DVDs of opera productions

As the cataloguer of many filmed operas on DVD I notice that very few libraries use the same Dewey number as I do for these items.   The number I see most often is 782.1 (Vocal music – Dramatic vocal forms – Operas)  However, I believe that these items should be classified under 792.542 (Stage presentations – Opera productions – Single operas)  I would be interested in hearing arguments either way.

Also, I notice that most libraries use the SH 650 Operas for these when surely the correct heading would be 655 Filmed operas???



4 responses to “DVDs of opera productions

  1. 655 Filmed operas wasn’t available until relatively recently, so it’s not surprising that you see more 650 Operas.

    Actually, I’d probably use both headings …

    • I understand that ‘Filmed operas’ is a relatively new heading. However, I would not use both. The 650 Operas denotes that the work is a musical composition. In this case it is an example of an opera production so the genre heading is the only one necessary. Genre headings are what IS not what is ABOUT. If you are concerned the patrons won’t find it in a subject search then create cross references. Operas SEE ALSO Filmed operas or something similar. If the work were about operas then you would use the SH Opera.

  2. How useful is one or the other, 650 vs. 655, to the person searching the catalog? How many people will think to type in “filmed operas” anyway? Using both helps a future discovery layer to apply protocols that will provide a researcher with useful search results. If you do not plan to implement a front-end or discovery layer then how does your OPAC display search results to the patrons? Does it provide SHs as links? If so, then will a global replacement of the 650 to the 655 catch anything it shouldn’t (such as documentaries rather than performances). If so, will the patrons care? What is the users’ experience when doing this search when there are no 650 Operas anymore? How does the cross-referencing behave in your catalog? We no longer have the same uniformity of experience as we did with the old card catalogs. This makes lots of decisions like these local rather than universal. How do we reduce or eliminate idiosyncrasies when the software/hardware imposes idiosyncrasies upon us through the structure of searching, browsing and displaying cataloging data, to say nothing of non-MARC meta data?

    • We believe it to be very useful. With our ‘Discover’ interface, anyone typing in Operas will get everything that has the word Operas in the subject heading. So that means they will get everything with Operas (music CD recordings of operas) and 655 Filmed operas which is very useful if they are looking for a DVD performance of an opera. With our Discover interface, the patron would type in ‘Operas’ and then have the option of clicking on either a DVD or CD icon. In answer to your question, YES our interface does provide regular SHs and genre SHs as links. Documentaries about operas would get the subject heading ‘Opera’, so would not be caught in the search.
      We have created cross-references that work well. If the patron had typed in the SH Opera they would get more results than if they typed in Operas. They would then click on the appropriate icon (book, DVD, CD, sheet music, downloadable materials etc.)
      We tend to use GENRE headings whenever appropriate to describe the ‘ISness’ rather than the ‘ABOUTness’.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s