Relationships between Persons or Corporate Bodies and Works in Bibliographic Records

ANSS Subject and Bibliographic Access Committee
Question/Answer on cataloging issues – May 2014

By Isabel del Carmen Quintana, Harvard University & Carolyn J. McCallum, Wake Forest University

Question:      How are the relationships between a person or corporate body and a work identified on bibliographic records?


RDA, Resource Description and Access, is the new set of cataloging rules being adopted by most US Libraries. One of the guiding principles of this code is that it is important to explicitly state the relationship between certain access points and the work cited in a bibliographic record.

Whereas in the past, a cataloger would add names associated with a title to a bibliographic record, the cataloger was not required to explicitly state the relationship. Therefore you could have records that looked like this:

100:1 : $a Quintana, Isabel.

245:10: $a How I adopted two pugs / $c by Isabel Quintana and Mike Quintana.

700:1 : $a Quintana, Mike.

You may also have had a record that looked like this:

245:10: $a Cat lovers are everywhere : $b a festschrift in honor of Isabel Quintana / $c edited by Mike Quintana.

700:1 : $a Quintana, Isabel.

700:1 : $a Quintana, Mike.

As you can see the specific relationship of the person to the work is not stated in the access point, although it is usually stated in the bibliographic record.

With the advent of RDA, catalogers are now encouraged to add a relationship designator for access points. In fact, the PCC, Program for Cooperative Cataloging, requires relationship designators for creators.

Therefore the two above examples would look like this:

100:1 : $a Quintana, Isabel, $e author.

245:10: $a How I adopted two pugs / $c by Isabel Quintana and Mike Quintana.

700:1 : $a Quintana, Mike, $e author.

245:10: $a Cat lovers are everywhere : $b a festschrift in honor of Isabel Quintana / $c edited by Mike Quintana.

700:1 : $a Quintana, Isabel, $e honouree.

700:1 : $a Quintana, Mike, $e editor.

A prescribed list of relationship designators is available in RDA. Catalogers are instructed to use ONLY these terms. The terms available in RDA are called “controlled” terms because they are in a thesaurus with definitions. If the work we are cataloging requires the use of a term not already available, there is a process to request new terms be added to the lists. Some catalogers will also use uncontrolled terms, especially when they can be more specific.

For the cataloging of theses and dissertations, two relationship designators have been created specifically for these unpublished works. The terms “degree granting institution” and “degree supervisor” respectively refer to a corporate body granting an academic degree and a person overseeing a higher-level academic degree. Some catalogers are using the more specific uncontrolled terms “thesis advisor” and “dissertation advisor” in place of “degree supervisor,” as well as the uncontrolled term “dissertation committee member.”

Controlled term examples:

700:1 : $a Smith, Robert, $e degree supervisor.

710:2 : $a Wake Forest University. $b Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, $e degree granting institution.

The cataloger may also use the word “creator” as the relationship designator. This is commonly used for conferences since none of the terms currently available describe this relationship well.

111:1 : $a Conference on Cats and Dogs Living in Harmony $n (1st : $d 2014 : $c Methuen, Mass.), $j creator.

245:10: $a Canine and feline harmony : $b proceedings of the First Conference on Cats and Dogs Living in Harmony, held at the Methuen Shelter, Methuen, Mass.

710:2 : $a Methuen Shelter, $e host institution.

Here are some of the RDA relationship designators for creators. Creators are persons, families, or corporate bodies primarily responsible for a work:

  • architect
  • landscape architect
  • artist
  • sculptor
  • author
  • librettist
  • lyricist
  • screenwriter
  • cartographer
  • choreographer
  • compiler
  • composer
  • designer
  • enacting jurisdiction
  • filmmaker
  • interviewee
  • interviewer
  • inventor
  • photographer
  • praeses
  • programmer
  • respondent

Here are some of the RDA relationship designators for other persons, families, or corporate bodies associated with a work.

