Ted Gemberling said "I have doubts about
keeping fictional characters in the name authority file. I think it might be that if they are in the NAF, they should be strictly for subject use."
I rarely deal with fictitious characters as subjects. All of the ones I've had to deal with were creators of the works.
There’s been a lot of talk in these posts about fictional characters, but don’t forget about the other entities that need to accounted for, such as spirits and real non-human entities (dogs, cats, horses, whales, etc.). Like fictitious characters, some of these are only ever used as subjects, but others have attributions as authors, actors, artists, etc.
University of Washington Libraries
I’m thinking that the current form in the authority record works fine, except for a code indicating it is a Nomen instead of an Access Point:
100 0_ $a Pseudo Aristotele $t Work title.
Perhaps the code could be a different indicator, so it could be used in both authority records and bib records to indicate Nomen. The only big change will be that not all x00s are Access Points—some are Access Points, and some are Nomen. We will have to make that mental change anyway if we continue to have fictional characters in the Name Authority File. If we make this mental change, we don’t have to make any changes to the records or policies except to mark some names as Nomen.
Steve, would you give us an example of what an unstructured description of an author would look like in the authority file? Do you mean something like the 245 subfield c? But we don’t normally put such things in our 1XX fields.
I assume you can’t be saying something like this:
100 0_ $a Author who called himself Aristotle. $t Work title.
It seems like maybe one problem we are dealing with here is the assumption that the authority file is somehow a completely coherent model of the world on its own. If someone needs to know that some works have been spuriously attributed to Aristotle, they have ways to find that out besides the authority file. Bib records with 246 $c can help, and of course the books they read will tell them that, too.
That makes sense to me. And I think this may be one of the least disruptive paths for PCC. I haven’t thought this completely out, but here is a slightly more detailed idea:
Most fictional names in the NAF are not used as attributions—they are used only as subjects. RDA would treat these as unstructured descriptions, even though our policies have made the descriptions unique and part of a controlled vocabulary. They are nomens. On the principal of least disruption, I will assume they will continue to be held in the Name Authority File.
To accommodate FRBR-LRM, a code should be implemented to identify headings in the NAF as either AAP (in RDA terms, structured) or Nomen (in RDA terms, unstructured). Fictional and legendary characters should be marked as Nomen. Pseudo- names such as Pseudo-Aristotle could also be marked as Nomen.
A PCC application profile could specify that, if a work is falsely attributed to a real person or a fictional character, and another name cannot be identified, the attributed name can be recorded as an unstructured description. Perhaps this could be implemented by using an indicator for unstructured descriptions. Names marked as Nomen in the NAF could thus be recorded as creators when necessary, just as they are now.
The application profile could also specify that, when only an unstructured description is available for creator, a structured description for the work may be generated from the unstructured name as long as the resulting structured description for the work is unique in the authority file.
I think this causes a minimum of extra work. Most of the changes would be coding to identify certain entities in the NAF as nomens rather than AAPs.
I’m certain I’m missing some aspects of the issue, so I welcome comment.
I suspect we’ll continue to do exactly as we do now, but change our concepts of what we’re doing in certain situations.
Cataloguers had 30 years of continuity under AACR2. We had a huge training burden a mere 5 years ago for the implementation of RDA, and changed a few things round then (fictional attributions being one of them). I think the last thing cataloguers (or our backlogs) need now is another round of upheaval so soon after the last one.
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I can understand that argument, but that raises the question of how we can continue to have fictional characters in the NAF, when RDA wants to treat them as nomens.
I don’t think “unstructured descriptions” have any place in the Name Authority File.
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I think this issue _is_ related somewhat to the issue of attribution to fictional characters. My understanding of the direction that PCC will probably go with fictional characters is to treat the attribution as a nomen for the real (possibly unknown) author, a nomen which happens to be identical to a (non-author) fictional character which is present in the same name authority file. My understanding may be incorrect, but if correct, that provides a good model for treatment of false attribution to real persons.
