I can think of at least one reason why the 781 field should be mandatory
for SACO but optional for NACO. I don't know if this reason was
considered in making the decision.
The 781 field shows the form used in geographic subdivisions in subject
headings. If someone is a SACO participant, then they are likely to
need this information. However, a NACO participant may not always use
Library of Congress subject headings. Perhaps some of them use Sears,
MESH, or other subject heading systems. For those libraries, it would
be an extra effort to determine the appropriate form for the Library of
Congress subject heading system.
Of course, it is possible to use the 781 field for other subject
heading systems. But I don't think the NACO/SACO programs are involved
with such other systems.
Cataloging Policy and Support Office
Library of Congress
>>> [log in to unmask] 6/1/2004 12:53:48 PM >>>
Can I appeal to the collective NACO/SACO memory/knowledge.
For NACO contributors, field 781 is currently marked as "optional"
Z1). As the LC guidelines for MARC 21 Authority Format put it:
"NACO participants may, at their own discretion, provide a 781 field
Name authority records for geographic headings (151) when creating them
the NACO authority file."
In those same guidelines, LC practice for names/series is marked simply
unambiguously: "Do not use this field."
Conversely, 781 is a mandatory part of a SACO proposal.
I'm less interested in the discrepancy between use of 781 for names
subjects than in the current state of affairs for US NAF.
What I can't remember is how and/or why this field, when it first
to be employed in US NAF, was permitted to be optional for NACO and
never to have been implemented internally within LC. I'm sure there
some discussion, but it's completely gone from my memory. The provision
781s in all appropriate authority records would seem to me to be such
fundamental step along the (admittedly long) path towards more
authority control of headings in our bibliographic records, that making
inclusion in all new geographic authority records would seem to be a
no-brainer. And yet we don't do it. There must be a reason.
I should add, to anticipate those who might suggest there's "no point
because there's all those existing NARs which don't have it", that
automating the provision of 781s in the majority of these existing
geographic NARs, whilst a major project (not least in the
so many records), is by no means impractical or impossible. In any
populating *new* records is surely the essential first step in this
process; devising a plan to deal with the backfile can follow later.
So, first things first. Why is 781 optional for NACO participants?
remember the discussions on this?
Only when we have a reasonable amount of data can we hope to persuade
ILS vendors to develop the functionality to employ effectively that
Remember subfield v?
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