Dear PCCLIST readers,
This will perhaps be obvious to some readers, not quite so to others. A name authority record can look like it represents a specific person, an individual. Sometimes it does, whether or not it is "supposed" to. In the case of undifferentiated headings, it should be apparent that more than one person is represented. With the move to eliminate undifferentiated NARs, perhaps people will think that all NARs will thenceforth represent individuals on a one-to-one basis. That however will not be the case.
Sometimes an individual is represented by more than one heading, and those headings by more than one NAR. Sometimes a heading changes, as does the name, though the individual remains the same. More complicated situations are: pseudonyms representing two or more individuals acting together, apparently as a single author, "ghost writing" (the case of V.C. Andrews continues to haunt us, as other persons continue to write under her name); individuals acting in an official capacity as a head of state, etc. (and therefore represented as a corporate body). But fundamentally, a NAR establishes a heading, and the heading represents a "bibliographic identity". It does not necessarily equate with an individual. These ideas need to be borne carefully in mind when entertaining the possible replacement of headings with "identifiers." Catalogers also need to exercise care when advising colleagues, who might easily get the wrong idea.
Perhaps a reader can direct attention to documentation of a succinct statement of the above, or something like it, in NACO training materials or elsewhere. Please reply to PCCLIST.
Sincerely - Ian
Ian Fairclough - George Mason University - [log in to unmask]