Amy Turner wrote:
> Whether or not conventional collective titles hide manifestation titles is a
> matter of how the catalog is structured. In card catalogs, in the author's
> file, the title cards were filed under the collective title, with references
> from the manifestation titles. Though this did not hide the manifestation
> titles (assuming users followed cross references) it de-emphasized them.
> Duke has yet to have a catalog which successfully replicated those
> author/title references. A catalog could theoretically file works with
> conventional collective titles in two places in under the author's name,
> fulfilling the aim of another "gathering title" which Tim advocates.
> However, we haven't had a catalog that does that either. So, it has come
> down to a choice of hiding either the manifestation title or the collective
> My general aversion to uniform titles is not so much to their use in the
> 240 fields where they can be accessed in various ways, but to their use in
> "authorized access points for works and expressions." We are supposed
> to be looking forward to linked data and to sophisticated systems that
> make it possible to access data in many ways. Instead, we are trying to
> reduce complicated information about works and expressions into
> counter-intuitive character strings.
Amy is exactly right here. The CCTs served a very useful purpose in card catalogs and earlier versions of online catalogs. They were a filing mechanism. But the CCT serves very poorly as a *preferred title* in RDA records and modern catalogs, for things that have their own titles. And it doesn't matter if the title on the collection is from a hundred years ago or just off the printing press in its first edition this morning; for the *vast majority* of resources that we catalog, the title on the manifestation *is* the "title ... by which the work has become known" (RDA 220.127.116.11). The case that Ben Marcus' book "Leaving the sea : stories" (published in 2014) is not currently "known" by that title, or is unsure to still be known by that title in 20 years--and that the title "Short stories. Selections" is more meaningful and helpful--is both unlikely and highly implausible.
Tim Carlton and Kate James both had some good points to make about the CCT as a gathering device and the need to distinguish between a collection and an identically-named work within the collection. But these are not good arguments for doing away with the actual title of the collective work and replacing it with something generic. We would need to add a qualifier to distinguish the collection "Come along with me : part of a novel, sixteen stories, and three lectures" by Shirley Jackson from the novel fragment "Come along with me"; so "Come along with me (Collection)" makes sense.
And a CCT would make sense as a *variant* access point, until we're able to use other elements to refine searches by facets. "Whitman, Walt, 1819-1892. Poems. Selections" in a 400 field could then return to the user a list giving the "real" preferred titles of those collections, and the various editions of specific collections could be collocated under their respective original manifestation titles. Or "Whitman, Walt, 1819-1892. Poems. Selections. Japanese" could return to the user a list giving the "real" preferred titles of collections in Japanese (which might be either Japanese translations of English language collections, or original collections of Japanese translations).
Kevin M. Randall
Principal Serials Cataloger
Northwestern University Library
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