Bibliographic Management


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RAK (Regeln fur die alphabetische Katalogisierung)

RAK is mainly based on the Copenhagen and Paris Principles, and replaced the Prussian Instructions (PI) as the standard cataloguing rules in Germany in the nineteen-seventies and early eighties.

The Prussian Instructions were mainly characterized by grammatical structure of title headings and missing corporate bodies, etc.

Online catalogues were introduced based on RAK and using the German exchange format Maschinelles Austauschformat fur Bibliotheken (MAB).

There are major differences between RAK and AACR, although both are based on the Copenhagen and Paris Principles.

RAK uses different terminology in many instances:

  • The title in RAK includes the author statement. In many cases the title proper is not entered as it is given in the item but instead a filing title is created.
  • If you can differentiate parts of works of two or more authors, they are regarded as contributors and not authors.
  • There are no RAK equivalents for collections as defined in AACR.
  • RAK uses different structures for multivolume works.

Currently, many of the German regional networks are importing foreign bibliographic data, especially from the US and Great Britain. This has highlighted the obstacles to exchanging data from AACR countries. In addition, library managers are asking for simplified rules that take advantage of the opportunities of the online environment.

The future of RAK was being reviewed by the Working Group for Descriptive Cataloguing and by the Cataloguing Rules Conference in 1999. A general introduction of AACR is not thought to be possible; it was felt that users would not accept Anglo-American headings, the huge amount of data in old records would not fit into a completely new structure, and that AACR is as highly list oriented as RAK. The reviewers also felt that a completely new code that only took care of online requirements could lead even further away from cataloguing elsewhere in the world. Their solution was to create a new code, which would incorporate some harmonization with AACR as well as several features of better and easier online handling.

In the new rules, significant changes would be:

  • Hierarchies in multivolume works. The hierarchical structure will remain, although records for subseries within multivolume works (and possibly volume records that do not contain bibliographic information (e.g. volumes of encyclopaedias) will not be included.
  • Some RAK terms to be replaced by AACR terms.
  • Encoding of form titles, material designations, qualifiers, etc.
  • Title to be entered as given in item.
  • Accepting single, shared and mixed responsibility of personal authorship according to AACR.
  • Authority files for personal names will in future differentiate between equal names and add qualifiers such as birth and death dates.

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Content by: Ann Chapman of UKOLN.
Page last revised on: 24-May-2005
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