Re: [RDA-L] Relator term for “as told to” (RDA-L(#2013-110)

Posting to RDA-L

On 06/05/2013 15:27, Nancy Braman wrote:

Quoting “J. McRee Elrod”:

The complexity of the bibliographic world does not fit neatly into a finite predetermined set of [relator–JW] terms.

True; and it seems to be getting more complex all the time.

Yes. There is another aspect to this as I discovered when I searched for “as told to” in the catalog for some examples. I found this curious example “The confessions of a con man as told to Will Irwin (1909)” available at the Internet Archive and wound up reading it (a fabulous story).

In the preface, Will Irwin writes:
“I hasten to assure the reader that this is a genuine confession; that I figure in it but as the transcriber of a life story told me I believe with every conscientious effort at truth during a month of pleasant association in New York. … I have set down only what he told me, trying through it all to give some flavor of the man and his vocabulary. The vocabulary is not the least interesting thing about that personality of mud-and-rainbows. Uneducated and unread, he has a keen perception of the value of words, and especially of those Latinate words which express an intellectual idea. He pounces upon a new phrase ; he makes it his own upon the moment. I mention this, lest I be charged with dressing these plain tales of the highway in a vocabulary too pretentious for the subject or the man.”

Here, the fellow calls himself a “transcriber” although he makes no mention of using a sound recorder. They existed in 1909, but it does not seem as if we should use “Transcriber”.

I think John Hostage got it right when he asked is it worth it? It seems that if the addition of a relator term is to have any value at all, there should be some level of consistency within it, otherwise too much variation makes it too difficult either to search or comprehend, thereby making the relator codes an academic exercise. But it is an additional task and indeed can be difficult. Sooner or later, people will have to decide whether it is worth it or not.