RE: Barabbas

Posting to Autocat

On Wed, 7 Jul 2010 00:57:57 -0400, Hal Cain wrote:

>At this point I’m compelled to ask a question I’ve asked before: why is it regarded as satisfactory to differentiate names simply by adding more terms to one of them? The naive reader sees no reason to suppose that the names “Barabbas” and “Barabbas (Biblical figure)” denote different persons. And, to take my favorite example, it is by no means obvious that “Dods, Marcus” [who lived 1918-1984] is different from “Dods, Marcus, 1786-1838” or “Dods, Marcus, 1834-1909” or “Dods, Marcus, 1874-1935”.

This is a good point and in my opinion, is yet another example of something that made much more sense in the card/printed catalog than it does in the OPAC, where by browsing the cards (of necessity!), the user would have seen the records in a type of subarrangement:
Dods, Marcus
Dods, Marcus, 1786-1838
Dods, Marcus, 1834-1909
Dods, Marcus, 1874-1935

In today’s keyword environment, browsing has been abandoned by the public so all of this structure has broken down.

This is why I believe that the Wikipedia disambiguation page is much more understandable both to users *and* to catalogers than the traditional methods: or, to take a really difficult name:

I think the Wikipedia page is clearly better.

>And I see no likelihood that the onset of RDA will change this kind of absurdity, which fosters confusion among our users, and causes ceaseless waste of time to cataloguers who could be doing something more productive!

Completely agreed, but sadly, this waste of time will not only be felt here. RDA, and FRBR, are still based on assumptions that have grown obsolete, and are becoming more obsolete by the day.