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PCCLIST  September 2015

PCCLIST September 2015


Re: Instructions for variant access points


John Gordon Marr <[log in to unmask]>


Program for Cooperative Cataloging <[log in to unmask]>


Thu, 10 Sep 2015 00:15:29 +0000





text/plain (1 lines)

I see this issue as a conflict between values: that of being as precise as possible to disambiguate whenever possible to be precise, and that of doing whatever works constantly because disambiguation of any sort is absolutely essential.

With regard to absolute necessity of disambiguation, a number of factors may be in play, but the primary one seems to be creating a perfectly unambiguous database. With that in mind, I hereby request funding and furniture to sit at home and disambiguate every single non-unique name now in OCLC's catalog.


John G. Marr
Zimmerman Library
University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM 87010
[log in to unmask]

         **"I really like to know the reasons for what I do!"**
                                             Martha Watson

Opinions belong exclusively to the individuals expressing them, but sharing is permitted.

 -----Original Message-----
From: Program for Cooperative Cataloging [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Benjamin A Abrahamse
Sent: Wednesday, September 09, 2015 12:54 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [PCCLIST] Instructions for variant access points

I think when they are being used to disambiguate, biographical dates have one advantage over other possible elements, namely that they don't change. People aren't born more than once--except metaphorially, in some religious traditions. So long as catalogers are forming unique strings to serve as identifiers it is probably a better element than others for purposes of qualification.

However, I'm sympathetic to the voices on this list that question the value of dates in identifying people even when their name is unique in the file. I think there are grounds to question the widsom of LC-PCC PS for, which instructs catalogers to include dates (if known) in access points regardless of whether they are needed to resolve a conflict. 


Benjamin Abrahamse
Cataloging Coordinator
Acquisitions and Discovery Enhancement
MIT Libraries

-----Original Message-----
From: Program for Cooperative Cataloging [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of CHRISTOPHER WALKER
Sent: Wednesday, September 09, 2015 2:41 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [PCCLIST] Instructions for variant access points


The usefulness of dates depends, of course, on the name, the dates, and the amount of conflict to clarify. 
If there are few conflicts with the undifferentiated name, dates from widely-separated time periods may pretty clearly differentiate two or three persons, and suffice to produce a usable index in the file.  
A person with “flourished” dates in the 13th century cannot very well be the author of a technical manual for typewriter repair, for instance.  

Christopher H. Walker
Serials Cataloging Librarian
Penn State's representative to the CONSER Operations Committee Member at Large, ALCTS CRS Executive Committee 2013/2016
126 Paterno Library
The Pennsylvania State University
University Park, PA 16802-1812
(814) 865-4212
[log in to unmask]

----- Original Message -----
From: "Knop, Judy" <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: Wednesday, September 9, 2015 8:43:51 AM
Subject: Re: [PCCLIST] Instructions for variant access points

I would agree that the use of dates is not a user helpful way of identifying authors.  I don't believe the point was ever to necessarily identify a person, but rather to collocate a specific person's works and differentiate that person from others.  For that purpose, dates are very useful, but they don't do well with identifying that person for patrons.

Judy Knop
ATLA NACO Funnel Coordinator
[log in to unmask]

-----Original Message-----
From: Program for Cooperative Cataloging [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Dickerson, Eugene H
Sent: Tuesday, September 08, 2015 2:34 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [PCCLIST] Instructions for variant access points

Thanks for adding this additional comment.

Although there is a long history in cataloging practice of using birth and/or death dates to differentiate one identity from another (this device may work OK for the cataloger, and even that is debatable), but I'm not sure how helpful the dates are to the average person who encounters a name in a library catalog.  For example, I'm looking in the NACO file for a Richard Smith who is Professor of Health System Economics at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.  (You can just image how many entries there are for Smith, Richard and all the various forms of that name.)   At this stage, I don’t yet have any other information about this person, so all those dates aren't helpful to me in my search.  In some ways, the occupational qualifier would be much more useful for the average user.  While I'm not suggesting that we abandon using birth and/or death dates as qualifying data to an authorized access point, I think that we may be overestimating how useful that data are in distinguishing one identity from others in a database.  A citation consisting of a name and a title plus other information is probably helpful for a user in identifying whether the person in question wrote on a field of the user's interest, but just a personal name and date(s) out of context is probably not as useful in the FRBR tasks of find, identify, and select, as we might hope.  Although there is a policy statement urging us to add dates to the authorized access point when readily available, I'm not convinced that there is always a great return on the investment in doing this.  Recording the dates in the authority record is useful when they are readily available as one means of identification, but I'm not sure that they always need to be included in an authorized access point.  It's not likely that a lot of users are going to know birth and/or death dates associated with an identify unless the name being searched or retrieved is associated with a well-known person, especially for really common names.


