Re: [RDA-L] Composite identities/pseudonyms in RDA?

Posting to RDA-L

On 11/09/2013 8.20, Moore, Richard wrote:

Mac, you said

I don’t agree with LC that it is OK to have one unqualified form of a name (other than undifferentiated ones) if all other forms of that name are qualified

I agree that it’s really not useful to leave one name unqualified, when that preferred name has been used more than once. Bib records for other identities cluster behind such access points in library catalogues, then acquire erroneous data when someone comes along and adds a qualifier to the access point, so that they can establish yet another unqualified name for a new author.

I won’t argue with this, but if we look at matters from the viewpoint of the users, they would probably state that 95%+ of all names we do are–in effect–“unqualified”. For instance, here is something I ran across recently in the NAF:
Herrmann, Joachim
Herrmann, Joachim, 1913-
Herrmann, Joachim, 1928-
Herrmann, Joachim, 1928- Gemeinsam fur Sozialismus und Frieden
Herrmann, Joachim, 1928- Selections. 1988
Herrmann, Joachim, 1928- Works. Selections. 1988
Herrmann, Joachim, 1931-
Herrmann, Joachim, 1931- Laser fur ultrakurze Lichtimpulse. English
Herrmann, Joachim, 1931- Lasers for ultrashort light pulses
Herrmann, Joachim, 1932-
Herrmann, Joachim, 1956-

The dates are more or less useless for distinguishing individuals. My guy turned out to be 1932-. Of course, there are far worse examples than this. To add distinguishing terms means trying to come to some kind of general agreement on what that distinguishing term should be for any particular author. That could be very time-consuming as well as unsuccessful. Maybe it works on Wikipedia (and perhaps not, I have no idea) but in a group of very picky catalogers, I have my doubts. Besides, it would still be even more work from catalogers, who seem to be in ever-shorter supply and everybody is overworked.

If we could think of this in other ways, could we use the power of the systems to “solve” these matters? For instance, what if we could do something that would automatically append two or three book titles of the most widely held of an author’s works? This works beautifully right now in Worldcat Identities, where you can search my author (Joachim Hermann) and when you run the mouse over the name, you get the author’s most important title. Perhaps adding something from the publication timeline would be useful too. This would be better than what we have now, may be more useful than the Wikipedia solution, and demands no additional work from the catalogers.

It seems to me that sooner or later we will have to think about saving catalogers from additional work, instead of adding more and more to their burdens.