I agree with Robert, Alva and Arlene. I am extremely tired of
apologizing for not adding death dates. For the last 15 years, 10
as a NACO contributor, I've apologized based on "LC can't do BFM"
to those small libraries and reference librarians that others on
the list are attempting to 'protect'. Those people are adding the
death dates and the vendor I use and 'support', Marcive, respects
that position, by not deleting the dates in headings on
bibliographic records they process.
Another benefit that I see to making the change now is that my work
as an authorities librarian would have more respect because I am
able to respond to requests to add a death date. Perhaps authority
work will be seen as valuable again, instead of just expensive.
I'm sorry some systems do not yet make maintenance easy, but I do
not think waiting to make the change will help. Making the change
now will pressure those systems to make the maintenance easier.
There are ways to use vendors that will allow those of you with
clunky systems to implement the change.
For me and my current setup, I will have little additional work
because a date is added to an existing authority record. What does
take time for me are 'non-unique' authority records. I would like
to see us move toward the music position where appropriate terms
are added to names to make them undifferentiated when created. I
appreciate all the work that the British Library does to make names
on their records 'unique'. However, each month I spend hours
tracking those down, trying to determine what the name is 'now'. If
we established these with a phrase 'author of...' or any of the
other mechanisms we use for older names, a change to that heading
later when a date or more information is available, would be much
more efficient for me to handle.
While I support adding dates to names when established, I do not
support the use of the b. and d. dates. These are confusing in
displays. I also think that we should 'rethink' the part of the RI
that makes us consider AACR2 headings in bibliographic records. I
spend more time answering trainees questions about this than almost
anything of substance. If we have a date, let us add it. There will
not be more BFM, that can't easily be handled.
My 2 cents based on many years,
Mary Charles Lasater