I have approached authors by e-mail many many times asking for birth dates and/or middle names and have NEVER been turned down, and have never been accused of running a identity theft ring-even in New York :-) Most authors are flattered to know that their book is being cataloged in an international database and if you explain why you need the information, people are forthcoming. I usually explain that when we catalog a book (or whatever it is the person produced) we like to make access points in the record for names of all significant persons, but in order to do that the name must be unique (not identical to anyone else's already in the database). Then I say that there is unfortunately already another Jacob Smith in the database and so we need to make the person-I'm-writing's form different, and that we usually do this by adding a birth year or middle name. Most authors are familiar with the way names appear in library and other databases, and so this request is not thought inappropriate. At least nobody has refused to help me yet, much less got mad at me. So please do not hesitate to contact people for information.
Robert L. Maxwell
Head, Special Collections and Metadata Catalog Dept.
6728 Harold B. Lee Library
Brigham Young University
Provo, UT 84602
From: Program for Cooperative Cataloging [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Whitsitt, Kathleen S
Sent: Wednesday, August 06, 2008 7:15 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Consulting the Collective wisdom (Levity)
This kind of touches on an issue I've been wondering about. I am just
now learning how to make NARs as a Texas NACO Funnel participant. I
have not approached any authors for personal information as yet. I'm
very hesitant to do so, and don't have a clue as to the best approach.
Do you just introduce yourself as a PCC cataloger, and explain the need
for additional personal information in bibliographic databases? And do
people understand what any of that means? Do catalogers usually consult
with the legal departments of their institutions for policy
clarifications on requesting personal information from people this way?
Personally, I would be very wary of anyone calling or emailing me for
personal information, if I didn't fully understand why it was needed.
It would be good to hear any guidelines or advise about that.
Authority Control Librarian
Automated Library Services
Lone Star College System
5000 Research Forest Drive
The Woodlands, Texas 77381-4356
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