Music Discovery Requirements

II.G Musical Works: Persons and Corporate Bodies

The “created by” relationship is very important for users to find, identify, and select musical works associated with a particular composer or other creator(s). Usually, the composer is a single person; more rarely, corporate bodies or multiple persons can serve as creators. It is important to index and display all personal and corporate names, both transcribed forms and standardized vocabulary.[1]

Once a user has identified a work created by a particular composer, the interface should link to more materials related to that person. When the data utilizes standardized vocabulary, the system should fully exploit the existing standardized vocabulary. For example, clicking on a link within a record for a work composed by John Adams the composer (Adams, John, 1947-) should locate only materials related to this person, not items related to either president or to other persons named John Adams.[2] In many current systems, this will mean utilizing the bound text string for the full authorized form of name as the link. Alternately, a unique identifier could function behind the scenes, regardless of interface display. For further discussion of issues surrounding standardized vocabulary, see the discussion of authority records in IV.B.

Other names may be associated with a work as subjects (such as music about or in homage to a person) and these should be indexed and displayed, but as “subjects” rather than “creators/contributors/authors.”[3]

In addition to seeking specific known persons and corporate bodies, users may seek works associated with persons/corporate bodies possessing particular attributes, such as date, nationality, language, or field of activity. In legacy AACR2/MARC data, the only one of these attributes recorded with any frequency is birth/death/activity dates of persons. In contrast, RDA allows for recording, for persons: date, gender, place of birth, place of death, associated country, place of residence, address, affiliation, language, field of activity, associated group, and profession/occupation of person; and for corporate bodies: associated place, associated date, associated institution, number of conference, other designation, language, address, and field of activity. MARC 046, 370-377, and 386 have been defined in the authority format, and MARC 046, 370, 377, and 386 have been defined in the bibliographic format, to provide machine-actionable fields for this data. If these fields were regularly encoded, this data could be exploited to answer questions like “What music do you have by French women composers born before 1950?”, through use of facets or limiters. However, MARC/AACR2 legacy data does not contain this information; furthermore, these RDA elements, except birth and death dates for persons, and dates and locations of conferences, are not currently considered “core” RDA elements by the Library of Congress, except when needed to differentiate persons/corporate bodies. However, it might be possible to connect to other sources which have already mined this data such as WorldCat Identities (, ORCID (, ISNI (, the Virtual International Authority File (, or RISM ([4]

Other persons besides the composer can be related to the musical work, such as librettists and lyricists.[5] The relationship is sometimes collaborative (composer and lyricist work together on words and music) and sometimes involves an independent work (a literary text which the composer sets to music). Current encoding standards do not make the relationships clear in ways that could easily be machine-manipulated for discovery; future data recording and encoding might support more granularity in discovery.[6] In addition, many more persons and corporate bodies contribute to musical expressions and manifestations; see discussion in III.J.

Recommendation: Index and display all personal and corporate names. Exploit data utilizing standardized vocabulary or identifiers to allow users to differentiate between people/corporate bodies with similar names; 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 texts strings for full authorized terms or via identifiers functioning behind the scenes. Explore methods of allowing users to seek works based on attributes of related persons/corporate bodies.

Index and Display (Bibliographic/Descriptive Metadata):

As “creators/contributors/authors”:[7]

Standardized vocabulary: [8]

MARC: 100; 110; 111 Main Entry--Personal Name, Corporate Name, Meeting Name

MARC: 700; 710; 711 Added Entry--Personal Name, Corporate Name, Meeting Name

MARC: 800, 810; 811 Series Added Entry--Personal Name, Corporate Name, Meeting Name

MARC: $4 Relationship; $e Relator term (assess data for presence and potential duplication) (display codes in vernacular) (index for use as facets, but do not include in the creator/contributor/author index)

Non-standardized vocabulary:

MARC: 245 $c, 508, 505 $r Title Statement-Statement of responsibility, etc., Creation/Production Credits Note, Formatted Contents Note--Statement of responsibility

Persons and corporate bodies referred to in notes will often, but not always, be included in controlled vocabulary fields. Including these notes in the “author” keyword index will give fullest coverage of persons and corporate bodies. 245 $c might also be included, but this subfield may also contain title and other non-creator/contributor/author data. 505 $a could also be included to include creators/contributors/authors found in unenhanced contents notes. However, this would also add many titles to the creator/contributor/author index. Consider local data to make a decision balancing precision and recall.

