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

Posting to RDA-L

On 6/18/2014 5:35 PM, J. McRee Elrod wrote:

That the work has been *attributed* to a particular author is not false information, whether the attribution is accurate or not. The suggestion which surfaced in this discussion of $eattributed author is such a neat solution. There is a MARC code for that; now all we need is the RDA term. Certainly the person whom the manifestation *says* wrote it should be an access point. known to be a false attribution or not.

Sorry, can’t agree with that. It isn’t as if somebody is claiming to have found an old manuscript of Benjamin’s and is publishing it now, falsely or not. For instance, that is what Mark Twain said with his “Personal recollections of Joan of Arc” that was supposedly written by her page, the Sieur Louis de Conte and then translated by someone else, Jean Francois Alden. That is at least somewhat believable, even though it came from Mark Twain, the great joker. But to believe that a man who has been dead over 60 years could have authored a work a year or so ago is just preposterous. Everybody knows that they cannot be the same. Even arguing the point is ridiculous and embarrassing.

If we use “attributed author” what does that portend for spirit writings? Do we get rid of (Spirit) because the mediums say definitively that it really and truly was written by Beethoven or King Tut using their body? Or for the books written by mice or by Sherlock Holmes? Do they get “attributed author” too? In all those cases, plus the Benjamin example, none of them are alleged and they aren’t attributed either–they are impossible.

As I said, all of these changes are being made without caring about whether the users want them or not. I haven’t heard or read of any complaints from the public that Elmer Fudd or the Incredible Hulk should be treated as persons.

We should be focusing on creating records that are useful to the searchers. And to do that we need to find out what they need; we certainly don’t need theories. Administrators who are in charge of budgets rarely are librarians today, and they want to cut costs. They certainly are looking at what we do. Many(!) think that authority control itself is not worthwhile and certainly not worth the effort.

When we spend our time putting in blatantly false “information,” it makes us look incompetent and useless.

On the other hand, if research would show that users want information that is known to be false in our records, then that would end the argument because when people (administrators) asked why we were putting in information known to be false, we could at least point to something. Otherwise, we just point to our rules, look foolish, and in the end harm our entire field.