Music Discovery Requirements

II.B Musical Works: Titles

Users' discovery and identification of musical works frequently draws on titles, often in conjunction with creator. Particular musical works are often referred to by many different titles in various languages. For example, Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony might also be called Symphony no. 5, Sinfonie C-Moll, or Symphonie op. 67. Furthermore, users need to distinguish Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony from Mozart’s Fifth Symphony. This reality spurred librarians’ extensive development and application of standardized titles (RDA’s “authorized access point representing the musical work”; AACR2’s “name/uniform titles”) for music materials. To facilitate identification of musical works, it is crucial to display the entire standardized title, in conjunction with creator. It is also important to use authority records or other methods to lead users to the work they seek, even when they begin their search with an alternate title for the work. See discussion of authority records inIV.B.[1]

The current environment focuses on creating a standardized text string (RDA’s “authorized access point representing the musical work”; AACR2’s “name/uniform title”) to represent the work. Cataloging codes dictate the selection of the title language, manipulation of the title, and addition of elements such as medium of performance, work numbers and key to create this text string uniquely identifying the work. In the future, the entire authority record or linked data functionality might be used to represent the work and its attributes. For the present, best practice is to continue including all elements in a text string (particularly medium of performance, work numbers, and key) in title indexes.

Musical works are nearly always associated with specific creators (composers), and the composer’s name is often essential to identify the work and distinguish it from works with the same or similar titles.[2] Therefore, display the creator name in conjunction with the standardized title. However, do not include creator name in title indexes. One specific problem with the indexing and display of standardized titles for MARC data is that some discovery interfaces create separate hyperlinks for the creator in 700 $a$b$c$d$e$j$q and the work title in 700 $k$l$m$n$o$p$r$s$t, and likewise fail to associate 100 and 240.[3] Standardized title combinations can also be created from 110 (corporate name) and 111 (meeting name) in combination with 240 and likewise in 710 and 711, but this is rare for musical works. In the development of discovery systems it is important to create a robust system that will link the data from these fields together to enable users to find materials. Some musical work titles are not associated with names and are contained in MARC 130 and 730.

While having a separable link to creators is desirable (see II.G), creator and title must be considered together in any literal-string-based search tool to function properly. Remember that music is frequently encountered in compilations containing numerous other works, often by multiple composers, and a match on creator and title separately in the same record is no guarantee of a correct match. For example, a CD might contain a Beethoven overture and a Mozart symphony. So, a search on Beethoven symphonies would produce a false hit. This is common. Search tools that harness URIs to identify works unambiguously do not have this limitation.

When a manifestation contains expressions of multiple musical works (for example, song anthologies), standardized titles are not always assigned for every work expressed. Sometimes, titles are merely transcribed from the item into contents notes. For most comprehensive coverage, display these transcribed titles and include them in title keyword indexes. SeeIV.C for further discussion of the challenges of compilations.

Recommendation: Index and display all title fields, except do not display coded subfields not intended for user display ($x$0$1$5$8). A special case is $i Relationship information: RDA encourages the use of relationship designators such as “Opera adaptation of (work)” and “Container of (expression)” to make relationships between works explicit in a way that is human readable while providing anchor terms for future machine manipulation. Subfield $i should display but should not index (or be hyperlinked) as part of the creator name or title. Additionally, the parenthetical WEMI terms are meaningless jargon to most patrons; consider options to display only the main body of the relationship designator and suppress the parenthetical terms, or programmatically replace $i completely with a more user-friendly text string.

Ensure that standardized title strings are associated with their creators; when $e is present, it should display but not function as part of the linked text string. Pursue methods for leading users to the work regardless of the version or element of the title they use to begin a search. For data using standardized vocabulary, make it possible for users to link from standardized vocabulary terms within the record display to other materials associated with the same attribute/entity. This could be accomplished through use of bound text strings for fully authorized terms or via identifiers functioning behind the scenes. In linking and facet creation, and in relevance ranking, privilege standardized title or name/title fields over transcribed titles.

