I've been following this debate with interest. I think there is a
question of what would be desirable, and an issue of what is now

In principle, I think it is desirable to close open birth dates in
headings, for people who have died. For all the reasons of perceived
accuracy and care, that have been given. I don't think it desirable to
add dates at will to headings that do not have them at all, as these
headings are not, in any sense, wrong. Moreover, dates are not the only
means that we use to make headings unique: adding dates to a heading
already qualified by expanded names, academic qualifications, etc., has
the effect of making headings more cumbersome, and creating unnecessary
work. So I am against that.  

In terms of what is achievable, several contributors have commented that
changing even more authorised forms of name would damage their
catalogues. It's not a justification for the proposal, to say that some
headings are changed in any case, as this just increases the scale of
the problem. Ultimately, headings are about access, and we should not
impair this in the interests of cosmetics. In my view, that part of the
proposal relating to closing birth dates should be implemented, but only
when there is a consensus that the benefits will outweigh the
disadvantages. It's apparent from this debate that this consenses does
not yet exist. 

Hopefully, our systems will have improved within a relatively short
space of time, so that this balance will change. The British Library
hopes to be able to accommodate changes to headings in a more
satisfactory way before long. We're not in a positon to do so yet, and
this clearly applies to other institutions as well. 

I don't think we should lose sight of the primary function of our name
headings, especially now that authority control is taking on greater
importance. A contributor commented that a heading such as "Diana,
Princess of Wales, 1961-" draws attention to itself. If it draws
attention to itself, one could argue that it is doing its job ;-) 


Richard Moore 
Authority Control Team Manager 
The British Library
Tel.: +44 (0)1937 546806                                
E-mail: [log in to unmask]                            
-----Original Message-----
From: Program for Cooperative Cataloging [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On
Behalf Of D. Brooking
Sent: 06 July 2005 19:29
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [PCCLIST] Proposal to allow the addition of dates to
established personal name headings

I am now thinking: the proposal is to allow the *optional* addition of
dates. So...

If we keep the LCRI that says to include dates if they are readily
available when the name is set up, and we will continue to add dates to
resolve conflicts as they arise, then it seems that this optional
provision would be most often used to add death dates. And that is what
people seem to be talking about in this thread.<snip>

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