Tag Archives: Access points

Tibet as a subject

TibetBack in 2013 the Library of Congress updated the subject heading: Tibet (China) to   Tibet Autonomous Region (China)

Our catalog had not been fully updated to reflect this change.

Has yours????


Sewing NOT Dressmaking


Just cataloged an instructional DVD titled “Sewing beyond the basics: kitchen accessories”.  The DVD includes a bonus CD-ROM with patterns.

I wanted to add the subject heading: 150 — |aSewing|vPatterns  but this is invalid.

Instead it is a reference for 150 — |aDressmaking|vPatterns  or

sewing-machine-close-up150 — |aTailoring|vPatterns

the DVD’s accompanying patterns are NOT about dressmaking – they are about sewing kitchen accessories.

Bombay (India) not valid for use as a subject

Bombay (India) is now Mumbai (India)

Mumbai mapMumbai

LC still authorizes use of Bombay (India) as a corporate name heading. However Bombay (India) IS NOT VALID FOR USE AS A SUBJECT! When cataloguing a work ‘about’ use Mumbai (India) The city’s name was officially changed in 1996.

Gee…. I sure miss those old Cataloging Service Bulletins!  I would have amended our database way before now…

Author dropped in French translation?

I encountered a curious case today and wondered if anyone else has every seen this type of thing…

While cataloguing the French language translation of “Sail” by James Patterson and Howard Roughan I noticed that the co-author Howard Roughan was NOT mentioned anywhere on the french novel !!  What does this imply?  That because a translator came along and translated the English to French that suddenly this negated the credit of the co-author?  Ridiculous!  When I catalogued it I put the co-author in square brackets.

245    1 0    $aDernière escale /$cJames Patterson [et Howard Roughan] ; traduit de l’américain par Philippe Hupp.

I wonder if I had not been familiar with the English version would I have even noticed the omission??

ACCESS… an acronym


With all the talk lately about RDA and social catalogues, many think that the role of the cataloguer will change.  Of course, many small parts of the method of cataloguing WILL change.  Change is ongoing. Whether it be a few new MARC tags to remember, new subject headings, changed call numbers, etc.

One thing we as cataloguers must remember though is that our ROLE remains the same.  Our purpose is  to provide ACCESS to the materials in our libraries, whether they be physical objects such as books or DVDs, or whether they represent remote materials such as downloadable audio and video, computer files, e-books, etc.

ACCESS means not only following the rules, but sometimes enlarging on them.  Sometimes we have to make up for the idiosyncracies of our software by adding an alternate title with a different spelling.  Or, perhaps you will have to make up for software deficiencies.  When cataloguing a title with an ampersand, I have to offer a variant title with the word ‘and’ in place of the ampersand because patrons might search using the word ‘and’ instead and our software does not compensate for this.  Then there is the difference between Canadian and American spelling…

ACCESS means using subject headings to fully describe our material.  Sometimes that means going beyond the authorized subject heading and adding a locally created heading if it will provide easier access to the item.

Although rules are what we live by, we must know the rules inside out in order to break them to our patron’s advantage.

Remember the cataloguing mantra though!  I WILL BE CONSISTENT!  I WILL BE CONSISTENT! I WILL BE CONSISTENT! I WILL BE CONSISTENT!    This is even more important when creating local headings — or in fact any time you stray from established rules.  Consistency when cataloguing allows all of the catalogue users dependable sources of information.  If you enter a subject genre heading under Romantic suspense novels for one bib record, and for another enter the genre as Romantic suspense fiction, you are making your catalogue murky.  Now there are two places for the patron to search for one topic!  A patron using the first variation will not get a complete reflection of the library’s Romantic suspense with their search.  They may then miss out on the novel they are searching for!  Spelling errors and typos are culprits as well.  Whenever there is more than one heading for any given topic, the efficiency of your catalogue decreases and the patron’s ACCESS is diminished.

New genre headings

Every day I try to do a wee bit of database maintenance, but with a backlog of work this is not always possible.
Since I catalogue the non-feature DVDs for my library, today I updated some of the new genre headings.
Travelogues (Motion pictures, television, etc.) has been broken up into two separate headings:
Travelogues (Motion pictures) AND
Travelogues (Television programs)
Historical reenactments has been broken up into two separate headings:
Historical reenactments (Motion pictures) AND
Historical reenactments (Television programs)

Some more recent genre headings:
Filmed operas
Filmed musicals
Filmed ballets
Filmed sports events
Filmed lectures
Filmed speeches
For the novice cataloguers out there the thing to remember about genres is this:
655  GENRE headings describe WHAT IT IS (places it in a category)
650 Regular subject headings describe WHAT IT IS ABOUT
Thus you could have a work which relates the history of the horror movie over the last 50 years. This work would get a 650  Horror films because it is ABOUT horror films.
The movie “The exorcist” would get a 655 Horror films because it IS a horror film.
The same logic applies to $x subject sub-divisions vs. $v form sub-divisions.
If the sub-division describes the  ABOUTNESS of a topic it goes in a $x
If the sub-division describes the IS/FORM of the work it goes in a $v
Catholic Church$xPeriodicals$xHistory
(a work ABOUT the history of Catholic magazines)
Catholic Church$xHistory$vPeriodicals
(IS a magazine about the history of the Catholic Church)

The Rule of Three

Anyone who has ever taken a cataloguing course will recognize the term “The Rule of Three”.  But… does it really matter anymore?  Shock ! Horror!  A cataloguer who is questioning the validity of a cataloguing rule!

In cases where more than three authors share responsibility for the creation of a work, the  Rule of Three dictates that the catalog should provide added entry under only the first author named. This practice discriminates unfairly against the authors whose names are not included and hampers those patrons who only recall the name of one or more of those authors overlooked by the catalogue.

card catalogue drawer

card catalogue drawer

The rule was created in the days of the card catalogue.  Remember the lovely oak ones with the tiny little index cards.  To cut down on the amount of cards (and the amount of typing) it made sound sense to go with “The rule of three”.

Now however, with the online catalogue, it makes even more sense to forget the rule.  If a work has six authors why not trace all six?  It is simply a matter of entering the names in 700 tags.  Be honest, if you helped to write a book and your name was entered fifth, wouldn’t you want to be able to access the work by your name?

The Library of Congress is currently reviewing the ‘rule of three’.  There is a proposal to make the limitations imposed by the rule ‘optional‘.

Rule 21.29D currently allows for additional added entries to be made if required by cataloguers.

Making the ‘Rule of Three’ optional for bibliographic description increase access and is more designed for today’s digital environment.

The amended Rule 1.1F5 would read:

1.1F5  If a single statement of responsibility names more than three persons or corporate bodies performing the same function, or with the same degree of responsibility, omit all but the first of each group of such persons or bodies.  Indicate the omission by the mark of omission [… et al.] Optionally, transcribe statements of responsibility appearing in the chief source of information in full, regardless of the number of persons or corporate bodies named.

I have chosen to exercise the option.  Have you?  I am interested to hear how other cataloguers are dealing with this issue.