RDA-L nonfiling characters

Posting to RDA-L

On 26/01/2015 22.14, Kelley Weber wrote:

The title on the cover and title page is “The Common.” The webpage also indicates that the title is “The Common.” If I indicate 4 non-filing characters in 2nd indicator of 245, it will show up in our catalog as simply “Common” – in my opinion, NOT the title of the item.

Question: Can I put 0 non-filling characters even though the first word is “the”? Is that acceptable and/or correct?

I guess it is too outrageous to ask if these indicators have any real meaning today, when people search completely differently than they did before. For example, if I search “a connecticut yankee in king arthur’s court” in Google. I get “About 351,000 results”. If I search “connecticut yankee in king arthur’s court”, I get “About 354,000 results”. Can’t figure out what that difference is. Probably something to do with indexing, but they should be the same.

In Worldcat, the search “a connecticut yankee in king arthur’s court” gets “about 700” hits, while “connecticut yankee in king arthur’s court” gets “about 927”. Again, I can’t figure out why there is this difference, but probably something to do with indexing, but they should be the same, too.

Title searching was always tough in library catalogs and often title added entries weren’t even made. Author main entry was the major way in for the public. Why? Because reference librarians have long understood that people rarely know the exact title of an item. That meant that you had to look under Twain, Mark (or Clemens, Samuel) to find “a connecticut yankee in king arthur’s court.” In those older catalogs, even those that did add title added entry cards, somebody looking for “Huckleberry Finn” had to know to look under “A” for “The adventures of Huckleberry Finn”. And it got a *lot* harder than that!

For catalogers, who have the item in hand, searching these exact titles is much more important and much easier. But we search catalogs quite differently from almost everyone else.

I’ve looked through Bibframe and it does not seem to have the capability of the 245 2nd indicator. bf:abbreviatedTitle is defined as “Title as abbreviated for indexing or identification” but that doesn’t seem the same.

bf:authorizedAccessPoint “Controlled string form of a resource label intended to help uniquely identify it, such as a unique title or a unique name plus title.” is definitely not it. (See an example of bf:authorizedAccessPoint in that ebook I made at http://blog.jweinheimer.net/books-and-apps)

I suspect the 2nd indicator may be a relic of the physical catalog. Shouldn’t we ask: do we really want people who search for “a connecticut yankee in king arthur’s court” to get zero hits? In the physical world it made sense. What is the purpose of doing it today?

The world out there is changing and we should adapt to it.