RDA-L Place of publication: only countries given

Posting to RDA-L

On 5/8/2016 11:37 AM, Heidrun Wiesenmüller wrote:
I wonder whether the countries on the t.p.

Cengage Learning
Australia ● Brazil ● Japan ● Korea ● Mexico ● Singapore ● Spain ● United Kingdom ● United States

are really meant as place of publication for *the resource* at all. Maybe all they want to expess with this list is: “Look, we are are globally active company!” So perhaps this is similar to some advertising slogan like “International publisher”.

While I agree you are probably correct, it is always very difficult to say that we know what are the “intentions” of a publisher. Why did the publisher/printer/whoever put that information in that particular spot? The only honest answer is: I don’t know. It’s very possible that it is just marketing information, or maybe not.

In cases like this, I reflect on the purpose of the information we provide in the record. In the case of “place of publication” it is there only to help identify the correct manifestation/edition. It is not used for access in any way. Some catalogs apparently are set up to be able to find every item published in each locality, and that would be another matter entirely–along with a lot more work to establish the access point: authority control, special indexing and so on.

Place of publication is input primarily to help librarians manage the collection, especially since I cannot imagine that too many people use place of publication to decide upon a resource. Specifically, if they see:

Australia ; United States : Cengage Learning

or if there is something specific from the t.p. verso, such as:

London : Cengage Learning

I cannot imagine that any user would care at all or even notice a difference. Someone would notice a discrepancy only if they were comparing the book with the record rather closely, which is something I have never seen any user do. When a user has the book, they don’t care about the record anymore. Therefore, the only people who would notice anything would be the library’s selector, as well as the cataloger since that is part of our job.

So, in the case you point out, it seems to me to be the perfect place for cataloger’s judgment.