With respect to collective titles, it seems to me that there are two trends at present which are quite contrary to each other.

On the one hand, what we see is an increase of the use of collective titles, especially in LC's practice: Not only was the LCRI for AACR2 25.10A abandonded (which said: no collective title if the title proper of the collection is "distinctive"). The rather extreme interpretation of the first sentence of RDA is also a symptom of this tendency. The aim seems to be to reduce the exceptions to an absolute minimum, so that (almost) all collections get a collective title.

On the other hand, there are many people who are highly sceptical of collective titles, and therefore would prefer to get rid of them in as many cases as possible. In the German-speaking community, there even was a suggestion that *every* collection which has some sort of title proper (even something like "Collected prose") should be seen as being known by this title and therefore fall under the first sentence of So, the only candidates for a collective title left would be cases where the source of information lists only the titles of the works contained. These would, however, usually fall under, where the use of a collective title is not prescribed, but merely an alternative (the proponents of the "no collective titles" view of course prefer the basic rule here, i.e. giving the titles of all works contained).

These two tendencies perhaps reflect two different aims:
#1: to collocate all collections of the same type
#2: to collocate all manifestations of a certain collection

The first aim can be reached by collective titles, but only if these are used consistently and comprehensively. Therefore, every exception is problematic. To get a perfect result, even something like "Leaves of grass" should get a collective title.

The second aim would be best reached if collections were treated just like other works (i.e. if the first sentence of would apply to them all). Then, the "real" title of the work could be used to collocate the manifestations. For example, a German edition of Roald Dahl's "Kiss kiss" with the title proper "Kuesschen, Kuesschen" should get "Kiss kiss" as the title of the work, and not "Short stories. Selection".

In my opinion, both these aims are perfectly valid ones, and ideally, RDA should cater for them both. One possibility I can think of is using the "real" title of the work as an additional attribute in the AAP, e.g.:

Dahl, Roald, 1919-1960. Short stories. Selections (Kiss kiss)

Note that the distinguishing attribute really needs to be the title of the work and not the title of the manifestation (as seems to be common PCC practice now). If the title of the manifestation was used, the AAP for a German translation would not be the same as for the English version:

Dahl, Roald, 1919-1960. Short stories. Selections (Kuesschen, Kuesschen)

So, the two manifestations wouldn't collocate.

I can also think of a more radical solution along the lines Bernhard has already suggested: Use the "real" title of the collection as the title of the work in RDA element 6.2, and give information about its collective character in some other element, as an attribute of the work. Actually, these elements are already there: We could use 7.2 "Nature of the Content" to record something like "Collection of works" or "Collection of novels", and 7.3 "Coverage of the Content" to record something like "complete" or "selected".


Bernhard Eversberg wrote:

There can be no excuse for not recording a title in the title element.
This is what even MARC is in fact doing. All that's needed for
collections, and this is from long-time experience outside MARCistan
again, is not a made-up uniform title but an indicator or flag saying
the thing is a collection. This is language-independent.
Presentation software again can turn that into "Collection" or
"Sammlung" or whatever the context requires, placed conveniently
where it doesn't irritate but still add to the information displayed.

Prof. Heidrun Wiesenmueller M.A.
Stuttgart Media University
Wolframstr. 32, 70191 Stuttgart, Germany

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