Hi Adam, I was told this years and years ago, so I could be misremembering, but I think the reason is simply that other numerical identifiers for musical works (note: not just parts/sections) are coded $n. Yes, a date is a different thing, but as a differentiator (of last resort under AACR2), it is serving the same purpose. Apparently music wasn’t quite “special” enough back in 1979-80 to get its own code for numerical elements used to identify or disambiguate titles of musical works. To be fair, music had already been given the $m, $o, and $r so we were ahead of the treaty crowd who only got a measly $d for the date of signing. The much needed coding for the numerical elements of titles of musical works, especially generic titles (think concertos, symphonies, quartets, etc.), was shoehorned into the $n and the date got shoehorned in along with them. Valerie
Does anyone know WHY a date used to distinguish one musical work from another was put in $n, while all dates used to distinguish other works from each other are not separately subfielded and come immediately after the preferred title of the works? I know music catalogers are special, but… ;)
University of Washington Libraries
I wouldn’t recommend changing this longstanding practice at this late date for heading strings though I agree the music example in the authorities format for the X00 $n is horrendous and should be removed. It is from an old NAR that was part of a recon project in the 1980s. This accounts for the strange 400s for non-distinctive titles. Why it was chosen is beyond me.
The instruction referring to music in the authorities format for the X00 $n needs to be edited as well. The correct instruction, which is found in the authorities format for the X30 $n and in the bibliographic format for the X00 and X30 $n states:
Senior Music Specialist
Library of Congress
From: Program for Cooperative Cataloging [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Kathy Glennan
Sent: Tuesday, April 04, 2017 1:46 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [PCCLIST] Subfields in music titles
This is a long standing problem.
In my email archive, I found a copy of a detailed report from Richard Hunter (a music cataloger at LC, now retired) dated April 1999 "about the discrepancies in the instructions for subfield $n in the eight places in the two MARC formats in which they occur." I have not compared his analysis and recommendations with the current documentation.
I would be happy to share this analysis with anyone who would like to work on clearing up the usage of $n.
Head, Original & Special Collections Cataloging
University of Maryland Libraries
On Mon, Apr 3, 2017 at 4:21 PM, John Hostage <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
There are 3 versions of Beethoven’s Fidelio in the authority file: 1805, 1806, and 1814.
They have authorized access points in the form:
Beethoven, Ludwig van, ǂd 1770-1827. ǂt Fidelio ǂn (1805)
Subfield $n is defined as “number of part/section of a work.” (http://www.loc.gov/marc/authority/adx00.html)
The MARC authority format includes the example
1#$wnnaa$aHindemith, Paul,$d1895-1963.$tSonata,$mpiano, 4 hands$n(1938)
1#$aHindemith, Paul,$d1895-1963.$tVierhaendige Sonata fuer zwei Klaviere, 1938
It only serves to muddy the water since it uses a pre-AACR2 heading and the bracketed notes say that the same date is a part/section of the work in one case and not a part/section in the other case. The AAP for the work includes no date.
The MARC bibliographic format (http://www.loc.gov/marc/bibliographic/bdx30.html) includes “or a date used to distinguish one work from another” in the definition of $n. What is the justification for this treatment? It includes very different types of data in the same subfield, and it treats the same type of data (date of a work) differently depending on the genre of the title. “Date added parenthetically to a title to distinguish between identical titles entered under the same name is not separately subfield coded” is noted in the authority format under subfield $f (Date of a work), which seems more like a date of manifestation. The dates for Fidelio seem to be dates of expressions (RDA 6.10), which the RDA to MARC Authority Mapping maps to subfield $f, but subfield $s (Version) seems like a better match.
Considering everything else that has been turned on its head, why is this still being done?
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