Re: [ACAT] When do I use?

Posting to Autocat

On 03/04/2013 04:49, Aaron Kuperman wrote:

Jurisdictions (such as in the 650 $z) always use the current names even if ridiculous. This led to headings such as “Soviet Union–Foreign Relations–Byzantine Empire”. LC has been moving to prevent this by being more skeptical as to whether a change in name is really a change in the nature of the jurisdiction. This will be explained on the authority record for a jurisdiction. If a jurisdiction became extinct, it is permissable to use the heading even for current works. Also there are some headings specifically for extinct places (“former Soviet…”) that address the problem. I suspect the origin of the problem is that Anglo-Americans are used to stable national boundaries, whereas much of the rest of the world was quite unstable over the centuries.

There is actually a real problem when a single geographic area is given more than one name, and we see the real problems with Russia/Soviet Union/Former Soviet Republics. These led to some of the most complex intellectual knots I have ever had to untie. To see some of the problems, I wrote a short tutorial for the Slavic Cataloging Manual, available at and it is still available on the Princeton site too:

This is an example of subject analysis that is now so complex, I cannot imagine how non-specialist catalogers can assign the subjects correctly, but more importantly how any searcher could find something correctly when these names are used. I remember I added tons of notes in the authority module with the idea of helping people but of course they have all been overwritten.

The heading “Soviet Union–Foreign relations–Byzantine Empire” I completely agree is ridiculous, but ultimately no more so than “United States–History–Queen Anne’s War, 1702-1713” or “Italy–History–1268-1492”.