I think that we need to consider applying the principle of literary warrant to the relationship terms (now, properties) that we establish. The question should perhaps not be whether such-and-such deity “is an avatar” of so-and-so (a theological issue if ever there was one) but rather: is there enough literature in our collections, in which the two figures are treated as avatars of one another, such that users searching the catalog to find works on one of these deities might find it useful for its relationship with the other to be brought to their attention.


Benjamin Abrahamse

Cataloging Coordinator

Acquisitions & Discovery Enhancement

MIT Libraries



From: Program for Cooperative Cataloging <[log in to unmask]> On Behalf Of Gemberling, Ted P
Sent: Wednesday, August 15, 2018 8:49 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [PCCLIST] Incarnation of/Incarnated as


Adam and Bob,

I think I like the elimination of relationships between deities. When I was reading Bob’s proposal the other day, the idea of saying that Glycon is an incarnation of Aesculapius struck me as inappropriate in some way. Adam’s point helped me pinpoint it. It’s not that we are eliminating deities from existing, but the idea that you can specify that a particular deity has such and such relation to another deity or even human being seems weird. Actually, I think this is kind of the same problem I have with dates for fictional characters. It’s entirely dependent on what a particular author wrote. A cataloger may have cataloged a book that says Glycon is an incarnation of Aesculapius. But if he later finds a book that says he’s an incarnation of Zeus, are we supposed to add another 500 for Zeus?


I suppose we could. But I can easily believe that some expert in Greek mythology might say that he isn’t an incarnation of Aesculapius or Zeus. He may question the whole idea that anybody can be an incarnation of them. At least with real, flesh and blood people we have a kind of stable sense of what kinds of things they can be. No one is going to question LCSH Waitresses, for example. A waitress is a recognized thing in the world.

Just a few thoughts.


Ted Gemberling

UAB Lister Hill Library


From: Program for Cooperative Cataloging <[log in to unmask]> On Behalf Of Adam L. Schiff
Sent: Tuesday, August 14, 2018 4:36 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [PCCLIST] Incarnation of/Incarnated as




I think you would propose “incarnation of” and “incarnation” as the reciprocal.  But why not “avatar of” and “avatar”?


With the changes to RDA, deities will not be agents or persons anymore.  Appendix K is no more as well.  I don’t know if the RSC will even entertain proposals like this to create relationships between non-real-human entities.   PCC might need to start a separate list of designators that could be used in NACO records.  


Adam Schiff

University of Washington Libraries


Get Outlook for iOS

From: Program for Cooperative Cataloging <[log in to unmask]> on behalf of Robert M. TALBOTT <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Tuesday, August 14, 2018 2:07:12 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Incarnation of/Incarnated as




I getting ready to create an authority for Glycon, a deity who had a cult in Asia Minor in the second and third centuries AD.  At least one authoritative source indicates that Glycon was an avatar of Asklepios, and this is a relationship I would like to have present in the authority.  Sadly, there is no official terminology for such a relationship in Appendix K in the RDA Toolkit.  I'll be making a proposal, but I want to make sure I'm suggesting terminology the rest of you (or at least those who might care) are happy with.


Ideally, the term "avatar" would somehow be worked into the proposal. "Avatar of" seems a perfectly fine choice.  However, the reciprocal becomes wordy, less than clear, and far from ideal, e.g. "Represented by the avatar," "Physical manifestation," etc.


Thus, what I'm going to propose, unless one of you chimes in with a better idea is "Incarnation of" with an easy and delightfully to the point reciprocal, "Incarnated as."


What do you think?







Bob Talbott

Principal cataloger/Hebraica cataloger

UC Berkeley

250 Moffitt

Berkeley, CA 94720

If they're too small for court, they're probably shorts.

If they're long and advanced, you're looking at pants