Recent Cataloging-Related Activities: Chinese Library Community

Ben Gu, National Library of China (NLC)


During the past year, the Chinese library cataloging community has been relatively inactive in the coordination of cataloging rules. Although there were several national conferences on library cataloging and several meetings for the coordination of cataloging rules between the National Library and the CALIS (a consortium of Chinese academic libraries) over the past five years, the planned rules are still expected. Due to staff rotation in NLC and CALIS, the work will take another couple of years.

The final text of the ISBD consolidated edition was published in August 2011. A Chinese translation is underway and is expected to be published in the spring of 2012. The draft was done by one translator (Ben Gu) and reviewed by several cataloging experts.

The GB/T 3792 series, one of several cataloging codes in China, is organized by the National Documentation Standardization Committee (China), which is a Chinese counterpart of ISO TC46 (Information and Documentation). The Committee is responsible for the organization of Chinese national standards for bibl iographic description. The previously published GB/T 3792 series is based on the specific ISBDs. The Committee is considering a Chinese counterpart of ISBD consolidated edition. A decision will probably be made in early 2012 after the Chinese version of ISBD is finally published.

Chinese catalogers have been paying attention to the latest developments in RDA: Resource Description and Access. There have been about 30 research papers about RDA since 2006, including three papers in Journal of the National Library of China in February 2011 and five papers in Digital Library Forum in December 2010. In 2011, the National Funds for Social Sciences granted two projects related to RDA and the internationalization of library cataloging rules. It is hoped that results will appear in two year time. Some of the above research focuses on the introduction of RDA, while others compare RDA to Chinese Cataloging Rules. There are two major opinions regarding the implementation of RDA: one is to use RDA directly for the cataloging of Chinese resources, while the other is to adapt RDA to be suitable for Chinese resources and develop local rules for Chinese scripts and publications with special Chinese characteristics. These conflicting opinions are caused by different practices, and also reflect different understandings of the original RDA text. Therefore, a Chinese version is very important for future decision making.

Despite the huge task and the lack of sufficient support, some staff at NLC and other libraries are considering doing a Chinese translation of RDA. A decision has not yet been taken due to unresolved copyright issues.

As to Chinese name authority control, NLC is still analyzing its present authority file. A systematic modification of name authority records remains at the planning stage.

SCATNews : Newsletter of the Standing Committee of the IFLA Cataloguing Section, ISSN 1022-9841, Number 36 (December 2011), p. 9.

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