I think there is a danger that this practice could be carried too far. My feeling is that authors who care about how their names appear in catalogs should take care that they appear that way on their works. I've never heard that author's preference "trumps all", though it can be used as a guide in some cases. The principle of predominant usage is supposedly based on the idea that the heading will correspond to the form that users are likely to know. Does it make sense if an author has published just one work (and most publish no more than one) and his heading doesn’t correspond to what's on the book?
John Hostage Authorities Librarian
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Harvard Law School Library +(1)(617) 495-3974 (voice)
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Thanks, Anthony, for the very lucid explanation. I also remember the Dark Ages when the RI was first published. At that time it was used to convert AACR1 headings, with the old rules' emphasis on the real, full name, to the revolutionary AACR2 standard of "commonly known." Catalogers would scan through many titles published over a range of years. Now, we are most frequently presented with the first work or just a handful of works by a new author. Perhaps we should make more use of a rule of thumb that I remember only from informal communication with trainers, that the author's preference trumps all. With Google and email, it is easier and easier to contact authors. As many of us wrote in another thread, authors are usually happy to be consulted about how their name will appear in catalogs. Below is an example of how contact with an author (initially just to determine his birth date) resulted in a fuller form than was on the title page of his one published work. In other cases, such as Duke theses, we have used less full forms, based on the author's stated preference.