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hi,
there is a cost/benefit analysis that should be considered.

how much time/cost is expended (nationally and internationally) by library
clientele, librarians and library staff trying to figure out why death
dates are not included in headings and explaining this phenomenon of open
dates to both the public and the staff, versus the time/cost involved in
adding the death dates when discovered and consequently maintaining all of
those thousands of catalogs.

i'm not sure how to make that analysis, but surely there is an awful lot
of time spent every day explaining why death dates aren't added to
headings (maybe not by catalogers, but by somebody). this is what was
behind the MLA Authorities Subcommittee proposal to allow for the use of
680 fields to indicate the fact that someone has died without changing the
heading. something like:

100   Hope, Bob, 1903-
680   American comdedian; died July 27, 2003.

would library clientele ever see the information in the 680?

--ralph p.

A. Ralph Papakhian, Indiana University Music Library
Bloomington, IN 47405 812/855-2970 [log in to unmask]
co-owner: [log in to unmask]