I am completely sympathetic to what you’re saying, Ryan. I want to point one thing out, however. We shouldn’t be creating undifferentiated work access points. Leaving aside the issue of the title of author-originated compilations such as Stag’s leap—I agree, that’s the commonly known name for this aggregate work and should therefore be the preferred title—let’s suppose we have some examples of the “after the fact” compilations by someone other than the author (e.g. “Selected poems of Shakespeare”). The conventional collective title for these would be “Poems. Selections”—at least, that is how the preferred title would begin. But RDA tells us to add things if the title of a work is the same as the title of another work by the same creator. This is brought out in the core statements at 6.3 (form of work), 6.4 (date of work), 6.5 (place of origin of the work), and 6.6 (other distinguishing characteristic of the work), together with 220.127.116.11 (additions to access points representing works).
Now a collection of poems by a particular author is a work in and of itself, an aggregate work, but a work nonetheless. RDA 5.1.2 makes this clear — “the terms work and expression should be read … to include … aggregates of such entities.” This is true whether the collection was put together by the author or by somebody else. It follows, then, that a different collection of poems by that author is a different aggregate work. If both collections are of the “after the fact, not collected or planned by the author” type, we would use the conventional collective title “Poems. Selections” as the preferred access point. But that title is not enough—in our hypothetical situation we have at least two works with the same title “Poems. Selections” and so the core statements with 18.104.22.168 kick in and we should be adding one of the four differentiating elements, whichever makes most sense (or in RDA’s language “as appropriate”). For instance, if a collection is well known by the name of its editor, we’d add that, possibly:
[Poet’s authorized access point]. Poems. Selections (surname of editor A)
[Poet’s authorized access point]. Poems. Selections (surname of editor B)
Alternately, if it makes more sense, we could add form, or date, or place of origin, or something else.
I just wanted to bring this up to help people to think this through. Different collections (aggregate works) are different works but if their preferred title is a conventional collective title then they share the same title and the title needs something added to it to differentiate between those works.
Robert L. Maxwell
Head, Special Collections and Formats Catalog Dept.
6728 Harold B. Lee Library
Brigham Young University
Provo, UT 84602
"We should set an example for all the world, rather than confine ourselves to the course which has been heretofore pursued"--Eliza R. Snow, 1842.
From: Program for Cooperative Cataloging [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
On Behalf Of Finnerty, Ryan
Sent: Friday, February 22, 2013 5:21 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Applying collective titles to works of poetry, etc.
Hello PCC List,
We here at UC San Diego are gearing up to begin RDA for bibliographic records in early March so we’ve been going through the LC training materials with our staff. The refresher training for compilations (available at http://www.loc.gov/aba/rda/Refresher_training_dec_2011.html), plus the RDA records coming into our catalog, have us concerned. We hope to open a dialogue here and see what other people think. We welcome your thoughts!
For the UCSD RDA Planning and Implementation Group
We are concerned about LC’s interpretation and application of RDA 22.214.171.124 to books of poetry, short stories, essays, etc., in that they use a conventional collective title with Selections as the preferred title for the work. Note: For the rest of this message, we will use poetry as an example, but the same applies to essays, short stories, etc.
The instruction reads, “If a compilation of works is known by a title that is used in resources embodying that compilation or in reference sources, apply the instructions at 126.96.36.199-188.8.131.52. For other compilations, apply the instructions at 184.108.40.206.1–220.127.116.11.3, as applicable.”
So in order to apply a conventional collective title you have to believe that an original book of poetry is both: 1) A compilation, and; 2) Not known by its own title. We believe that neither condition applies.
In regards to the first point, we are not talking about books of poetry whose contents are mash-ups of poems previously published in disparate editions. These type of resources are compilations and should get a conventional collective title.
We are talking about books of poetry, often issued for the first time, whose contents are intended by their creators to exist together as one work. Many books of poetry are thematically intertwined and are meant to be experienced as a collective whole by the reader. And while yes, any one poem can be extracted and exist on its own, the same can be said for chapters from a novel.
For example, take this work by Loren Erdich “I take back the sponge cake.” Based on the Amazon blurb, this cannot be considered a mere compilation of poems, but a poetic work intended to exist as a whole:
I Take Back the Sponge Cake is a choose-your-own-adventure collaboration between poet Sierra Nelson and visual artist Loren Erdrich. Each turn of the page features an ink and watercolor drawing, a poem, and a choice between two sound-alike words that create a variety of paths through the book. The adventure always begins in the same place, but depending on your choices your reading experience moves by emotional meander--leaping, looping, and surprising until it finally reaches one of the possible endings.
Or Sharon Olds latest work, “Stag’s leap” a poetic work that tells a continuing story from start to finish of her husband leaving her to her finding new freedom. You can isolate a single poem and consider it a work, but it’s the larger work that tells the story or creates the mood that the author intended.
For the second point, how could the two above works not be known by their own titles? Anyone looking for these no matter what the context (in a bookstore, online marketplace, library, etc.) would be looking for them with the title the author gave them.
In a list of titles under an author, how could a bunch of entries such as “Poems. Selections” be considered helpful? Users would have to go through every record with the collective title to find what they want rather than just selecting the one desired title from the list in the first place. This seems to place the convenience of the cataloger above the convenience of the user.
We see the following practical problems with this practice:
1) When it comes to authority work, we are, in essence, creating undifferentiated work level authority records. One of the major objectives of moving to RDA is to lay the groundwork for linked data. According to LC’s own RDA training slides showing the WEMI relationships, a work is linked to an expression, is linked to a manifestation, is linked to an item. If a work record represents more than one work, it introduces chaos into this linked model. See n2012075841 and no98041871 as examples (the latter even conflates two authors on the same authority record—very confusing when putting more than one work in a record).
2) What do we do when a work becomes famous at a later point and its title now meets this nebulous notion of being “known”? Do we go back and scrub the collective title off the records and revise and/or cancel authority records? I imagine LC and others have no plans to do this, but for current works that will someday enter the canon, this poses a big problem.
3) How do we represent the work in subject access for works of secondary literature? Will we have the following subject field for a work of criticism written expressly about “I take back the sponge cake”:
600 10 Erdich Loren. $t Poems. $k Selections $x Criticism and interpretation
We very much understand LC/PCC’s desire to leave behind LCRI 25.10. We want to leave it behind as well. A lot of people never understood this rule, and those that did had differing ideas of adequate and distinctive. We simply propose that for works of poetry (etc.) you give the preferred title as instructed in 18.104.22.168-22.214.171.124 unless it is evident from what you have in hand that is consists of a combination of different poems from previously published works, or a combination of old and new. For example, Barry Wallenstein has a work entitled “Drastic dislocations : new and selected poems.” Giving a collective title here would be appropriate and expected. However, we would make a distinct and differentiated authority record for this work with proper additions to the authorized access point so if anyone comes to the catalog searching for “Drastic dislocations” they would be referred directly to the correct record. And additionally, if a new work by one author came in called simply “20 poems” and there was no evidence this was a combination of poems previously appearing elsewhere, then let “20 poems” be its preferred title.
At UC San Diego, this is not just a philosophical issue. We collect extensively in modern poetry and these conventional collective titles are already causing confusion in our catalog. Our literature librarian has noticed them and is asking us to remove them from the records. Since we want to (and currently do) accept PCC records as they are without review, we would love to see this practice changed.