Working Group on the Core Bibliographic Record for Music and Sound Recordings (1994-1998)

Working group members

Anders Cato, Bibliotekstjänst AB, Lund, Sweden (Chair); Richard Andrewes, Cambridge University Library, Cambridge, England; James P.Cassaro, Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y., USA; Kurt Deggeler, Fonoteca nazionale Svizzera, Lugano, Switzerland; Johan Eckeloo, Koninklijk Conservatorium Brussel, Brussels, Belgium; Bradford L. Eden, League City, Texas, USA; Inger Enqvist, Statens musikbibliotek, Stockholm, Sweden; Candice Feldt, Tufts Univ., Medford, MA, USA; Mireille Geering, Niederglatt, Switzerland; Antony Gordon, British Library, National Sound Archive, London, England; Lynn Gullickson, USA; Alison Hall, Carleton University Library, Ottawa, ON, Canada; Anna Jensdottir, National- and University Library of Iceland, Reykjavik, Iceland; Ann Barbara Kerstin, Stadt- und Universitätsbibliothek Frankfurt, Frankfurt, Germany; Michelle Lancelin, Conservatoire de la region; Boulogne-Billancourt, France; Ann Le Lay, Conservatoire de la region; Boulogne-Billancourt, France; Anders Lönn, Statens musikbibliotek, Stockholm, Sweden; Egle-Elena Marceniene, Lietuvos nacionalines Martyno Mazvydo bibliotekos Muzikos skyriaus vedeja,Vilnius, Lithuania; Patrick Mills, British Library, London, England; Brenda Muir-Leadstone, National Library of Canada, Ottawa ON, Canada; Sri Sisi Kumar Mukherjee, Madral, India; Claudia Parmeggiani, ICCU,Roma, Italy; Heikki Poroila, Vantaa City Library, Vantaa, Finland; Federica Riva, Conservatorio di Musica A. Boito, Parma, Italy; Martie Severt, Muziekcentrum van de Omreup, Hilversum, Netherlands; Siren Steen, Bergen Public Library, Bergen, Norway; Elisabeth Strandbygaard, Det Nordjyske Landsbibliotek, Aalborg, Denmark; Jukka Tamilehto, BTJ Kirjastopalvelu Oy, Helsinki, Finland; Vivien Taylor, Douglas Library, Queens Univ., Kingston ON, Canada, Malcolm Turner, British Library, Music Library, London, England; Tine Vind, Danmarks Bibliotekskole, København, Denmark.


The Working Group on the Core Bibliographic Record for Music and Sound Recordings was appointed by the IAML Council during the IAML Council meetings on 22. and 27. of July 1994 in Ottawa. The charge of this group was to specify what information is mandatory in a bibliographic music record, and what information could be considered as optional. The final report of the group recommends the endorsement of one core bibliographic level for printed and manuscript music and one for sound recordings.


At the close of the Cataloguing Commission sessions of 1993 in Helsinki it was apparent that various types of library users seek different kinds of information from music library catalogues, whether they be OPACs or traditional card catalogues. In addition, the lack of standardisation for minimal-level cataloguing techniques being employed as a method for controlling cataloguing backlogs seriously affects our user's access to music materials. If shared cataloguing is to be beneficial to libraries in a global sense, some agreed upon international standard for what constitutes a core bibliographic record for music and sound recordings should be created and implemented.

The work of the working group

When the Working Group started it's work in the autumn of 1994 we soon discovered that similar efforts had already been made in the United States within the Program for Cooperative Cataloging (PCC) established by the Cooperative Cataloging Council in 1993. Within the Program for Cooperative Cataloging there were several task groups of which one was the Music Task Group. This group presented a proposed core bibliographic record standard for music scores and sound recordings in the autumn of 1994.
The first thing our working group started with was to study this report of the PCC Music Task Group carefully. After that a first proposal was prepared and sent out to the working group members in the winter of 1994/95. Since our proposed standard was supposed to be applicable for a great number of various users we decided to write it not only in USMARC, but also in UNIMARC.
During the spring of 1995 our discussions continued, mostly through electronic mail. The result was two new proposals that were prepared for the IAML Congress in Elsinore in 1995. During this Congress we had two working meetings with the Working Group. We were almost able to finish the work on a proposal for a core bibliographic record for printed music and we started our work on the proposal for a core bibliographic record for sound recordings.
These proposals continued to be discussed during the two working meetings that were held at the 1996 IAML Conference in Perugia and, with a few suggested changes to both, final drafts of the proposals were completed.
At the second session of the Cataloguing Commission in Perugia there was an open presentation of the two proposed standards. Copies of the proposals were handed out to anyone interested. During this presentation it was also agreed upon that a Core Bibliographic Record for Manuscript Music should be created separately and that this question would be addressed at the IAML Conference in Geneva in 1997.
At the conferences in Geneva in 1997 and in San Sebastián in 1998 the standard for a core record for manuscript music was discussed and agreed upon. A few alterations were also made to the two first standards. Finally at the close of the San Sebastián meeting the 3 core standards were considered to be final and the Working Group asked the IAML Council to be dissolved.



A core bibliographic record IS

  • a bibliographic record with a completeness level which is between minimal and full.
  • a record which contain data elements judged to be essential for both identification and access.
  • a record that emphasize the streamlined assignment of subject and descriptive access points and show a greater tolerance for local practices.
  • dynamic. A core record can move gradually from core to full or remain at core level and be used without modification.
  • distinguished by having all its access points under authority control and represented by records in the national authority file.

A core record IS NOT

  • a substitute for full- or minimal-level cataloging. Cataloguing institutions may choose to make either full records or core records or a mixture of both.
  • defined by black and white rules outlining every case for each field.
  • a perfect solution for all users. As long as individual institutions with individual user and system needs exist, catalogers will need to edit records to reflect these circumstances. While the core record standard may not be the standard chosen by an institution, it is believed that the availability of core records with authorized headings that can be upgraded or edited as resources permit and/or local practice dictates will increase the timely availability of more bibliographic records of higher quality produced in a more cost effective manner.


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