Posting to RDA-L
On 8/15/2015 3:58 PM, Heidrun Wiesenmüller wrote:
I’m wondering: Why isn’t there an element “Place of Origin of the Expression” corresponding to RDA 6.5 “Place of Origin of the Work”? It stands to reason that if I can give a date for a specific expression, I’ll sometimes also be able to supply a place of origin for it.
While it is easy enough to grasp theoretically, this is one of those things that I have never understood in any kind of practical terms: “Place of Origin of the Work”
This is the “Work” before it has taken on any “expression” (http://archive.ifla.org/VII/s13/frbr/frbr_current3.htm#3.2) “… When we speak of Homer’s Iliad as a work, our point of reference is not a particular recitation or text of the work, but the intellectual creation that lies behind all the various expressions of the work.”
As a result, attaching a “place of origin” to the “the intellectual creation that lies behind all the various expressions of the work” becomes very tricky. For example, if we take Thomas Mann’s Doktor Faustus, begun in 1943 and published in 1947 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doctor_Faustus_%28novel%29), where is the place of origin of the work?
By 1943, Mann had lived and worked in various places and in any of those places, there could have occurred “the intellectual creation that lies behind all the various expressions of the work”. So, if I would say “Germany” for place of origin, chances are I would be wrong. Maybe it was New Jersey or California or Switzerland. Maybe the idea came as a flash during a family holiday in France or Holland. Maybe the “intellectual creation” worked itself out slowly and it took place in all of these areas. Or, of course, he may have had the entire idea of the story of Doktor Faustus from when he was much younger but put the idea aside for the right time.
As a result, in most cases the “place of origin of a work” would lead to a list of places the author lived because it could have been any or all of those places, up to the point in time when he or she began to labor on the initial expression; in the case of Faustus, until 1943. Additionally, it’s a fact that people often find themselves in places they would rather not be, just by chance or for political or economic reasons, just as Mann left Germany because of its political situation.
For place of origin of the expression, at least you are dealing with something tangible: in this case, Mann’s initial writing of the German text. With enough information and scholarship, that may be possible to establish. With something like the Iliad, the idea (work) was around a long time before Homer, we know practically nothing about him and even less about places he could have been living when he wrote down the Iliad.
All of this begs a rather obvious question: determining a place of origin of either the work or the expression is a lot of work and catalogers have never added this kind of information before–who is this supposed to benefit?
While the collocation point for the work is potentially very useful for the public:
http://www.worldcat.org/search?q=au%3A”Mann%2C+Thomas”+ti%3A”Doktor+Faustus” (especially if people understand the power of the facets) or
http://bit.ly/1LeJxis (the beginning of the card set for Doktor Faustus)
turning it into an abstract “entity” with “attributes” that are of highly dubious usefulness, is a completely different matter.
What is the place of origin for Mann’s Doktor Faustus? How much work does it take to establish it?