I wonder if we will not, ultimately, be forced to give up the whole idea of entry by alternate identities. As Stephen’s example of King and Bachman shows, alternate identities appear to exist only to be “eroded” over time. I’m not sure much is really gained by having separate authorities for them, with all the complications that creates.


To be honest, while I learned about the principle of alternate bibliographic identities in library school, I have never in my 12 years as a professional cataloger had occasion to use one. I’ll admit I don’t catalog a lot of fiction. The authorities of a lot of writers who used pseudonyms are routinely revised to add them as 400’s. For example, if you look at n 84806453, for Christian Knorr von Rosenroth, you will notice that he wrote under several of them. I recently added Christian Rautner and Christian Peganius, but A.B. Peganius was there before I edited it.  Should those all have been set up as separate authorities? It’s scary to think about all the trouble that would create.




From: Program for Cooperative Cataloging [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Stephen Hearn
Sent: Wednesday, August 07, 2013 8:38 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [PCCLIST] authorities for alternate identities


Responding to Steven's question--My guess is that the rule on not changing an existing heading unless it's wrong is what accounts for the use of a more complete 400 for Bachman, adding the date.via the 400 which can't be added to the established heading. Not a common or sanctioned practice, but I've been seeing it more often lately.  The oddity of the attributes on the Bachman authority (046 gives only year, though month and day are known; other King attributes are given in a 670 with the birth date, but not repeated as 3XX attributes for Bachman) are probably evidence of uncertainty about how to treat pesudonymous identities. 


To me, both the King and the Bachman books were written by someone born September 21, 1947, in Portland, Maine, so those are attributes for both identities. Whether that should be represented by repeating the attributes on both authorities or specifying one authority where the full array of attributes will be found is yet to be determined.


That is, if there are indeed two identities. The King/Bachman case also illustrates the erosion of these distinctions. In name/title authorities the title "Bachman Books" is now established under Stephen King while one Bachman novel not part of the Bachman Books anthology is still established under Bachman. Individual titles from the anthology like "Running man" still appear in LC's catalog under Bachman, not King. Given all this, I'd be hard pressed now to explain what makes the Bachman identity distinct. Going by what appears on title pages is an insufficient guideline when what appears on title pages varies from edition to edition and we want to have a single identifier for the work.




On Wed, Aug 7, 2013 at 7:33 AM, Arakawa, Steven <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

Related question on alternate identities:


If the attributes of the alternate identity are supposed to be consistent with the alternate rather than the real identity, should we be including the real identity’s dates in the AAP of the alternate identity? If not, what qualifiers would be valid for the alternate form if it conflicts with a previously established form?


Also, why is there a 400 for Bachman, Richard, 1947- when the AAP is Bachman? Is it because the alternate cannot have the real identity’s birth date but the cataloger wants to bring out the real identity’s date in the variant form? Should this be a model for real/alternate relationships?


Steven Arakawa

Catalog Librarian for Training & Documentation 

Catalog & Metada Services  

Sterling Memorial Library. Yale University 

P.O. Box 208240 New Haven, CT 06520-8240    

(203) 432-8286 [log in to unmask]




From: Program for Cooperative Cataloging [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Ted P Gemberling
Sent: Tuesday, August 06, 2013 3:35 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: authorities for alternate identities



Here’s what Wikipedia says about George Eliot’s pen name:

She used a male pen name, she said, to ensure her works would be taken seriously. Female authors were published under their own names during Eliot's life, but she wanted to escape the stereotype of women only writing lighthearted romances. An additional factor in her use of a pen name may have been a desire to shield her private life from public scrutiny and to prevent scandals attending her relationship with the married George Henry Lewes, with whom she lived for over 20 years.

[end quote]


Maybe that doesn’t amount to constructing a detailed male persona.


You made some interesting comments about the problem of “evolving and disparate perceptions.” It occurred to me that Eliot actually changed the way the public thought about female authors. It’s too bad she couldn’t publish under her own name, but when the public came to realize George Eliot was female, it hopefully made them less likely to apply such stereotypes to women. Maybe that’s the only way such changes can be accomplished sometimes.




From: Program for Cooperative Cataloging [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Stephen Hearn
Sent: Tuesday, August 06, 2013 2:17 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [PCCLIST] authorities for alternate identities


The gender of George Eliot is now widely known, so I'd see no reason to tag the George Eliot identity as male rather than female. Was there any effort on her part to construct a separate male persona beyond the name and its implicit gender assertion?


The Galbraith case is more involved. Rowling invented a separate biography for Galbraith. If we assign Galbraith attributes from that fictitious biography including gender, then I'd argue we should label the identity as fictitious in some way. On the other hand, if we choose to disregard that biography and regard Galbraith just as a Rowling pseudonym, then I'd be OK with copying some of the Rowling attributes (birth date, birthplace, gender) to the Galbraith authority, or with omitting them altogether from Galbraith and letting the relationship to Rowling imply a common set of some attributes. On the other hand, we should distinguish between them in some way, e.g., when describing their Fields of activity--Rowling working in Fantasy literature and Fiction, Galbraith working in Detective and mystery fiction. Some pseudonyms would require finer grained distinctions, e.g., John Creasey's J.J. Marric as the author of Gideon mystery novels. And some might require something even more granular, e.g., specifying different titles in 672 fields and some appropriate title-referencing phrase in 368.


That's what bothers me about the Carroll/Dodgson authorities. If there's a point to keeping bibliographic identities separate, it ought to be reflected somewhere in the attributes assigned to each identity. Carroll writes fantasy and nonsense literature, Dodgson writes sermons and works on mathematics and logic.  If we're going to give them a single shared description, that seems close to saying that their bibliographic identities are no longer associated with specific bodies of work. Which may be the case, given how the Carroll name now overshadows the Dodgson name in most publications; but in that case, isn't it time to treat Dodgson as a 400 because the world no longer regards them as separate identities? The rule allowing work titles to be reassigned to a different author name as publishers reissue works under a writer's more popular name (RDA suggests that our authorized access points ultimately follow current publications and perceptions more than original authorial intent.


Maybe the underlying problem is that RDA instructions and authority practices can't cope well with evolving and disparate perceptions. They would have us to view the Carroll and Dodgson as fixed identities when the names and what they represent are actually fluid and varying based on time and changing circumstances. Longing for stability, we are like the Red Queen, running hard just to stay in one place as the world moves under our feet. And as the Queen observes to Alice, " If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!"






Stephen Hearn, Metadata Strategist

Technical Services, University Libraries

University of Minnesota

160 Wilson Library

309 19th Avenue South

Minneapolis, MN 55455

Ph: 612-625-2328

Fx: 612-625-3428