Posting to Autocat
On 27/08/2013 10.14, Hal Cain <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
I thought that for style issues (such as this) not specified in RDA we are supposed to refer to the style guide preferred by the cataloguing agency? Though I’m in Australia, I would normally look at the Chicago Manual of Style. As it happens, I have the 15th edition here at home (not the 16th which is current): section 15.21 lists “PhD” as preferred, optional alternative “Ph.D.” apparently set closed, no space). Good enough for me.
Anyway, it’s unlikely to be a term in a search, I think, so the real issue is clarity.
Since what we make is supposed to be primarily for the users, we should be seeing what they do, not just discussing matters within our closed universe. Besides, it is so easy to look up different style guides today, I thought I would look for what was available: https://www.google.it/search?q=style+guide+%22abbreviations%22+%22academic+degrees%22
A quick overview showed me that adding a space is almost never done. The most popular seems to be to capitalize everything and have no spaces or punctuation, e.g. “PHD” or “MSC”, but there are a huge number of methods, including never to abbreviate, but to write everything out.
From the practical/management viewpoint, typing the alphabet soup after someone’s name over and over and over and over again instead of placing that information in an authority record, where there is the possibility that it could actually be useful, has never really been explained, but let’s set that delicate issue aside for the moment. I only hope that no one tries to search such gobbledygook.
Good management practice should at least aim to make it as efficient as possible for the cataloger to enter the information quickly and easily. Adding a space when there is an abbreviation of two characters or more seems to be just another strange, local peculiarity that is out of sync with the majority of the public; it adds to the complexity, to the training, to the editing functions, etc. On the other hand, the practice of capitalizing everything, with no punctuation and no spaces would be more efficient for cataloger input. That is, unless it was left up to “cataloger’s judgement” as so many of the RDA directives allow.
Why some matters are left to “cataloger’s judgement” and other, seemingly trivial, matters are considered so rigorous, is really perplexing.