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The discussion of the CPSO proposal to allow addition of dates to 
personal name headings has been intriguing and thought-provoking, and 
occasionally contentious. When I first heard from Ana Cristán that CPSO 
was thinking about this proposal, I was quite distressed because I 
think that headings should serve to distinguish entities, not 
necessarily to tell the biographical tale. I still think that but am 
strongly convinced by the argument that it is foolish to put yourself 
in the position of having to justify "Warhol, Andy, 1928-" or "Diana, 
Princess of Wales, 1961-" in your catalog.

Revising dates in a heading when they are incorrect (e.g. Katharine 
Hepburn) or incomplete (e.g. Warhol, Dali, Princess Di) seems a 
commendable and viable path to follow. The proposal however calls 
for "allow[ing] the optional addition of dates (birth, death or both) 
to existing personal name headings at will." There are many authority 
records where the heading is distinctive but no dates are included 
(e.g. Motherwell, Robert; Frist, William H.). Certainly the proposed 
change does not require that the dates be added if now known, and 
current practice would call for adding the date(s) if that is how to 
break a conflict (e.g. Gary Snyder).

I think the new policy should be to allow the revision of dates when 
they are incorrect or incomplete, but not to add the dates just because 
they are now known but weren't known to the cataloger who created the 
authority record. And I would also argue for continuing the policy of 
following an LC heading that appears on a bibliographic record but does 
not yet have an authority record.

Sherman Clarke
NYU Libraries and Art NACO
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