Posting to Autocat
On 9/23/2013 6:41 PM, Wayne Richter wrote:
We are supposed to catalog a resource as it describes itself but this is very difficult to do when a resource obviously is a fiction. I have a book which purports to be about ancient Tibetan medicine before Buddhism by an ancient lama who lived 800 years BCE. The only holdings in OCLC are 5 German libraries (the book is in German and was printed in Germany). Searching the web for information results in page after page after page of bookstores trying to get rid of their copies although I did find a German new age discussion site which had a good laugh about this book.
There is some very crude Tibetan writing in the book by someone who obviously has never had any instruction in writing Tibetan. The book also claims to be translated from English but there is nothing indicating that there ever was an English edition. Any resemblance to authentic Tibetan medicine is remote at best.
My present solution is to use the subject headings:
Medicine, Magic, mystical, and spagiric.
Parapsychology and medicine.
class it in BF1045.M44
and treat it as semi-legitimate although the temptation to use subject headings such as Quacks and quackery and Medicine, Tibetan-Fiction was very great.
If catalogers decided to point out all of the lies, misperceptions, ridiculous conclusions and fuzzy perceptions of everything we catalog, we would never get anything done. Neither the catalog, nor the library’s collection, should be an image of what the librarians feel to be correct or true. There have been some college textbooks placed on reserve for the students that I thought were full of the most incredible misinformation I have ever seen, but I reminded myself that I am a professional and cannot let my own perceptions and judgements get in the way of the patrons’ access to the information.
If something claims that it is about Tibetan medicine, it should be handled in that way. I still believe what I wrote several years ago in a “Library Information Wiki”:
The task of a cataloger is to provide equal access, not to pass judgements. Leave the judgements to the Googles, Web2.0 and Web3.0. That is their job, but not the job of a cataloger.