Re: [RDA-L] “a” rather than “t” for ETD

Posting to RDA-L

On 21/03/2013 12:26, Bernhard Eversberg wrote:

Am 21.03.2013 12:01, schrieb Elizabeth O’Keefe:

Is part of the problem that we use published versus unpublished as a dividing line for textual material but not for other types of material?

Well, apart from the difficulty of drawing it, the Lubetzkian question has to be asked: Is this dividing line necessary?

For a long time, “publication” was linked to getting copyright, making copies and distributing them. A published item had certain protections that an unpublished item did not, in this way there was a distinction between published literature and “grey” literature. Grey literature are/were resources that are printed and distributed but do not normally have copyright protection because it wasn’t seen as worth the effort. You could also have items copyrighted but never published.

Now with the latest copyright conventions, everything is automatically copyrighted from the moment it is written down–even a few thoughts jotted on the back of a napkin–and the distinction between published and unpublished materials has become much less tangible. It would seem that anything on the web is automatically “published”. At one organization I worked at, we concentrated on cataloging grey literature because it was so difficult to get. The web has made that literature some of the easiest to get today.

The dates on a catalog record do not, and should not, have any legal standing whatsoever. The information there is only to help the users and librarians find and identify resources. The use is strictly practical and should be considered that way. Perhaps a more useful way of dealing with the issue is the cataloger should enter dates connected to the resource that will help people identify or find that resource. But catalogers spending their time trying to figure out whether a date has to do with real “publication” would not seem to help anyone find or identify anything.