John Marr wrote:
Some other questions need to be brought into this discussion, i.e. one might wonder what explicit and determining data caused a cataloger to assume that the conversion of a unique record into a non-unique record (for the same person!) was even necessary in the first place?
There's really nothing mysterious about that. It's because the data we have at our disposal is often incomplete and ambiguous. As Richard was perhaps suggesting, the authors we catalog are sometimes "cave shadows," and we don't have unambiguous information on them until we run into it. The cataloger who "undifferentiated" that authority thought there was genuine doubt the works were authored by the same person, and then Casey ran into a source that proved they were. What could've been "explicit and determining" before that?
I suppose this is something of a matter of priorities. I seem to be putting the burden of proof on those who accept two similar identities as the same, and John is putting it on those who think they may be different. Eventually, if we're doing a good job, we have to find the differences. But I suppose the question is how best to do that.
I appreciated Stephen's explanation of the problem of shifting identities for undifferentiated headings.
UAB Lister Hill Library
So I guess my question would be:
From: Program for Cooperative Cataloging [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of john g marr
Sent: Wednesday, June 02, 2010 2:31 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [PCCLIST] a NACO question
On Wed, 2 Jun 2010, Casey A Mullin wrote:
> I very recently encountered an undifferentiated heading, representing
> what were thought to be two people ... [but] . My there was really only
> one person in question, and I was able to "fix" the NAR accordingly,
> quick and painlessly. If two NARs had been established, using |c-style
> qualifiers, this process would have been considerably more lengthy.
Some other questions need to be brought into this discussion, i.e. one
might wonder what explicit and determining data caused a cataloger to
assume that the conversion of a unique record into a non-unique record (for
the same person!) was even necessary in the first place?
Also, are we analyzing mountains or quibbling over molehills? Instances
of the sort Casey sites are extremely rare.
In addition, the "copy [or cut] and paste" editing feature (of parts or
whole records) makes "fixing" any NAR extremely simple. Of course, with
merging records one does need to notify LC to delete one, but that's
pretty painless compared to making sure all the coding of the
"de-differentiated" record (e.g. Casey's example) has been changed.
We also, apparently, still have a ways to go before we can universally
accept the fact that the flexibility of the online environment actually
encourages paying more attention to data corrections (no cards to refile!)
and that cataloging to "get it right the first time" may be less important
than contributing any data collaboratively in a gradual process to get to
the point of completion eventually.
> I believe undifferentiated NARs allow us to err on the side of caution,
> and minimize future work.
That could be true for catalogers (except that it mandates future work
rather than minimizing it), but it does not help the patron at all.
Also, the concept of exercising "caution" may more often be used as an
excuse to avoid spending time ($) trying to make differentiations. If we
were to stop differentiating at all unless it was really easy, where are
we likely to end up?
John G. Marr
Univ. of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM 87131
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