Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Re: Cataloging issue of journal as monograph

Posting to Autocat

On Mon, Dec 19, 2011 at 11:42 PM, Layne, Sara wrote:
<snip>
True about the series authority record. I suppose we've been using the serial record as a de facto authority record for monographic analytics of that serial.
...
But what I *have* always found counter-intuitive are the LCRIs that you cite-- I want to treat those situations as 'true' series also. Do you suppose the LCRIs are actually an effort to avoid creating the series authority record? And, under current LC policy, to enable the tracing of the 'series'?
</snip> 
Although there is a theoretical difference between a series/analysed serial, and we see it in the usage of either the 490/830 or 730, the final product for the searcher is precisely the same level of access.

The real problem from the searcher's point of view are serials that are analysed only in part. Here is an example in the Princeton University catalog for the title "University of California publications in history" (let's hope the link works!) http://catalog.princeton.edu/cgi-bin/Pwebrecon.cgi?Search_Arg=University+of+California+publications+in+history.&Search_Code=TALL&CNT=50&HIST=1

The first record is for the serial and contains all volumes (vol. 1-v. 82) but only 5 volumes are analysed separately, some even in different formats. I think this would be rather difficult for a user to understand: they want e.g. vol. 12, and it is buried in the serial record, but vol. 18 is in a separate record. Also, it could be interpreted as two different copies, that vol. 71 "Politics of prejudice" by Roger Daniels, is both under F870.J3 D17 1962 and another copy classed with the rest of the serial under D1 .U558. Difficult to know.

It worked somewhat differently in the card catalog, at least in the practices I have seen.

To see how the Princeton card catalog dealt with this, see the completely different heading "California. University. Publications in history" (not that easy to find today in the card catalog!): http://imagecat1.princeton.edu/cgi-bin/ECC/cards.pl/disk3/0713/B3105?d=f&p=California+...+(By+title)--Publications+in+H+%3E&g=52417.500000&n=1&r=1.000000&thisname=0000.0001.tiff with a rather large card set for the serial, and the following cards. We immediately see the note "Vol. 33 and following are cataloged separately; see next cards"

We see that the catalogers added each title to the serial record but did not make separate cards for most of them. Then, as we flip through to e.g. vol. 71, we see that the separate card was filed within the card set for the serial. This is much better than how it works today since one of the consequences of computerization is that catalogers have, in essence, lost control of filing and left it all up to the idiot computers. I haven't seen a level of access for MARC records similar to the card catalog except using components, although that has never been implemented very well, in my opinion.

Still, I think this is the sort of area that is obviously complex--too complex for our patrons--and should be completely rethought to increase the utility of the catalog for the public. Not necessarily for us, since we are the experts and already know how all of this works.

How, using the tremendous power of current systems, could the current methods be improved for everyone? And maybe even for us too?

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