Re: [RDA-L] Editor as main entry

Posting to RDA-L

On 08/10/2012 09:38, Keith Trickey wrote:

Point of order! “Main entry” was adopted by AACR2 – Eric Hunter argued against it at a JSC meeting in the 1970s in York and was timed out. It goes back to catalogue card days – when full bibliographic data was entered on the “main entry card” and the other cards relating to that item were listed on the back of that card. The concept of “main entry” belongs to the Cutter shortage era when access was limited (restrictions of the 5 x 3 card and staff to catalogue items and the bulking out of catalogues) and the researcher was expected to understand the foibles of the cataloguer when engaged in a search for an item.

The cataloguer’s arrogance is part of the “main entry” concept. The searcher approaches with catalogue with whatever information they have – could be author or title or words from title etc. For the searcher the information they use to access the item identifies their “main entry” which may be at variance with what erudite cataloguers with a head full of RDA thinks!

Michael Gorman (Our singular strengths p.170 – Filing) illustrates this beautifully!

I don’t know if it is arrogance so much as not reconsidering what you are doing when there has been a fundamental change in technology. There is a difference between main entry and the need to come up with a *single* main entry. This is also called “creator” and “contributor”. In a resource with two authors of equal prominence and status, why should the first one be chosen over the second one, such as Masters and Johnson? As Keith mentions, in a card (or printed book) catalog, a single main entry was a very natural outgrowth of how the card catalog functions, but in the computer world, having to choose a single main entry is an anachronism. In MARC format, the 1xx field could easily be made repeatable, but doing so would have consequences for the rest of the format, for instance, in analytic added entries, where the 7xx would have to handle more than one main entry. This has been discussed at length on other lists; here is one of my posts to NGC4LIB

Nevertheless, there needs to be a difference from creators vs. contributors. This is one part of FRBR that I have actually liked: I cannot see how a single main entry makes much sense in an FRBR system: there are names attached to the work, or the expression, or the manifestation, even to the item if we wanted. It makes no sense to limit any of them to a single instance. Not having to determine a single main entry would make the job of the cataloger easier, make cataloger training simpler, with no loss of access to the public.

Mac and I have differed on this a number of times.



One Comment

  1. Anonymous said:

    I understand your idea about &quot;multiple main entries&quot;. Main – authors (the work); added – one who is not the author, or those who are not the authors (of the work). I also know that we must differentiate between those who are the authors of the work and those who are not authors of the work. <br /><br />But there is an issue that we must be able to explain. Why is it that we call &quot;

    February 9, 2014

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