case of subject headings the result was the opposite: just about every subject was a new entity.
The 1987 project "Automatizovany system zpracovani fondu: ASZF" (14) (Automated System of a Cataloged Collection: ASZF) that was used for processing the National Library's English language imprints, was the first project where ISBD was consistently incorporated into the database structure. The working team paid attention both to the creation of the record and its retrieval in the public mode. The
project formulated the principles of our database structure, later incorporated into the "Obecna datova struktura" (15) (General Structure of Data) completed in 1988.The principles of machine readable records, their structure and their convertibility were first introduced to our library professionals at a time when libraries already started thinking about simple ways of how to do it, especially those that started
using CDS/ISIS. The initial reaction to the record structure was quite negative: the number of mandatory fields, the required subfields, the amount of new knowledge to be learned -- all were viewed with bitter skepticism by librarians and systems professionals alike. It was exactly this the granularity of the records that met with so much revolt that later convinced the same professionals that it is the most important element for the creation of easily searchable indexes and the eventual convertibility of such records.
The "General Structure of Data" was followed in 1989 by "Vymenny format pro bibliograficky (dokumentacni) a katalogizacni zaznam" (16) (Exchange Format for Bibliographic and Cataloging Records), the core of "Modularni automatizovany knihovnicky system: MAKS" (17) (Modular Automated Library System). MAKS formed the basis of automation in hundreds of Czech libraries which were using CDS/ISIS in the eighties. As they were developing the conventions for format exchange, its authors, albeit aware of UNIMARC, contemplated the question: UNIMARC or national format? The already familiar CDS/ISIS was an obstacle since its record could contain only 99 fields. Besides, at the end of the eighties it was not clear whether UNIMARC would take hold as an international standard alongside the more widely used USMARC. Lastly, the development team (of which I was the leader) did not fully grasp the details of UNIMARC and instead we tended to "correct" its "shortcomings" and lacunae. Fortunately, our exchange format has employed considerable granularity and thus conversion into UNIMARC during the mid-nineties became a reality. Providentially, it used the principles of ISBD and in this oblique manner ISBD was accepted by most Czech libraries, even before 1993 when the first Czech translation of ISBD was published (18). ISBD was also incorporated in the OPAC display and print formats, something that many librarians found objectionable because of its novelty that they feared might
While MAKS was being tested, it was becoming more and more obvious that our cataloging rules were again obsolete, especially as far as headings are concerned, something ISBD does not cover. There was renewed effort to discuss Anglo-American rules although they were still viewed as too different from ours besides having some fundamental differences with several IFLA recommendations. The old rules outlived their usefulness, existing foreign models were viewed with skepticism, and to prepare new rules expeditiously was not manageable. Furthermore, our professionals demanded rules for special materials. The contemplation of revising the standard CSN 010195 seemed to be the most suitable option. In 1990 the changes were accepted and were published in 1992 as "Bibliograficky zaznam" (Bibliographic Record) (20). Although the new version replaced the older one, made provisions for processing non-book materials and included ISBD, due to its brevity it could not be considered truly workable rules. Besides, we still did not come up with rules for the creation of headings. During the discussions about preparation of new cataloging rules, the suggestion to simply accept AACR2 was introduced but was rejected. However, a compromise was proposed: develop Czech cataloging rules based on AACR2, or rather only on their positive principles, and supplement them with other foreign rules. A working group of 40 librarians, led by dr. Hana Vodickova, presented a 597-pages opus, their new "Pravidla jmenneho popisu" (21) (The Rules of Descriptive Cataloging) was to have been published in 1993 and thus replace the 1959 "Rules of the Catalog". Despite all the positive features -- description of all types of materials, corporate and uniform title main entry, new presentation of title main entry, fairly faithful application of ISBD -- the Rules were not published. One of the main reasons for their rejection was their idiosyncratic form of author main entry, a concept that was probably unclear in regard to automation and conversion into other systems. There was no inherent understanding that a cataloged record must be made also clear to patron searching in a computer system, not just in a card catalog. Whenever something did not fit their particular policies, the authors suggested that institutions augment the rules to suit their own needs.