Eugene Dickerson
Team Leader for Cataloging
Ralph J. Bunche Library
U.S. Department of State
Washington, DC
[log in to unmask]
(202) 647-2191 (voice)

No part of any article sent to you by the Bunche Library can be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted without prior written permission of the publisher. The exception are brief quotations.  For a synopsis click here: (Link not valid outside the Department of State.)


-----Original Message-----
From: Program for Cooperative Cataloging [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Diana M. Brooking
Sent: Tuesday, September 08, 2015 1:19 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: [PCCLIST] FW: Instructions for variant access points

Yes, now that undifferentiated name headings are not possible, it is hard to find a qualifier sometimes to differentiate common names. That's why I worry about a proliferation of *different* qualifiers used in 4XXs-- I agree that then would make them unavailable for other 1XXs, wouldn't it? 

And if all the possible occupations or whatever other possible qualifiers are present in 3XX fields in the authority record, and assuming some day those will be visible to users in some form (otherwise why are we creating all this data), that makes adding 4XXs with variant qualifiers seem really unnecessary.

Diana Brooking
Catalog/Germanics Librarian
University of Washington Libraries
Box 352900
Seattle WA 98195
[log in to unmask]

-----Original Message-----
From: Program for Cooperative Cataloging [http://redirect.state.sbu/?url=mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Benjamin A Abrahamse
Sent: Friday, August 28, 2015 11:38 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Instructions for variant access points



I kind of agree with you in principle, but there are times when qualifying by occupation is the only way to make an access point unique.  Especially now that undifferentiated name headings have been deprecated.


That said, adding cross references just to accomodate mulitple occupations strikes me as curious. I should think it would be better practice either to try and find a more generic occupational term, or to figure out which of a person's various roles is most "identifiable".


Still, NACO seems to have decided that all "variant names" are acceptable if an individual  cataloger deems them so.




Benjamin Abrahamse

Cataloging Coordinator

Acquisitions and Discovery Enhancement

MIT Libraries



From: Program for Cooperative Cataloging [http://redirect.state.sbu/?url=mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Gene Fieg
Sent: Friday, August 28, 2015 2:11 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [PCCLIST] Instructions for variant access points


I may be in a distinct minority here, but I should declare my views before I make any suggestions.  I do not like using $c (function) as part of the name, especially in establishing a person in the NAF.

The name of the person is the name of the person without the qualification of function.  For instance, Clint Eastwood; that is his name no matter what his function is.  He may be any one of the following: Eastwood, Clint (Actor); Eastwood, Clint (Director); Eastwood, Clint (Producer); Eastwood, Clint (Mayor).


His name as in NAF should be what it is now: Eastwood, Clint, ǂd 1930-

If a cataloger, wishes to add $c [function], that his/her business for the local library, but it should not be part of AAP.  Function should not be part of it in the NAF.  (As a background to this, we had some confusion in my field of cataloging of distinguishing between Biblical character, Biblical figure, and Biblical leader, etc when such descriptions followed a biblical name.


Such functions may, and I emphasize "may" here, be useful with given names, but not with surname, forename formulations.


Gene Fieg

Aug. 28, 2015



On Thu, Aug 27, 2015 at 7:16 PM, Adam L. Schiff <[log in to unmask] <http://redirect.state.sbu/?url=mailto:[log in to unmask]> > wrote:

A question recently came to me inquiring about an authority that we had created which had some possibly dubiously valid variant access points: 


100 1 Francis, Matthew ǂc (Dramatist)

370  ǂc England ǂc Great Britain ǂf Greenwich (London, England) ǂ2 naf

372  Drama ǂa Stage adaptations ǂa Theater--Production and direction ǂa Acting ǂ2 lcsh

373  Greenwich Theatre ǂ2 naf

374  Dramatists ǂa Theatrical producers and directors ǂa Television producers and directors ǂa Actors ǂ2 lcsh

375  male

377  eng

400 1 Matthews, Francis ǂw nne

400 1 Francis, Matthew ǂc (Director)

400 1 Francis, Matthew ǂc (Producer)

400 1 Francis, Matthew ǂc (Actor)

400 1 Matthews, Francis ǂc (Producer)

667  Formerly on undifferentiated name record: no2003109605

670  New tricks. Season three [VR], c2010: ǂb container (Francis Matthews; producer)

670  Francis, Matthew (Dramatist). Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey, 1997: ǂb title page (adapted for the stage by Matthew Francis) unnumbered page after title page (First presented at Greenwich Theatre on 4th July 1996; directed by Matthew Francis) production notes (our production at Greenwich)

