Re: [RDA-L] Title proper vs. other title information …

Posting to RDA-L

On 02/01/2013 01:25, J. McRee Elrod wrote:

There are several reasons to code remainder of title separately from title proper. Subtitles may differ between manifestations of the same work: having title proper gives us the form for uniform titles, author/title citation. subject and added entries, and until the mistake of removing GMDs, GMD placement. Of course alternate titles should be other title information, as in an early RDA draft.

I guess those are valid reasons, even though everything is still mixed together and I would bet that nobody who browses the title “War and peace” understands that manifestations of Tolstoy’s “War and peace” will be found after “War and peace in the nuclear age” and after all other kinds of other titles that have nothing to do with Tolstoy’s book. Collating a single work that has different manifestation titles is done through the uniform title. Based on experience, and the fact that nobody browses titles like they did in the card catalog, it seems that coding title proper vs. other title information is relatively unimportant and has been so for a long time. Therefore, leaving the coding to cataloger’s judgment seems fine to me.

On the other hand, transcribing other title information should be considered absolutely vital. It seems to have been the case in cataloging in the past–other than abbreviating it when it is very long–but now it has become optional for some unknown reason. And this at a time when keyword makes the subtitles more accessible than ever! The only reason I can imagine is that adding the subtitle/other title information may be optional in ONIX (I have difficulties understanding it), where we see an example:

        <TitleText>خريف الغضب</TitleText>   
        <Subtitle>قصة بداية ونهاية السادات</Subtitle>   

although in the BISG Best Practices which is attached to this, subtitle is clearly optional (p. 15): “At a minimum, a main title is mandatory for every product; subtitles and title prefixes should be supplied as applicable.”

The real advantage of the BISG is that there is a “business case” for every part, although some business cases are elementary. There is no reason given, that I have heard, of making the 245$b optional, or for any of the other changes for that matter. There has been no research on the public, and in any case, I would suspect that almost no one would say that the subtitle was unimportant information and could be dropped. I can only conclude that it has been made optional because of the BISG guideline, which is aimed at secretaries and not for catalogers or libraries.



One Comment

  1. Anonymous said:

    Thanks for this post!

    February 14, 2013

Comments are closed.