Re: Dr. Snoopy

Posting to RDA-L

On 04/27/2011 10:40 PM, J. McRee Elrod wrote:

This is one change I would like to see, but as an AACR2 revision rather than requiring a new set of rules.

It would be advantageous to have a single main entry for Geronimo Stilton works, and have works produced under that pseudonym brought together in the catalogue and on the shelf.

That the pseudonym is personified as a mouse or cockroach is beside the point. The author is writing under than name.

I agree that all of these changes could easily have been handled through
AACR2/LCRI revisions.

I have done a little bit of looking around at the question of authorship and found an interesting article from The Indexer vol. 18, no. 2 Oct. 1992, “Name of an author!” by Anne Piternick. Traditionally, there has been focus on the idea of finding the real author of a resource and trying to add that person’s name.

From my own researches previously, I discovered lots of problems originally with the concept of corporate authorship, i.e. how can the “United Nations” author anything? This item could not have been written by an entire organization but by specific individuals. I have still had to argue this with non-specialists. In the old days, anything with no specific author, e.g. a journal of a learned society, was handled as an anonymous work. Slowly, the idea of corporate author came forth (Panizzi was first, I believe) and there have been lots of changes since then.

We have also seen changes in how pseudonyms are handled, the concept of  bibliographical identities, and so on.

Concerning spirits, the author mentions them and cites a 1986 article in Nature that was said to be written by God “as revealed to Ralph Esting”. She could not find the citation, but if we were cataloging this, based on the “Spirit” rules, I guess the name heading would be “God (Spirit)” which I find really bizarre, but is probably not any different from “Archangels (Spirit)” or “Heavenly Spirit (Spirit)”.

I haven’t found anything about why spirit writings (or “channeled books”, or books written through channeling) are handled as personal names, but it seems to be a very popular topic even today, and I could imagine someone saying, “Well, who knows? This might really be the spirit of Joan of Arc. Let’s set them up as personal names.”

Mr. Piternick also discusses computer programs, and questions if they can write books. She mentions the Rachter program which wrote a book and asks who is the author: the program or the persons who wrote the program. (The book is online by the way “The Policeman’s Beard Is Half Constructed” LC cataloged it as title main entry with 700s for the two programmers while poor Racter was left out completely) This reminds me of the wonderful Postmodernism Generator that generates a completely meaningless essay about postmodernism. I hope we don’t start cataloging these essays!

My own opinion of Geronimo Stilton, which is not a spirit or pseudonym but everybody can agree is a fictitious character, is that today, people will search using keyword, as in Worldcat, and when they choose a record, they should see some nice subjects with Geronimo Stilton that can lead them to lots of other books.

Stilton, Geronimo (Fictitious character) — Comic books, strips, etc.
Stilton, Geronimo (Fictitious character) — Juvenile fiction.

This seems to be adequate access.

In my opinion, changing a long standing rule such as this will open up a hornets’ nest of associated complications that will be difficult to decide upon, and even more difficult to find a common level of consistency; all to achieve something that is of extremely limited utility to the public, if any at all, which would be similar to what I mentioned before with the changes to Russia/Soviet Union/Former Soviet
. It would be better to focus our energies in other areas.