  • addressee
  • appellant
  • appellee
  • consultant
  • court governed
  • dedicatee
  • dedicator
  • defendant
  • degree granting institution
  • degree supervisor
  • director
  • film director
  • radio director
  • television director
  • director of photography
  • honouree
  • host institution
  • issuing body
  • judge
  • jurisdiction governed
  • medium
  • organizer
  • participant in a treaty
  • plaintiff
  • producer
  • film producer
  • radio producer
  • television producer
  • production company
  • sponsoring body

Although catalogers are encouraged to always add relationship designators, these terms are not required. Catalogers who participate in PCC however, are required to add a relationship designator for creators.

Prior to the use of RDA relationship designators, three-letter relator codes were employed by some catalogers in bibliographic records to show the relationship between a name and a work. Relator codes were typically constructed by using the first letter of the first word of its applicable relator term after which two additional letters were chosen from the word(s) used in the relator term to complete the three letter designation. Appearing in lowercase, the codes were often included in MARC21 bibliographic records, specifically in records for films and music. For example:

100:1 : $a Beethoven, Ludwig van, $d 1770-1827. $e cmp

245:10: $a Concerto no. 1 in C : $b “Moonlight” sonata / $c Beethoven.

511:0 : $a Artur Rubinstein, piano ; Boston Symphony ; Erich Leinsdorf, conductor (1st work).

700:1 : $a Rubinstein, Artur, $d 1887-1982. $4 prf

700:1 : $a Leinsdorf, Erich, $d 1912-1993. $4 cnd

710:2 : $a Boston Symphony Orchestra. $4 prf

Applying specified RDA relationship designators to the bibliographic information in the above example, the MARC21 bibliographic record is now transformed into an RDA bibliographic record as displayed below:

100:1 : $a Beethoven, Ludwig van, $d 1770-1827, $e composer.

245:10: $a Concerto no. 1 in C : $b “Moonlight” sonata / $c Beethoven.

511:0 : $a Artur Rubinstein, piano ; Boston Symphony ; Erich Leinsdorf, conductor (1st work).

700:1 : $a Rubinstein, Artur, $d 1887-1982, $e instrumentalist.

700:1 : $a Leinsdorf, Erich, $d 1912-1993, $e conductor.

710:2 : $a Boston Symphony Orchestra, $e performer.

The RDA relationship designators used after the added name entries for Artur Rubinstein, Erich Leinsdorf, and the Boston Symphony Orchestra (i.e. performer and conductor) are ones for contributors associated with the expression of a work (i.e. a specific instance/performance of Beethoven’s work Moonlight Sonata).

Here are some of the RDA relationship designators for contributors to an expression of a work. These designators can be for persons, families, and corporate bodies.

  • abridger
  • animator
  • arranger of music
  • art director
  • cartographer (expression)
  • choreographer (expression)
  • composer (expression)
  • costume designer
  • court reporter
  • draftsman
  • editor
  • editor of moving image work
  • illustrator
  • interviewee (expression)
  • interviewer (expression)
  • minute taker
  • musical director
  • performer

o   actor

  • voice actor

o   commentator

o   conductor

o   dancer

o   host

o   instrumentalist

o   moderator

o   narrator

o   on-screen presenter

o   panelist

o   puppeteer

o   singer

o   speaker

o   storyteller

o   teacher

  • presenter
  • production designer
  • recording engineer
  • recordist
  • stage director
  • surveyor
  • transcriber
  • translator
  • writer of supplementary content

o   writer of added commentary

o   writer of added text

  • writer of added lyrics

o   writer of afterward

o   writer of introduction

o   writer of postface

o   writer of preface

  • film distributor

All of the RDA relationship designators listed in this article have specific definitions attached to each, and a cataloger has to be informed and mindful when applying these terms to names of individual and corporate bodies in cataloging records. Some relationship designators are very similar in name and/or scope and their differences may or may not be easy to distinguish at times. For example, composer vs. composer (expression).

