Re: [RDA-L] Dead man writing: spirit, fictitious person or

Posting to RDA-L

On 6/14/2014 8:49 PM, Heidrun Wiesenmüller wrote:

Mac said:

Pseudo-Benjamin shares the real Benjamin’s dates of birth and death

No. The Pseudo-Benjamin should have the birth year of the artist who created the work, and selected the pseudonym, assuming we ever know who he or she is. If we don’t know, or it is a joint pseudonym, then no birth year. I assume the title page has no years for Benjamin.
Ellery Queen, a joint pseudonym, has no years; Ann Rampling has the birth year of Ann Rice; Mark Twain has the years of Samuel Clemens.

I think it depends. For an “ordinary” pseudonym, I agree we should use the dates of the author. But if the fictitious person has a fake biography of his/her own, then I would use those years.

I have been following this thread, and looked around. Where it has been cataloged, I have noticed that so far, catalogers have conflated this pseudo-Walter Benjamin with the real Walter Benjamin, who died in 1940. They are definitely not the same and have to be distinguished.

It seems to me that the pseudo-Walter Benjamin is a pseudonym for a collection of other people who wrote under this name, so I would handle it as has been done with “Rich, Barbara”, a joint pseudonym with Laura
(Riding) Jackson and Robert Graves, e.g.
100 1_ |a Rich, Barbara
500 1_ |w nnnc |a Jackson, Laura (Riding), |d 1901-1991
500 1_ |w nnnc |a Graves, Robert, |d 1895-1985
663 __ |a Joint pseudonym of Laura (Riding) Jackson and Robert Graves. For works of these authors written under their own names, as well as a listing of other names used by Laura (Riding) Jackson, search also under: |b Graves, Robert, 1895-1985; |b Jackson, Laura (Riding), 1901-1991

The heading “Rich, Barbara” in this case denotes only the joint pseudonym and since there is no conflict, nothing more is needed for intelligibility. (I realize RDA wants to change this because it is supposed to be more useful as data) In the case of Benjamin, Walter however, this heading is also a non-unique name (Yes, I know they are no longer supposed to be allowed under RDA) and we need to break the conflict. Therefore, I would make:
Benjamin, Walter (Pseudonym) 
Benjamin, Walter (Joint pseudonym) 
Benjamin, Walter (Shared pseudonym)
(I have seen both possibilities)
depending on whether it is a joint pseudonym or not, and add cross-references for the real authors, if they are available.

If we are supposed to add dates (for some reason), it seems that we would have to include the dates of all of the joint authors, so in the case of Barbara Rich, it would have to be “Rich, Barbara, 1895-1991” (the birth date of Graves and the death date of Jackson) which would make the heading (following Shakespeare)
“…. suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange”

Cataloging is not research, or even about creating something “correct” in the ultimate sense, but it should above all, aim to create something useful and understandable for the users.