On 25/09/2012 20:25, Laurence S. Creider wrote:
As much as I have occasionally wished for a “BULLSH*T” stamp, our opinions on materials do not belong on an item or its cataloging. We describe what something is, which is not always how it presents itself. Occasionally we receive problems, as when a book presents itself as something that it is not, e.g. Hitler’s diaries. On the whole, however, as a profession we get things right.
At an earlier job, I had to catalog lots of pamphlets where every fourth or fifth word was CAPITALIZED and within a single paragraph, the author would mention Darwin, Jesus, Buddha, Faust, space aliens, genetic engineering and communism, (mostly each of these words would be capitalized) or some things in that vein, and it became very difficult to catalog. The first couple of times I was faced with one of those, I could not come up with any subjects at all, so I thought that classifying first may help. But I remember when I sat at the LC Class Tables–looking at the entire organization of the universe, past, present and future–it seemed that the little pamphlet I was working on could go into any part of the classification, but choosing any one part seemed stupid. “Yes, Beethoven is mentioned so maybe M, but so is Freud so perhaps it’s B, and so is John Dewey, so maybe L. And over here he mentions Hitler….”
I don’t remember any of the subjects I chose (thank goodness) but I do remember that I wished I could assign a free-floater “Bizarre and useless works” both as topical and genre.