670  Epic stories on stage website, June 24, 2015: ǂb about (From 1990 to 1998, Matthew Francis was Artistic Director of the Greenwich Theatre. His work there included his own adaptations of Tale of Two Cities, David Copperfield, The Prisoner of Zenda, Northanger Abbey and Huckleberry Finn; has worked extensively in repertory theatres across the UK; he was Associate Director at the Chichester Festival Theatre; his credits as television producer include the BBC success Office Gossip and Gimme Gimme Gimme (the UK inspiration for Will & Grace). After working on the second series of the successful comedy My Dad's The Prime Minister, Matthew produced the third series of the BBC's most successful drama New Tricks; began his career as an actor - when, between theatre and TV appearances, he spent three happy months as front man for the Swedish pop group ABBA) ǂu http://redirect.state.sbu/?url=

670  IMDb, June 24, 2015 ǂb (Matthew Francis (I). Matthew Francis is a producer and actor, known for My Dad's the Prime Minister (2003), Gimme Gimme Gimme (1999) and Office Gossip (2001); and: Francis Matthews (II), producer) ǂu http://redirect.state.sbu/?url= <http://redirect.state.sbu/?url=>  ǂu http://redirect.state.sbu/?url= <http://redirect.state.sbu/?url=> 

670  Lipman, Maureen. I must collect myself, 2010, via Google books, June 24, 2015: ǂb (Matthew Francis, former director and administrator of the Greenwich Theatre, also known to me as Francis Matthews)

670  Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey, 1997: ǂb title page (adapted for the stage by Matthew Francis)


The question of course dealt with the 400s in the record that began with Francis, Matthew, which is the preferred form of the person’s name and is also found in the 100 field.


Indeed, RDA does say “When constructing a variant access point to represent a person, use a variant name for the person (see 9.2.3 <http://redirect.state.sbu/?url=> ) as the basis for the access point.”  It also goes on to say that you may “Make additions to the name, if considered important for identification.”   There is nothing in the current RDA chapter 9 instructions that would seem to allow using the preferred name of a person as the basis of a variant access point.  And yet, these can fairly easily be found in RDA-coded NARs created by both LC and other PCC catalogers.  Examples that I found quite quickly by some judicious searching in the NAF through OCLC:


100 1 Cabral, Amílcar, ǂd 1924-1973

400 1 Cabral, Amílcar, ǂd 1921-1973 ǂw nne


100 1 Sáenz, Jorge ǂc (Author)

400 1 Sáenz, Jorge ǂc (Security specialist)


100 1 Franklin, Michael, ǂd 1972-

400 1 Franklin, Michael ǂc (Medical editor)


100 1 Bernard, James ǂq (James T.), ǂd 1977-

400 1 Bernard, James ǂc (Author at PowerKids Press)


100 1 David, Michel ǂc (Film producer and actor)

400 1 David, Michel ǂc (Actor)


100 1 Pereira, Augusto ǂc (Film producer)

400 1 Pereira, Augusto ǂc (Actor)


100 1 Singer, David ǂc (Film producer)

400 1 Singer, David ǂc (Actor)


100 1 Carboni, Bruno ǂc (Film editor)

400 1 Carboni, Bruno ǂc (Film director)


If you look at instructions under works and expressions, RDA does allow us to use a preferred title as the basis for a variant access point. says “Construct additional variant access points if considered important for access” as does  At we have some examples that use the preferred title as the basis for a variant access point rather than a variant title:


Jeanne-Claude, 1935– . Wrapped Reichstag 

Authorized access point for the work: Christo, 1935– . Wrapped Reichstag. A work of art created jointly by Christo and Jeanne-Claude. Variant access point considered important for subject access


Management series (Chicago, Ill.) 

Authorized access point for the work: Management series (Ann Arbor, Mich.). Place of publication of series changed from Ann Arbor to Chicago


And says that you can construct a variant access point for an expression by adding a variant of an addition used in constructing the authorized access point representing the expression.  Example from the NAF:


046      ǂk 1992

130 _0 Blade runner (Motion picture : ǂs Director's cut)

381      Director's cut $a 1992 version

430 _0 Blade runner (Motion picture : ǂs 1992 version)

430 _0 Blade runner (Motion picture). ǂf 1992



I think that there may be times when variant access points for persons, families, and corporate bodies that are based on a preferred name rather than a variant name might be useful.  Catalogers ought to be free to make variant access points of any kind if they will aid users, oughtn’t they?  So I am wondering if there would be support for adding an instruction like what is in to the variant access point instructions in chapters 9-11?  That is, something like “Construct additional variant access points if considered important for access” with some examples.



Adam L. Schiff

Principal Cataloger

University of Washington Libraries

Box 352900

Seattle, WA 98195-2900

[log in to unmask] <http://redirect.state.sbu/?url=mailto:[log in to unmask]> 

(206) 543-8409 <tel:%28206%29%20543-8409> 

(206) 685-8782 <tel:%28206%29%20685-8782>  fax

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