When our librarians started to travel abroad after 1989, they brought back the knowledge that standardization is essential for international cooperation and that locally developed rules can hardly compete with international standards. Obviously, a small country with a not too copious book production, in a minor language, has no chance to displace already existing cataloging rules which govern millions of records. If we want to become part of the world, we have to accept its rules. At last we realized that specific national cataloging rules, no mater how perfect, are an unavoidable way to isolation. The 40-member team was discharged as discussions about the option of translating AACR2 was gaining ground. We decided to translate AACR2 and ISBD and to analyze all their details and implications, to examine with an unbiased, critical eye especially those rules that deviate from the international standards and those rules that may be unacceptable to Czech cataloging tradition, documenting our opinions with specific examples. The same approach was taken in regard to UNIMARC. Simultaneously, the question of subject analysis was introduced and although translating LCSH was rejected, there was an agreement that their principles might be used in the future for building our new thesaurus. Subject headings continued to be assigned on the basis of 1983 Standard CSN 010188. This was much more acceptable to our catalogers since we have not yet reached the point of even discussing authority control. Institutions whose subject headings were unsuitable for their particular automated system, used freely made key words, but also UDC top level.
The Transformation: Phase II (1994-
Starting in 1994, Czech libraries began to implement integrated library systems. As a consequence, it at last began to be clear to most of us that coordination and cooperation are essential and we started examining the standards in earnest. The need for uniformity of standards was becoming more pressing since many individual systems were being used throughout the country, be it ALEPH, TINLIB, LANIUS, KP-SYS, RAPID LIBRARY etc. Theoretical discussions turned into practical applications as libraries started using OCLC. In the light of national and, even more so, international cooperation and the increased necessity for ease of converting records, the need of unifying standards becomes of paramount significance. In addition, many libraries started retrospective conversion projects and as databases grew, the concept of authority control began to be seriously considered. The National Library is pioneering in this direction: all newly created records representing Czech imprints (books) use LCSH, both in Czech translation and original English.
When the CASLIN project (Czech and Slovak Library Network) was inaugurated, it formed a Working Group for Standardization and Bibliographic Description. This group published in 1994 the first version of recommendations of how a union catalog record should look (22) and submitted it to the CASLIN Board of Directors. The results specified that
--all records have to be created in UNIMARC (1994 version), supplemented in field 9xx with certain Czech specific data
--the guiding rules are AACR2, 1998 edition. That meant translating AACR2 and preparing interpretations of individual rules. In the area of headings, we agreed that the original form of names, in accordance with IFLA recommendations, is the preferred one, with the exception of names which would be difficult for Czech users to even think of
--SK CASLIN must follow ISBD. In situations where AACR2 and ISBD differ, ISBD, backed by IFLA recommendations, will be followed. IFLA, ALA and other experts would be asked to offer rulings and those will be incorporated into the Czech interpretations of AACR2. Any incompatibilities with AACR2 must be well documented.
Despite of our declaration of principles, it was not easy to implement the agreed upon standards, not least of all because not all the documents were available in Czech right from the outset. It took much longer to translate all the necessary tools than we anticipated, mainly because in many cases there was no Czech terminology for some of the new concepts. Without the necessary practical application of the rules it was
very taxing to grasp certain concepts fully and translate them meaningfully. Our decision to publish both AACR2 and UNIMARC in a loose-leaf binder proved to be providential, since as we started using the rules, we also began to gain more and better understanding of them and our interpretations were getting clearer and more acceptable. At the beginning, all we had were the 1994 Czech translation of AACR2
(23), 1987 Slovak translation of UNIMARC (24), 1996 Czech translation of UNIMARC (25) and simultaneously we worked on translating ISBD (G, M, S). Lastly, we translated UNIMARC/Authority (26) and AACR2 Handbook (27).
