As librarians the “statement of responsibility” has always worked beautifully as both the source for access points and as a description of the resource. And authority files have been the logical solution to name variations.
The Dublin Core property, “creator”, is not so easily managed, as anyone who begins working with repositories soon discovers. Author names and affiliations are problematic: How to handle multiple affiliations and periodically changing affiliations? How to store or link to authors’ personal and institutional webpages, blogs and wikis, email addresses, name variations and other contact details?
Attempting to think in terms of “statement of responsibility”, even simply trying to quantitatively expand the AACR2 concept, soon breaks down in the IR environment.
The reason is that the IR world is attempting to deal with the creator as two distinct concepts that can never be equivalent.
On the one hand, there is the creator as a name on a published document. The name there is “a statement of responsibility”, and it is also a description of the document. “This book is one that is written by A.B.”
But on the other hand, we want to treat the creator as a person who sits in an office at a computer and who has a work history and number of ongoing professional activities and access points. In this case, the creator can never be “a statement of responsibility”, apart from some joking remarks I am sure can be found there.
So what is the relationship then between the two concepts of “creator”?
The former is an expression of the latter. (But I am not not not using the term “expression” as applied in the FRBR model.) The name on a title page of a document is an expression of the person in the office. Each new publication of that person in the office will carry another title-page expression of that personal creator.
Sometimes a personal creator will use a different form of their name; sometimes they will write with a different affiliation; sometimes they will be a leading or contact author among many authors, other times they will be a sole or minor author.
So a single real person creator can and often does have multiple creator expressions. It might seem like a nit picky splitting of hairs, since our intuitions can tell us when me mean which is which without any fuss. But computers can’t be programmed with intuition yet, so nitpicky breakdowns are necessary to explain it to machines to they can understand it and do what we want them to do for us.
AACR2 only had to worry about the expressions of the creator and call them “the statement of responsibility”. It is only trying to manage collections of paper or audio-visual and even some digital resources but not authors in offices.
If AACR2 can be said to be for 2 dimensional resource collections, maybe we are now looking towards virtual 3-D collections. At least when the organizational and financial props come into place. Because maybe what the above implies is the need for a community recognized access point of not “document” or “image” or “dataset” resources etc, but of “creator” resources, or simply a database of, or access point for, creators.
(And org and $$ props need to be coupled with community support, which calls for leadership and educational efforts . . . . Another story.)
Although I am not using the word “expression” in the way the FRBR model applies it, the FRBR model does nonetheless deal with the issue by assigning the dc term “creator” to a scholarly work entity and separating out the “agent” (with personal names and details) as another entity.
DCMI Terms and the DC abstract model (DCAM) explain this more technically.
The DCMI term ‘creator’ is a “property” term. It is defined as “an entity primarily responsible for making the resource”.
Other property terms include “title”, “subject”, “type”, “publisher” and heaps more.
In addition to “property terms” DCMI also uses “class terms”. These include Agent, BibliographicResouce, MediaType, and lots more but not as many as the property terms.
The DCAM shows that a property can belong to any number of different classes. The “creator” property can logically belong to both the Agent and the BibliographicResource classes.
The creator is thus a discrete property that can belong to other classes but, can never be confused with those other classes.
The old “statement of responsibility” is clearly nothing more than just what it says, a descriptive statement on a title page or cover. It has served libraries well and will deserve an honorable memorial.