Wrong information should be changed. I.e. mistakes, untruths, should be rectified.

Information quality and sufficiency should also be improved and kept up to date.


I have revised PCC records that were clearly derived from another record, which was obvious because they left absolutely erroneous SHs that had literally nothing to do with the piece in hand. I figured the most likely scenario was that the PCC cataloger derived a record from the same publisher, changeds ISBNs and the 100 and 245, and then spaced.

Or they cataloged in ignorance of the language (Spanish) and the culture (Cuba), and so thought it was All Good. Or irrelevant.

I prefer the more charitable possibility.

Another example:
I spent 2 weeks fixing the (automated?) fusion-by-100 of all the bib records for the works for 2 separate "René Avilés" -- the father is Avilés Rojas and the son Avilés Fabila. #1 never used his maternal family name (Rojas); #2 always used his (Fabila). Records here:

I found Avilés Fabila's website to try to get authoritative info to correct the problem, and learned that he had come to the US and seen that all their works were fused, but had no idea what to do about it. It was a fortunate coincidence that I was cataloging where his most recent book had been purchased, and I was the grad student cataloging Latin American materials, because I have the language and domain knowledge. The other records and books also made it clear that these works could not be by the same person when laid beside the blurb on the piece in hand, and I followed up...

Ignorance is a terrible basis for cataloging, only worse when combined with complacency, and, frankly, bibliographic cataloging can be as iterative as authorities cataloging. There is no judgment in this statement -- everybody makes mistakes, we're all limited. We do the best we can, and remain open to improvement across time, both of records and of selves. Therefore we work collaboratively, as a diachronic or synchronic activity, each bringing our skills and knowledge to bear...

Another instance is the book _De indianos y notarios_.  Although I've corrected the (not PCC) record in OCLC with the book in hand, if you want to see the original record, it's in LOC (lccopycat), with headings for "Indians of South America" and "Indians of Mexico."

However, "indianos" are never never ever indigenous peoples of the Americas, who are "indios." "Indianos" are Spaniards who go to the Americas, to Indias, and return, with the hope and implication of wealth, though not necessarily the reality. It's the word for things having to do with the New World ("Indias" as a synecdoche for all of the Spanish holdings in the Americas) that are relevant for Spaniards. If it's any comfort, another book on Indianos at the Biblioteca Nacional of Spain had similarly mistaken DHs, though not this one, which I reported to them.

I am not arguing for endless revision of all records but for recognition that many many records -- including lots of PCC records -- require revision, and that revision is an ongoing iterative process, and not just for authority records.

PCC records are subject to standards for encoding and depth of cataloging, but that doesn't address actual accuracy vis-à-vis the description and aboutness of the thing-in-hand and the entities associated with it.  No one can know everything, and not all information is available at the moment of cataloging, even if the truth is out there. Somewhere. 

But no matter what we sometimes would like to think, the NAF is in fact a de facto reference tool, and we likely don't want to either propagate bad information or look entirely ignorant.

From: Program for Cooperative Cataloging <[log in to unmask]> on behalf of Gemberling, Ted P <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Monday, May 14, 2018 11:24:24 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [PCCLIST] 374 field in NARs
I'm far from being an expert on PCC or RDA rules. But I have seen that we have a lot of messages on this list discouraging people from changing AAPs. I'm guessing if Chris Williams actually wrote and said he wanted his qualifier changed, that would be grounds for changing it, however much bibliographic maintenance it required. So the persistence of AAP's doesn't seem to be an absolute rule. If they're imperfect, they can be improved in some circumstances.

But it seems there's a conflict between the right to create AAP's and the right to modify them. People are highly encouraged to create them and highly discouraged from changing them. It would be wonderful if there was some way to change AAP's as soon as we had better information, but at this point we don't have that capability. And what makes information better anyway? I get the impression there isn't full agreement on that point in the PCC community. Some see almost no reason to change them.

I only found one bib record, OCLC #915123697, with that AAP, and it was coded PCC. Did the cataloger create this authority just so he or she could code it PCC? Another English record, #913791729, is not coded PCC and doesn't have that qualification (it has Williams, Chris, editor). PCC records are supposed to be really high quality records, but what if they contain AAP's that are awkward and hard to change? I realize that in adding the qualification, they did add information for users, since the phrase wasn't included in the transcriptional part of the bib record.

I suppose a question is whether the very first time we catalog a resource with a contribution by a person, we should have a unique identity for her. But it seems that wouldn't be a very practical demand. Let's say Chris moves to a university in London and edits something without that occupational title. Will we have any way of making the identification?

Another way of approaching the question: should our authority files be complete representations of the entities in the bibliographic universe, or are they adjuncts to our bibliographic records? I think I prefer the latter approach. We create authority records when we have noticed ambiguities in attributions of authorship or subject and have some well-founded, stable way of removing the ambiguities. Our primary access to resources is via bibliographic records.

So I guess that means I think there may be too many PCC records, or that the criteria for them may need to be changed.

Just my two cents.

Ted Gemberling

-----Original Message-----
From: Program for Cooperative Cataloging <[log in to unmask]> On Behalf Of Moore, Richard
Sent: Monday, May 14, 2018 1:46 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [PCCLIST] 374 field in NARs


Just a quick comment on this:

"Let’s look at the question from the opposite angle. Can someone’s qualifier be too specific? I remember some years ago we had a discussion about n 2015187569:

Williams, Chris ǂc (Research and knowledge exchange impact officer)

Notice the qualifier doesn’t come from a thesaurus. The danger with a qualifier like that is it may not represent more than part of the person’s career. Later he may even object to the qualifier when that ceases to be his occupation. It seems this authority was created just so there’d be an authority for him. I would rather not create an authority in a case like that. "

I don’t recall the discussion, but just to say that there is no automatic way to tell whether a qualifier used in an AAP (which does not have to be from a controlled vocabulary) is intended as an Occupation, or an Other Designation. The latter can be virtually any description at all; things that might be doubtful as Occupations will usually qualify as Other Designations.

I agree that a very specific qualifier can become outdated. If it becomes so outdated as to be inaccurate, then it might be reasonable to change it, on the grounds of being wrong “in fact”. But I think we’d add to the sum of confusion by constantly “improving” each other's records (which I’ve always discouraged our cataloguers from doing). I disagree on the utility of creating an authority in this case. Creating one enables that person’s works to be collocated. We’re creating unique access points above all (alongside adding all the machine readable metadata that might one day be useful on Planet Linked Data).


Richard Moore
Authority Control Team Manager
The British Library

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