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On Thu, 10 May 2018 14:35:20 +0000, Robert Maxwell <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

>I'd just like to point out that the RDA element recorded in MARC 374 is RDA 9.16, "profession or occupation" and is defined as a persons "vocation or avocation." Nowhere does the definition narrow itself to "what the person gets paid for". So no, I don't agree that "editors" should only be used for persons who work in the publishing industry.  If a person is known for editing, it's perfectly fine to record it. If a person is an amateur clarinetist and is known for it (perhaps the local community orchestra put out a recording of her playing a concerto) it is fine to record "clarinetists". As for "authors", while I mainly record it myself for authors of belles lettres, as others have mentioned, I would hesitate before laying down the law about it and saying other usages are wrong. So I don't think we should be removing data from records unless it is clearly incorrect.
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Like Robert, I usually limit my use of "authors" to belles-lettres, but there are no doubt some cases where I've used it for others, especially if clearly their main career has been in writing books, as opposed to teaching in the classroom or pleading cases in the courtroom or tending Bunsen burners in the laboratory. Also, there is one aspect no one seems to be taking into account: that the data in this field could be used in combination with others, so a person could locate, say, all the works held by a library written by female French-speakers born in Montréal, which could be a legit reader request. And you need "authors" or some other general term in there, because there are many authority records for persons who only occur as the subject of works. (This would obviously be an argument for expanding the use of "authors" to all who get that relator term in a bibliographic record, if anyone wants to go that far.) I can actually do a search like this in OCLC now, though of course the results are limited because it's still a relatively small number of records that have "entity attributes."

I also agree with Robert on this: "I don't think we should be removing data from records unless it is clearly incorrect." People are using these fields in a great variety of ways, some no doubt reflecting local institutional guidelines. Until there are clear and stringent guidelines on a given field that apply to everyone, leave other people's (accurate) data alone.

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Kathie Coblentz | The New York Public Library
Rare Materials Cataloger
Special Collections/Special Formats Processing
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My opinions, not NYPL's