In regard to AACR2, we reached Catch 22: without rule interpretations it was almost impossible to work with the rules, but without using them, it was very difficult to create workable interpretations. Before any interpretation was agreed upon, it was crucial to try the rules out, comprehend them and "live" with them before we could distinguish between what we do not like because it is new and different and what is fundamentally alien to our tradition. In fact, our acceptance of AACR2 went through phases:
a) 1994-1995: AACR2 are very complex, incomprehensible, and totally unsuitable for our libraries, and interpretations would be extremely involved;
b) 1996-1997: there are some positive concepts in AACR2, especially their clear-cut logical structure and presentation and it may be that after our amendments, they could work for us;
c) 1998- : even if they are complex, AACR2 are much better than our old rules, and after all, they have been used worldwide for close to two decades: only a limited number of major changes should be necessary
The initial implementation of AACR2 was very demanding on our catalogers. But, the experience of the Working Group and the Advisory Committee for Cataloging Policy (a team of experts from several Czech institutions) was invaluable for the preparation of interpretations. It was not easy to find common ground, not the least because just about every institution served a different clientele and was using a different automated system. Often, individuals were ready to bend the rules to accommodate their systems, rather than the other way around. But, common sense and the quest for unity prevailed and frequently the experts agreed on new principles and interpretations, though fearing the reaction of their colleagues back home. Since the Committee had members from institutions which did not plan to move ahead quite yet and also those which already started, individual representatives had differently timed needs. The "progressive" ones had often already made some decisions in their home libraries, knowing that they might have to change them later, depending on what the Committee decides.
One of the biggest challenges was form of headings. Should we use IFLA recommendations or AACR2? Although we initially preferred IFLA, with its emphasis on "original" preferences, finally we chose the AACR2 principle, with the plan of creating many more cross-references than if we chose the other alternative. We were greatly relieved when in 1998 IFLA voted that the "original" form of a heading is
impractical and should be replaced by the "national" form. The problem of "original" vs. "national" form of a name continues being a problem, especially where there is no link between the authority heading and its cross-reference to bibliographic records, as we realized only fairly recently. For most of the time we paid considerable attention to the bibliographic records while the concept of authority control and the forms of heading themselves were being largely ignored. Only as our databases began to grow and as we started uploading and downloading records, did we start paying the attention to authority control that it deserves. As a consequence, we are now left with an enormous cleanup, as we created over million of records without strict uniformity of the headings. The one million bibliographic records that can be found on our CD-ROM and www server are supported by only about 10,000 "cleaned" UNIMARC authority records. ALEPH 3xx, which the National Library uses, does not make our authority control work easy. Nevertheless, we are doing all we can to make our headings fully compatible in all Czech libraries and also acceptable to foreign institutions. All newly created headings comply with required rules, but there are still many headings, created earlier, whose forms we will be able to correct only at a much later time.
As I mentioned earlier, CASLIN is the Czech union catalog. But, there are also many other -- local and regional, research and university -- "union" catalogs, not all of which are linked to CASLIN. For the evaluation of application of AACR2 and their differences, our Cooperative Processing of Czech Book Production plays a major role. This group represents 10 largest Czech research libraries, together with the National Library in Prague. All these are repository libraries and all have to various degree have been using AACR2 ever since the Czech translation became available. Because there is very close cooperation and review of the contributed records, any deviations and errors are immediately discovered, evaluated, and conveyed to the library which made the "mistake". So far, we conclude that:
a) Just using ISBD is not enough: there has to be uniformity in application of the rules. All the records are UNIMARC and although the institutions use ISBD, in some records AACR2 is implemented only partially, or gradually. Each time a record, employing the rules inconsistently, is added, there is a problem of how to fix it, to make it fully compatible.
b) Our cooperation is badly hampered by the lack of authority control.
