On Thu, 3 Feb 2000, Anthony R. Franks wrote:

> As a purely personal matter of opinion, and not at all reflecting the
> position of the Library of Congress on this matter, I will share with you
> the thought that struck me this morning, in the shower:
> If information is relevant to the heading, it goes into a 670 field; if
> it's not relevant to the heading, it goes into a 675 field.

Uh ... both of these fields are non-public notes, and I think that the
discussion has migrated away from converting non-public *fields* to public
fields, to putting certain kinds of information (beyond death dates, not
yet clearly defined in the discussion) in a public field instead of or in
addition to a non-public field.  The point of Anthony's statement is lost
on me, and I welcome an explanation from someone more clever than I
(don't hurt yourselves in the mad rush! :-)).

> To paraphrase Judy Kuhagen speaking about another NAR-related matter,
> introducing yet another field and set of tagging into NAR production is
> not cataloging simplification.

Again, depending on what sorts of information are assigned to a public
note, we may not be talking about adding anything to NAR *production*,
that is, the initial creation of an authority record.  If the principal
use is one of recording death dates, that's a post-creation task that need
not involve the NAR creator at all.  If the contents extend to
descriptors, statements of function, etc., that might be another matter;
even at that, it would be unlikely that there would be a perceived need to
provide this for every heading.

Understanding that Anthony was speaking for himself, I hear his comments
reflect what seems to be a common LC attitude toward the cooperative
projects: a reluctance to allow participants to do something that LC
itself does not want to do.  This was true in the NACO Music Project when
participants wanted to create authority records for name-title headings
that didn't require cross-references; because this ran counter to LC
practice, it took no little amount of persuading to get LC to allow it
from NMP participants.  LC eventually changed course with their
OCLC MDAR project, creating thousands of such records themselves because
it finally suited their purposes.

I hope there will be more discussion of this idea among various
constituencies, with some input from those who deal with catalog users and
are in a position to know what impact adding public information about
death dates and the like would have on catalog use.  Then we can worry
about what impact it might have on catalog creation and maintenance.

There's been little discussion thus far about displaying this information.
If this idea does gain some momentum, vendors should be put on notice that
their customers expect them to provide for display.  Some vendors can't or
won't display public fields that are already present.

OK -- enough rabble-rousing for one message.

Mark Scharff, Music Cataloger
Gaylord Music Library
Washington University in St. Louis
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