I am strongly in favor of LC's proposal, for the various reasons already
mentioned, and am likewise not convinced that we should give less
complete and accurate data that we have in hand. There was a huge
disruption in headings when AACR2 was adopted, but libraries achieved
it, to the benefit of the catalog. This is a much smaller proposed
disruption, but again to the benefit of the catalog.
I would like to point out one argument that I have not seen emphasized;
apologies if it has been made and I missed it. To the contention that an
open date is enough to make to an entity unique, I reply that an open
date has a particular meaning, and it is NOT that we know the birth
date. It means that a person with an open date is a *living person.*
(AACR2 22.17A). To deliberately keep an open date on a heading when a
person is known to be dead is to provide catalog users (including
ourselves!) with misleading and incorrect data.
About the filing problem with "b.", "d.", and "fl.": what is the status
of the non-filing start and stop code that was discussed some years ago
in reference to bibliographic records? Could it be applied to authority
records to exclude letters in a date subfield?
Deborah J. Leslie, M.A., M.L.S.
Head of Cataloging
Folger Shakespeare Library
201 East Capitol St., SE
Washington, DC 20003
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