Re: [RDA-L] Offlist reactions to the LC Bibliographic Framework statement

Posting to RDA-L

On 08/11/2011 22:21, J. McRee Elrod wrote:

See Chicago Manual of Style 14th ed. 16.35-38. Up to three authors may be given, but only the first is given in inverted order. Sounds like a main entry to me. One has to choose one to invert. Beyond three, only the first is given. (Entry under first of more than three is closer to RDA than AACR2, but like AACR2 in substituting “et al.” for additional authors.) Am I the only one old enough to remember more than one author at the top of the unit card? But *one* was first.

Well, I beg to differ since I don’t see that mere inversion of the name that happens to be first on an item to be the equivalent to the selection of a main entry. Everyone on this list is fully aware that the rules for a single main entry are terribly complex. The same thing happens when you have four, five, or more names. 

Certainly,  *in a bibliographic citation* a single one of all the authors has to come first, but not in a computerized catalog where displays are (or can be) much more fluid. Articles can get wild, e.g. Who wants to trace all of them?! Yet, in the bibliographic citation entry for this item, it would be the first three to seven authors, with the first one inverted. Who can maintain that the first person here is equivalent to a *single main entry*? In the future, I would predict that monographs (whatever form they become) could very possibly approach this level of complexity.
In any case, there is no reason why Johnson should be treated subordinately to Masters, except to maintain our old practice of a single main entry. Many bibliographic databases do just fine without the concept of a single main entry. Look at Amazon with three authors If you look at the cover in the “Look Inside” (I can’t see the t.p.), Masters is first, but in the “citation” Kolodny is first. In the CIP, Masters retains main entry. Dublin Core also avoids a single main entry.

Why continue this practice when there are three equal authors or more? In a card or printed catalog, I freely agree that matters are quite different but in a database, matters are completely different.

If we could get rid of those complex rules, cataloging would become simplified a bit and access would remain the same if not improved. 

Still, I realize that I cannot convince you of this, so we can agree to disagree. Yet, wouldn’t it be great to at least allow the possibility of something like this? In ISO2709, allowing for such a possibility would be terribly difficult, but as I tried to show in XML, it is almost child’s play.