Composer – A person, family, or corporate body responsible for creating a musical work. Use also for persons, etc., adapting another musical work to form a distinct alteration (e.g., free transcription), paraphrasing a work or creating a work in the general style of another composer, or creating a work that is based on the music of another composer (e.g., variations on a theme).

Composer (expression) – A person, family, or corporate body contributing to an expression by adding music to a work that originally lacked it, by composing new music to substitute for the original music, or by composing new music to supplement the existing music.

To illustrate:  In 1997, Jerry Goldsmith, a well-known American composer of film scores, composed the music for the movie L.A. Confidential. During his life, he also composed several concert works. In 2000, the London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Mr. Goldsmith himself, recorded three of his works, Christus Apollo, Music for Orchestra,and Fireworks, which was published on CD by Telarc in 2002.

A RDA compliant cataloging record for the film L.A. Confidential would have composer Jerry Goldsmith represented in the following added name entry:

700:1 : $a Goldsmith, Jerry, $e composer (expression)

For the CD, Mr. Goldsmith’s name would appear in an RDA compliant cataloging record as:

100:1 : $a Goldsmith, Jerry, $e composer, $e conductor.

Multiple applicable RDA relationship designators are permitted in name entries.

RDA relationship designators add to the robustness of bibliographic records, especially those for film and music. Going back to the L.A. Confidential example, an RDA compliant bibliographic record for this film would have many added name entries with corresponding relationship designators for many of the major individuals and/or corporate bodies that were associated with the creation of, production of, and contributions to this work and its expression.  To illustrate, a cataloger has in hand a DVD of this film which is based upon the eponymous novel authored by James Ellroy and is produced and directed by Curtis Hanson. On the packaging, it states, “Distributed by Warner Home Video.” With additional information gleaned from the opening frames and film credits, one may see the following information displayed in an RDA compliant bibliographic record.

700:1 : $a Milchan, Arnon, $e film producer.

700:1 : $a Wolper, David L., $e film producer.

700:1 : $a Helgeland, Brian, $e screenwriter.

700:1 : $a Hanson, Curtis, $e screenwriter, $e film producer, $e film director.

700:1 : $a Nathanson, Michael $q (Michael G.), $e film producer.

700:1 : $a Spacey, Kevin, $e actor.

700:1 : $a Crowe, Russell, $d 1964- $e actor.

700:1 : $a Pearce, Guy, $d 1967- $e actor.

700:1 : $a Cromwell, James, $e actor.

700:1 : $a Strathairn, David, $e actor.

700:1 : $a Basinger, Kim, $d 1953- $e actor.

700:1 : $a DeVito, Danny, $e actor.

700:1 : $a Beckel, Graham, $d 1950- $e actor.

700:1 : $a Baker, Simon, $d 1969- $e actor.

700:1 : $a McCoy, Matt, $e actor.

700:1 : $a Guilfoyle, Paul, $e actor.

700:1 : $a Rifkin, Ron, $e actor.

700:1 : $i Motion picture adaptation of (work): $a Ellroy, James, $d 1948- $t L.A. confidential.

700:1 : $a Honess, Peter, $e editor of moving image work.

700:1 : $a Myers, Ruth, $d1940- $e costume designer.

700:1 : $a Spinotti, Dante, $e director of photography.

700:1 : $a Goldsmith, Jerry, $e composer (expression)

710:2 : $a Warner Bros. Pictures (1969- ), $e production company.

710:2 : $a Regency Enterprises, $e presenter.

710:2 : $a Wolper Organization, $e production company.

710:2 : $a Warner Home Video (Firm), $e film distributor.

Terms are from: RDA Toolkit. American Library Association : Canadian Library Association : Facet Publishing, the publishing arm of CILIP: the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals, c2010.

MARC Code Lists for Relators, Sources, Descriptive Conventions (