Although the National Library started in 1997 to use OCLC records for routine cataloging, we are encountering similar problems at this level as well: only those libraries that use the same cataloging rules find exporting records from OCLC effective. The National Library is benefiting from OCLC the most since in its own cataloging it uses AACR2 and also LCSH and thus can accept even the subject headings on the exported records. This compatibility works the other way as well: as the National Library's records become available in OCLC, other institutions find them less of a burden to deal with since editing incomplete or less than acceptable records plays a big role in the decision whether to accept a foreign record or not.
As should be evident from this discussion, we did not exactly dodge international standards, though we were slow at accepting them. Luckily, we do not feel that accepting them has in any way invalidated or lessened our national identity. On the contrary: when we first started seeing in OCLC American libraries' records for Czech imprints, we did not like the quality of some of the records. Mostly, the records were quite brief and there were spelling errors. Consequently, when the Library of Congress suggested to us that in order to alleviate this problem we contribute records representing Czech imprints ourselves, we jumped at this opportunity. It took us five years to reach the level where our records are almost fully acceptable to some foreign institutions. Obviously this cooperation brings fruits on both sides, as we welcome any income we can get. Our contribution is an asset and our being able to export records representing foreign production too is, economically speaking, most welcome: we do not have to catalog these books. What is equally beneficial is that in this way we see more manifestations of the proper application of international cataloging standards in these records, thus increasing our awareness of them.
Allow me some small futuristic musings at this point: It would be much easier for everyone to be able to accept international standards as they are, were they truly international. This must become the case in the 21st century when catalogers, under economic pressure, like most other segments of our societies, will have to compromise and accept standards. No one will need the incentive to develop local rules, no one will have the time to be involved in such undertakings. Most likely, AACR2, which by now are pretty international, will become CR21, incorporating all modifications and variants. Rules will be modernized, and in the area of authority headings, it will be immaterial which form is the established one and which is a cross-reference. Libraries will be able to present one form to its users, and a different form to foreign users, as
input into the "international" record. All records will be created in MARC21, which will contain the granularity of UNIMARC and its concept of "no author" main entry; SH21 will be integrated with DC21 and every record will be understandable to everyone, everywhere.
How long it will take before this vision becomes reality will depend on economic conditions, on users' demands of their libraries, and on the ability of catalogers to divorce themselves from old rules and their insistence on insignificant details. We hear occasionally the argument: our users need what they are used to. But is that true? Today, in the Internet age when everyone can reach anywhere in the world, access just about any database and service they wish, even if often filled with "unacceptable and foreign" elements, they are no longer immune to these variant forms and presentations. Is it they who need those rules, or is it us? Did we ask our patrons whether they need information in a record to be separated by particular interpretation? Did we ever explain to them in detail the difference between : and ;? No, we did not. And we would be laughed at if we did. All our users need is to be able to locate quickly what they need, preferably in as simple a fashion as possible.
Maybe my visions are a Utopia never to be attained for a simple reason: although a heaven for patrons, this could be hell for catalogers. After all, this would again lead to compromises and changes, the loss of comfort of "knowing all," the loss of national identity. Whenever we fought acceptance of international standards, there was always the underlying desire to preserve as much of the status quo as possible. Is this Czech manner an exception or is it only an illustration of a much more common ill?
1) Jmenna katalogizace. 1 cast / Hana Vodickova. - Praha : Statni pedagogicke nakladatelstvi, 1963. - 110 p.
2) Pravidla katalogu zakladniho (listkoveho abecedniho seznamu jmenneho) s dodatkem o popisu spisu drobnych / Jaromir Borecky. - Praha : nakl. statnim, 1925. - 164 p.
3) Instruktionen fur die Alphabetischen Kataloge der preussischen Bibliotheken vom 10. Mai 1999. - Berlin : Behrend & Co, 1915. - 179 p.
