Re: Objection to author’s birth year

Posting to Autocat

On 27/09/2011 20:15, Mary Mastraccio wrote:

The issue is that the established/authorized form includes subfields with data that is provided by other fields. The authorized form of a persons name should not include his occupation or field of activity, and does not need to include a fuller form of name or associated dates. The authorized form of a name should be just the name, with other identifying information in other fields that can be displayed as needed. If the data structure (authority record) is defined in an efficient way there will be no end of examples of systems/utilities that can index and display the information as many have suggested.

This is correct about display, but even the concept of “authorized form” begins to disappear in the new environment. Here is Lenin in VIAF, and any, or even all, of these forms
could be his “authorized heading”. The collation function of a heading (i.e. bringing related records together in a consistent manner) is being divorced from the label it carries. The VIAF example is a great case in point. Any system that is correctly configured, could easily display the Russian form, the Arabic, or whatever you would want.

But that doesn’t exhaust the possibilities. Here is an example of an old catalog practice, this from the famous catalogue of the Bodleian at Oxford compiled by Thomas Hyde (who wrote down some of the first real
cataloging rules by the way!) in the “Catalogus impressorum librorum Bibliothecae Bodleianae…” of 1674. Here we see a rather remarkable heading that included the cross-references! “Rogerus Baconus, seu
Bachonus sive Bacconus”

And the cross-reference from Bacconus to Baconus is on the previous page, while the reference from Bachon seems to be subsumed under a more general reference to the surname Bacon. Hard to say without looking at his rules more closely. (It’s fabulous to see these rare materials online, and so well scanned, too!) I always kind of liked Hyde’s headings because there was more information, plus you could see some of the work done behind the scenes–something that would make sense today.

There are so many ways of handling matters, and it would seem to make sense to actually ask the public. After all, aren’t we supposed to be making these things for them?



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