Index and display (Bibliographic/Descriptive Metadata):

MARC: 130 Main Entry--Uniform Title

MARC: 240 Uniform Title (display all subfields; in particular, associate with names in 100, 110, 111)

MARC: 245 Title Statement

MARC: 246 Varying Form of Title

MARC: 380; 382; 383; 384 Form of Work, Medium of Performance, Numeric Designation of Musical Work, [Musical] Key (index as keyword)

MARC: 505 $t Formatted Contents Note Title ($a could also be added to include titles found in unenhanced contents notes. However, this would also add many creators/contributors/authors to the title index. Consider local data to make a decision balancing precision and recall.)

MARC: 700; 710; 711 Added Entry--Personal Name, Corporate Name, Meeting Name (only include title subfields, $k$l$m$n$o$p$r$s$t, in title keyword indexes but display all subfields intended for public display) (in particular, associate name and title subfields)

MARC: 730 Added Entry--Uniform Title

MARC: 740 Added Entry--Uncontrolled Related/Analytical Title

MARC: 800, 810, 811, Series Added Entry--Personal Name, Corporate Name, Meeting Name (display all subfields intended for public display) (only include title subfields, $k$l$m$n$o$p$r$s$t, in title keyword indexes but display all subfields intended for public display) (in particular, associate name and title subfields.)

MARC: 830 Series Added Entry--Uniform Title

Dublin Core: title

EBUCore: Title, abridgedTitle, alternativeTitle, identifier, mainTitle, originalTitle, publishedTitle, translationTitle, workingTitle
MODS: titleInfo + type, authority (for name+uniform title access points such as those defined in the NAF, use matching nametitlegroup attributes in titleInfo and name to link creators and titles; this also ensures the uniform title is associated with the correct name if there are multiple names in the record)

PBCore: pbcoreTitle, pbcoreIdentifier (evaluate data for whether musical work numbers have been recorded in pbcoreIdentifier), pbcoreDescription (for contents of compilations or collections); pbcoreAssetType provides added context for determining if a title pertains to a recording or its contents
BIBFRAME 2.0: classes: bf:Title, bf:VariantTitle, bf:AbbreviatedTitle, bf:CollectiveTitle, bf:ParallelTitle, bf:MusicMedium; properties: bf:title, bf:mainTitle, bf:subtitle, bf:musicKey, bf:musicMedium, bf:musicOpusNumber, bf:musicSerialNumber, bf:musicThematicNumber, bf:partName, bf:partNumber, bf:version,bf:tableOfContents

Facets/Limits (Bibliographic/Descriptive Metadata):

Musical work titles do not lend themselves to pre-search limits.

Post-search facets based on musical work title could be useful, but their long strings make them difficult to employ in the limited real estate usually available for facets. Any such facets should use standardized title fields, not transcribed titles. Facets by medium of performance (which currently is frequently included in authorized access points/uniform titles) could be useful; see II.D and III.G for further discussion.

Related MARC Authority Fields:

MARC: 100; 110; 111; 130; 380; 382; 383; 384

Related MADS/RDF Authority Fields:

MADS/RDF: Classes: madsrdf:Authority, madsrdf:NameTitle, madsrdf:TitleElement, madsrdf:PartNumberElement, madsrdf:MainTitleElement, madsrdf:SubtitleElement, madsrdf:LanguageElement; Properties: madsrdf:hasCharacteristic, madsrdf:elementValue, madsrdf:authoritativeLabel, madsrdf:isIdentifiedByAuthority, madsrdf:identifiesRWO


[1] For more examples and discussion of the complexities of music title searching, see Kirstin Dougan, “Delivering and Assessing Music Reference Services,” The Reference Librarian 54, no. 1 (2013), 40-41. http://dx.doi.org.proxy.library.umkc.edu/10.1080/02763877.2013.734759

[2] This is true for music in the Western Art music tradition, but less true for other musics such as “popular” and “folk” musics.

[3] As a further complication, a 240 may be omitted when it would be the same as 245 $a. One solution might be to associate 100 and 245 $a only when a 240 is not present.