4) Pravidla, jimiz se ridi budovani abecedniho seznamu jmenneho / Z.V. Tobolka. - Praha : Cs. kompas, 1921. - 64 p.
5) Prozatimni pravidla abecedniho jmenneho seznamu / Komise pro reformu katalogizacnich pravidel. - Praha : Statni nakladatelstvi, 1950. - 55 p.
6) Jedinyje pravila po opisaniju proizvedenij pecati dlja bibliotecnych katalogov. - Moskva : Gos. biblioteka SSSR im Lenina, 1959. - 8 v.
7) Catalog rules : author and title entries : american ed. - Washington : ALA Publ. Board, 1908. - 88 p.
8) Jednotny katalogisacni predpis pro literarni sluzbu. - Praha : Prumyslove vydavatelstvi, 1952. - 23 p.
9) Pravidla jmenneho katalogu / Miroslav Nadvornik ... [et al.]. - Praha : Statni pedagogicke nakladatelstvi, 1959. - 234 p.
10) Pravidla jmenneho katalogu pro stredni a mensi knihovny / Miroslav Nadvornik ... [et al.]. - Praha : Statni pedagogicke nakladatelstvi, 1960. - 129 p.
11) CSN 010195 Bibliograficky (dokumentacni) a katalogizacni zaznam. - Praha : Urad pro normalizaci a mereni, 1965. - 28 p.
12) CSN 010188 Tvorba predmetovych hesel. - Praha : Urad pro normalizaci a mereni, 1983. - 38 p.
13) ASNB-K : provadeci projekt automatizovaneho systemu ceske knizni narodni bibliografie. - Praha, Statni knihovna CSR, 1983.
14) Overeni aplikace systemu GIPSY v narodni bibliografii / Blahoslav Kovar, Zdenek Franc, Oldrich Smely. - Praha : Statni komise pro techniku, 1967
15) Automatizovany system zpracovani fondu. - Praha : Statni knihovna CSR, 1987
16) Obecna datova struktura struktura dokumentografickeho zaznamu. - Praha : Statni knihovna CSR, 1988. - 195 p.
17) Vymenny format pro bibliograficky (dokumentacni) a katalogizacni zaznam. - Praha : Statni knihovna CSR, 1999. - 2 v.
18) Modularni automatizovany knihovnicky system. - Praha : Statni knihovna CSR, 1999. - 7 modules
19) ISBD(G) : Vseobecny mezinarodni bibliograficky popis. - Praha : Narodni knihovna, 1993. - viii, 36p.
20) CSN 010195 Bibliograficky zaznam. - Praha : Vydavatelstvi norem, 1992. - 38 p.
21) Pravidla jmenneho popisu : verze 0.2 / Hana Vodickova ... [et al.]. - Praha : Narodni knihovna v Praze, 1992. - 597 p.
22) Zaznam pro souborny katalog. - Praha : Narodni knihovna v Praze, 1994. - 21 p.
23) Anglo-americka katalogizacni pravidla : druhe vydani, revize 1998 / American Library Association. - Praha : Narodni knihovna v Praze, 1994. - 686 p.
24) UNIMARC manual : slovenska verzia / IFLA. - Martin : Matica slovenska - Slovenska narodna kniznica, 1994. - 588 p.
25) UNIMARC manual : bibliograficky format / IFLA. - Praha : Narodni knihovna Ceske republiky, 1996
26) UNIMARC/autority : univerzalni format pro autority / IFLA. - Praha : Narodni knihovna Ceske republiky, 1996. -- 80 p.
27) Prirucka k AACR2 : revize 1988 : vyklad a priklady k Anglo-americkym katalogizacnim pravidlum / Margaret F. Maxwell. - Praha : Narodni knihovna Ceske republiky, 1995. - 435 p.
28) AACR2R/UNIMARC : schvalene ceske interpretace. Verze 2 (leden 1999). - http://www.nkp.cz/start/standard/def_int.htm
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