Posting to Autocat
On 11/14/2013 3:48 PM, Jon George wrote:
I happen to use “Characters and characteristics in literature|vFiction” regularly when multiple characters by other authors or from fairy tales are featured. The public may not know to hunt for this term, but if they want a book that touches on it, we’ll at have a way to find it for them.
In the case of The Eyre Affair, since one of the main parts of the metafictional novel is people entering the book Jane Eyre, I have also added
600 10 Brontë, Charlotte,|d1816-1855.|tJane Eyre|vFiction.
I am not finding fault with assigning “Characters and characteristics in literature–Fiction”. As I noted, it was a tough choice for the cataloger. People will be far more likely to search for something like “literary characters fiction” as keyword, but of course, such a search will not retrieve these records. In the card catalog, they would have found it, because if they searched for “literary characters” in the card catalog, they would eventually run across this card. They would then know to search under the correct form of the heading and eventually come across the subdivision “Fiction” but these cross-references don’t work in our catalogs today. So, the problem is not assigning the heading, the problem is that the catalog has ceased to function as it was designed. Since it’s been 25 or so years since those cross-references did work, it’s unfortunate but understandable that people seem to have forgotten how everything functioned as it should. I have mentioned this a lot before.
About the heading, in the SCM (Subject Cataloging Manual) H1790, section 6, c, http://www.loc.gov/aba/publications/FreeSHM/H1790.pdf there are guidelines for how to deal with history and criticism about “Fiction about imaginary persons”
“c. Fiction about imaginary persons. For criticism of fiction about particular imaginary individuals, assign the name of the person. Also assign if appropriate for the work the name of the author with the subdivision Characters [name of character] (cf. H 1610).
600 10 $a Doyle, Arthur Conan, $c Sir, $d 1859-1930 $x Characters $x
600 10 $a Holmes, Sherlock.”
True, this guideline is under the “History and criticism” section of H1790, but I personally like the idea of bringing out the character instead of the book. Because it’s true: it is not the entire book of Jane Eyre that has been used in these other resources, just the character, so
600 10 Brontë, Charlotte,$d1816-1855$x Characters $x Jane Eyre $vFiction.
600 10 Eyre, Jane (Fictitious character) $v Fiction.
would seem to make just as much sense.