Analyze data for standardized/non-standardized vocabulary (best practices call for adopting an authority source, but this may not always be done)

Dublin Core: creator ; contributor

EBUCore: hasContributor; hasCrewMember; groupName

MODS: name / namePart + type; role + roleTerm; nameIdentifier contains standard identifying numbers or codes, such as an ORCID identifier, which should be indexed but many not necessarily be appropriate for unmodified display

PBCore: pbcoreCreator (creator, creatorRole)

BIBFRAME 2.0: Classes: bf:Agent, bf:Person, bf:Organization, bf:Jurisdiction, bf:Family, bf:Meeting, bf:Contribution, bf:role; Properties: bf:agent, bf:contribution, bf:Role

As “subjects”:

Standardized vocabulary:

MARC: 600; 610; 611 Subject Added Entry--Personal Name, Corporate Name, Meeting Name

Dublin Core: subject, relation

EBUCore: hasSubject

MODS: relatedItem

PBCore: pbcoreSubject + subjectType

BIBFRAME 2.0: Classes: bf:Topic; Properties: bf:subject + Agent classes & properties

Facets/Limits (Bibliographic/Descriptive Metadata):

Include persons and corporate bodies contained in standardized vocabulary “creator/contributor/author” fields in a “creator/contributor/author” facet.[9]

If evaluation of data suggests roles are regularly and uniformly encoded, consider incorporating this information into faceting (for example, to allow easy filtering of Leonard Bernstein as composer vs. Leonard Bernstein as conductor).

Related MARC Authority Fields:

MARC: 100; 110; 111

Related MADS/RDF Authority Fields:

MADS/RDF: Classes: madsrdf:Name, madsrdf:CoporateName, madsrdf:PersonalName, madsrdf:NameElement (and subclasses)

[1] Outside of art music traditions, the lines between creators and contributors such as performers or arrangers (see III.J) may be blurred, and contributors are often presented and publicly perceived as having creative responsibility while creators may be identified nebulously or not at all, share responsibility in unclear ways, or be conflated (correctly or not) with copyright owners. In such cases contributors may be far more important than creators for locating and identifying a resource, thus underscoring the need to make all names available in records.

While including transcribed names may reduce search precision or provide incomplete results (a user may perform a keyword search on a transcribed form and retrieve only those records containing the transcribed form, representing only a portion of available items related to that name), it is valuable because the user may have seen the transcribed form on the item, and in some cases, standardized vocabulary is not present in the data for all names.

[2] Including another composer: Adams, John Luther, 1953-.

[3] Mostly, subject headings for persons and corporate bodies reflect subject relationships. Authors of texts set to music are an exception. SHM H 1110 instructs addition of a subject heading for the name of the person whose writings or words are set to music, with the form subdivision “Musical settings” appended. In this case, the person has a creator relationship, not a subject relationship to the work. However, RDA and MLA Best Practices instruct creating an authorized access point for creators and related persons, families, and corporate bodies (RDA, RDA, MLA BP, and AACR2 instructed to create added entries for the person whose words are set, making manipulating the subject headings to bring out the creator relationship less vital. Subject Headings Manual (SHM) H 1110, July 2015, accessed August 25, 2017,   (

[4]Furthermore, for this information to be encoded, anywhere, it must be known, and it may not be, particularly for older and/or obscure entities. In addition, some entities may not agree with labels applied to them, or even with the practice of applying such labels.

[5] Audiences are also related, but do not contribute to the work. MARC 385 was defined in 2013 to contain information on audience characteristics. If this field is regularly coded in the future, evaluate best ways to leverage it in discovery.

[6] 1) MARC proposal 2017-01, passed January 21, 2017, will allow subfield $4 to contain URIs. Once this change is implemented, $4 will need a readable label and machine manipulation possibilities may expand. 2) RDA’s relationship designators, recorded in MARC $i, are readable text strings but the terminology is not straightforward for patrons. $4 codes (translated to vernacular) and $e text strings could be displayed or manipulated to facets, but first assess data for field presence and consistency. Per PCC practice, RDA records may contain both a $4 code and an $e text string, so displaying all could result in displays like: Doe, Jane (Actor). singer, singer. See II.B for additional discussion of these issues.

[7] The specific label for the creator/contributor/author index will vary among discovery interfaces.

[8] MARC 600, 610, and 611 are purposely excluded here. These field primarily contains names used as subjects and so should not be included in creator/contributor/author indexes. A notable exception: authors of texts set to music are encoded in 600, with $v Musical settings appended. However, these text authors are also encoded in a 700 field and so will be included in the creator/contributor/author index via that data.

[9] The specific label of this facet will vary among discovery interfaces. Balance brevity with clarity and consideration of non-text formats.