PCCLIST readers,

This is a response to concerns raised about whether "Works. Selections" followed by a date or other qualifier(s) represents a "work" entity or an "expression" entity.  I've given this message a separate subject so that the discussion, if any should be forthcoming, can be distinguished from the topic that I initiated with subject "use of field 240".  Hopefully the discussion in that thread will continue with further assessment of using 700 fields with subfield t instead of 240.  (Point: please reply on that topic to that thread, not this message!)

The use of "Works. Selections" with a qualifier to represent an anthology of an author's writings seems to be a stop-gap measure.  The gap that needs stopping is provision of a collective title for a "work."  The work consists of the anthology, but the anthology is not necessarily the product of the author.  In most cases, it won't be.  If anyone is responsible for the existence of this "work", it is the compiler.  This being the case, perhaps when a qualifier is applied, the compiler is better than the date.

Bob Maxwell appears to agree, based on his comments:

"According to, in order to distinguish different works that otherwise would have the same authorized access point, you can add (a) form of work (b) date of the work (c) place of origin of the work or (d) another distinguishing characteristic, whichever is the most appropriate. In my opinion the date of the work is probably the least helpful to users so I'd avoid it. "another distinguishing characteristic" could include the editor/compiler, a title by which the compilation is known, perhaps the publisher if it's known by a publisher.

"Anyway, Ted [Gemberling] is correct, addition of "2013" to the access point for the selections isn't to bring out an expression of a work, it's more likely to distinguish between two works that would otherwise have the same authorized access point."

Recently a colleague commented privately that this concept of the work as an abstract notion that requires an expression in order to have a physical existence can be traced to Plato.  But does this "Platonic ideal" exist in the case of an anthology?  It is doubtable whether the author of several documents, collected and published as an anthology, can have conceived of this anthology in the abstract.  In most cases, the anthology is assembled after the fact, often when the author is long dead and gone (as in the case of the Jonathan Edwards collection.)

Nevertheless, the conception of the anthology as a work has the pragmatic advantage of allowing us to move forward with description and access.  So perhaps we do well to simply live with whatever discomfort we feel about this situation.

Perhaps further comments will relate to how an expression record would differ from a work record in this context.

Sincerely - Ian

Ian Fairclough
Cataloging and Metadata Services Librarian
George Mason University
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