Tuesday, November 23, 2010

RE: Copyright vs. publica. dates

Posting to Autocat concerning the thread Copyright vs. publica. dates

This is an excellent example of the mind-twisting problem of determining what is a manifestation. For this one item--and I am assuming everyone is transcribing what they see on exact copies--we have already seen a whole raft of methods. Added onto this in the "macro-world" of metadata, we still need to note the Amazon method: http://www.amazon.com/Civil-Rights-1964-Landmark-Legislation/dp/1608700402
"Publisher: Marshall Cavendish Children's Books; 1 edition (September 2010)"

and Google Books:

and Open Library:
Published 2010 by Marshall Cavendish Benchmark in New York
(same in Worldcat: http://www.worldcat.org/title/civil-rights-act-of-1964/oclc/430736527)

I am sure there are lots of other variants out there.

Unfortunately, nowhere have I managed to see either the t.p. or the sacred "t.p. verso", but from this seemingly simple example, we can see clearly how there are several ways of describing the same item.

One way or another, these records will be mashed/forced/lumped together. Otherwise, the amount of duplicated work is simply intolerable plus the final product is practically incoherent for anybody searching and using these records.

The mashing of all of these records will be done with the cooperation of libraries or without it. My personal belief is that this will wind up being decided by the people at Google somehow, since they are the big boys on the block, and they already have more full-text books than anybody else in the world.

What is the problem with this scenario? I believe the basic problem lies in the "260 $c - Date of publication, distribution, etc." We are simply putting far too much information in this field; how much does that poor, little "etc." include! Almost any resource has several dates attached to it, and if we had different subfields to put in specifically: copyright date, publication date, reprint date, issue date, distribution date, etc., records would be simultaneously more accurate *and* easier to do because you wouldn't have to decide which dates to include or ignore. It would also be far simpler to train people, because you would focus on real transcription of what you see.

Of course, the changes to 260 won't happen. But the mashing of the records will. Of that I am certain.

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