ACAT Czechoslovakia/Czech Republic

Posting to Autocat

On 8/13/2014 4:29 PM, Marc Truitt wrote:

On 08/13/2014 08:57 AM, Kuperman, Aaron wrote:
For local place names we use the current jurisdiction, regardless of how anachronistic is. Thus we’ll use: $z Czech Republic $z Prague not only for a contemporary work , but for something about in the 1940s, or even the 16th century (a book about the Golem of Prague will get a $z for the 2014 place name) or even the prehistoric past (I once had to decide whether a book on “Dinosaur tracks” dealt with Israeli dinosaurs, Palestinian dinosaurs, or West Bank dinosaurs, even though Israel and the West Bank in their current boundaries are 20th century creations but “Gondwana” isn’t allowed – BTW I went with “Palestine” which is defined to be the historic region of the “Holy land”).

Two hours later and I’m still laughing about this, Aaron. Thanks for making my day!

While this really is humorous, just as funny as the possibility of Soviet birds, I always think about the users. How is someone who is interested in books about dinosaurs in a specific area of the world supposed to know that they need to look under “Dinosaurs–Palestine” or “Dinosaurs–West Bank” or “Dinosaurs–Gaza Strip”? This is something that probably wouldn’t even enter people’s minds.

True, there are cross-references, e.g. under Israel

which has a cross-reference to Palestine (which in turn has a scope note and cross-references to Gaza Strip, West Bank and Israel) but the only way for users to see this structure is if they search for left-anchored browse “Israel” or “Palestine” etc., and if they search for the more realistic “Dinosaurs–Israel” or a variant, they cannot ever know of the other possibilities.

Of course, practically nobody searches by left-anchored browses any longer, and if you do a real-world search using keywords “dinosaurs israel” etc., you never see any cross-references at all. And yet, if people want information on these topics, they absolutely need these references.

So yes it is funny, but for real-life people who are really searching for information they need and want, this is anything but funny; in fact, it is entirely incoherent. Plus, it is further evidence–to them–that our catalogs do not provide what they want and are obsolete.

Sooner or later, catalogers will have to take the plight of the searchers seriously, and create something that will really serve their needs, not only ours.