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MODS  November 2005

MODS November 2005

Subject:

Re: alternate personal names in MODS?

From:

Marc Truitt <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

[log in to unmask]

Date:

Tue, 22 Nov 2005 09:26:48 -0600

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Bruce and James,

Actually, I think 'sensible' is a better descriptor than 'arcane'.  I 
have no illusions that I can explain it more clearly than has Barbara 
Tillett in her posting, but perhaps this may help...

Think of it from a database design perspective.  If you view books and 
persons who have some responsibility for them ('authors', for brevity's 
sake) as database objects, of which object (the book or the author) is 
the name 'Mark Twain' more properly an attribute?  The book _Tom Sawyer_ 
or the person who also has the name 'Samuel Clemens'?  The 'arcane 
cataloguing practice' of authority control is designed so that the 
reader needn't know under what name Clemens wrote _Tom Sawyer_ (or any 
other of his numerous works).  If you regard the name as an attribute of 
the work, then you would either have to append every known variant name 
to each of his work objects or else you would have to settle for knowing 
in advance which variant name went with which work object, would you not?

Happy Thanksgiving,

- mt

Bruce D'Arcus wrote:
> 
> James, I've brought this up a number of times over the last year or two, 
> and technicaly, no, there is no support for alternate names, and it's a 
> touchy subject here because of what I'd call arcane cataloguing 
> practices that have influenced MODS (and now MADS).
> 
> Aside: I had an interesting conversation over lunch at the Access 2005 
> about this with a few librarians and an archivist.  I was explaining it 
> made no sense to me that in the 21st century library cataloguing 
> practices (and the XML formats that serve them) still focus on names.  
> Names, put simply, do not do anything, and are simply labels for more 
> fundmental objects. People author books.
> 
> Anyway, the interesting part of the conversation was the archivist 
> explaining that their catloguing practices are different, and that they 
> indeeed tend to focus more on the objects (people, organizations, etc.).
> 
> Bruce


-- 
*************************************************************************
Marc Truitt
Assistant Dean for Systems                      Voice  : 713-743-8979
University of Houston Libraries                 e-mail : [log in to unmask]
114 University Libraries                        fax    : 713-743-9811
Houston, TX 77204-2000                          cell   : 713-201-0351 


You'll see green alligators and long-necked geese,
Some humpty-backed camels and some chimpanzees,
Some cats and rats and elephants, but sure as you're born,
You're never gonna see no unicorns.
                                     -- Shel Silverstein
*************************************************************************

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