As others have commented, ALA has proposed revising RDA to make it clear that a preferred name may be used as the basis of a variant access point:


I think there are sometimes legitimate reasons for using different qualifiers with the same preferred name in 1XX and 4XX, and I think some of the examples in ALA’s proposal illustrate this.   In particular, see this proposed example on page 12:


Cameron, Rita (Lawyer)

Form recorded as authorized access point: Cameron, Rita (Novelist)


While I would not have used (Mathematician) in a 400 when (Teacher of mathematics) was used in the 100, consider the case of a mathematician who is also a composer.  A user might know only one of the person’s occupations and if that is not the one that was chosen as the qualifier, then they might not be able to identify the person that they’re looking for.  On the other hand, if I search by  Name (Composer) and it tells me to use Name (Mathematician) instead, that’s providing a useful function, I think.   The Rita Cameron example above is identical – if I were looking in a list for works by the lawyer and all I saw was Cameron, Rita (Novelist), I probably would not think that was the person I wanted.  Having the variant access point is useful.


To me it boils down to judgment, and we all have quite different judgments as to what may be a useful cross-reference.  And yes, NACO catalogers do some very odd things in authorities that others of us would consider unnecessary or even wrong.


Adam Schiff


From: Program for Cooperative Cataloging [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Noble, Richard
Sent: Wednesday, October 26, 2016 9:33 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Variant Parenthetical Designation as 400


I'm being presented with ARs for a name with a variant parenthetical designation as a 400, e.g. "100 Name (Teacher of mathematics)" and "400 Name (Mathematician)"; in another case "100 Name (Pianist)" and a newly added "400 Name (Composer and pianist)" in response to information presented in a newly cited source.


This  doesn't seem quite right somehow, but I can't find any positive negative example (so to call it) to justify my uneasiness.


With thanks from a less than coordinated Acting NACO Coordinator -



BROWN UNIVERSITY  ::  PROVIDENCE, R.I. 02912  ::  401-863-1187