Exactly how that could be implemented in practice is up for debate. I still think an attribution relationship designator would be useful for these situations, but it would have to be a non-RDA designator if we wanted to apply it to both real and fictional characters. Doing that would not help with an AAP for the real author. As RDA is was written previously, I think we would need to have separate authorized forms for each suspected identity. As John and Robert said, that would be terribly disruptive. With the revised RDA, we have an opportunity to write a PCC application profile which is less disruptive.
In the case where we don’t know the real author, perhaps we could record the attributed name as an _unstructured_ description. This would simply be a nomen, and not an access point. If we continue to record fictional characters in the Name Authority File, we will already have nomens in the NAF, so that is not a big change. We would need some code in the record to identify a name as a nomen versus an AAP.
The application profile will also have to detail how to create a structured description (an AAP) for the work. Can we use an unstructured (and possibly non-unique) name in an AAP for a work? It might be easier to permit title-only AAPs for works of uncertain authorship, but that flies in the face of past practice. If we use identifiers for works, that avoids the problem, but we aren’t there yet.
One more thought on this. I actually don’t think LRM’s position on fictional persons is in conflict with the sort of practice advocated by John and Robert
because there is no question that these “pseudo” writers existed. They existed. We just don’t know what their real names were. So the problems with treating fictional persons as authors—in particular for me the problem of putting them in fictional time periods—does
not apply to these authors.
I disagree slightly with one thing Robert said. I would say these are “undifferentiated” names, at least in spirit. By setting up the “pseudo” authority, we are saying we don’t really know what their identity was. I think that’s pretty much the same as the spirit of old undifferentiated authorities, because occasionally several of the identities on them might be found to be the same person, too.
I agree with John's point about huge disruption in the file for not much (if any) benefit. First, most of these "Pseudo" names are well known to classics scholars and others under the "Pseudo" name (frequently evidenced by usage on title
pages). If our primary goal is "convenience of the user", works should be gathered together under the name users expect to find, in spite of theoretical problems now in place thanks to LRM. However, it also has to be admitted that these works haven't all been
treated the same. Some have been established under a "Pseudo" name and others have been established under title.
The problem with separating them all out as individual authors (e.g. "Pseudo Aristotle (Author of ...)") is that these are defined by what they are not: the works of, for example, "Pseudo Aristotle" are works that have been attributed to Aristotle and that are now believed not to be by Aristotle. Generally that's all we know about them. So (in my opinion) it would be misleading to separate them into individual person records because maybe works A B & C are in fact by one person (though not Aristotle) whereas D & E are by someone else (still not Aristotle); but we just don't know. So separating the authors of A-E into five separate "person" records would be misleading.
The treatment of the "Pseudo" authors is in some ways the exact opposite of treatment of pseudonyms. With a pseudonym you have a real person pretending to be a fictitious character. With the "Pseudo" authors you have works being created pretending to be by a real person for one reason or another, usually to give more authority to the work (this is almost exclusively a phenomenon associated with pre-modern works), so a different treatment for them from that of pseudonyms might be warranted. Similarly, they aren't exactly undifferentiated names either (all the works now attributed to a "Pseudo" name might in fact be by a single person whose real identity is unknown).
With John, I think making a change in this practice would result in a disruption that does not serve the user. However, I have for some time felt that it would be a good idea for PCC to study the issue of the "Pseudo" authors, first to see what if any consistency there is in current practice and then to see if it continues to serve the user or if a different practice would be better. I'd be interested in being part of such a study if PCC decides to commission one.
Robert L. Maxwell
Ancient Languages and Special Collections Cataloger
6728 Harold B. Lee Library
Brigham Young University
Provo, UT 84602
"We should set an example for all the world, rather than confine ourselves to the course which has been heretofore pursued"--Eliza R. Snow, 1842.
From: Program for Cooperative Cataloging <[log in to unmask]>
on behalf of Hostage, John <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Wednesday, August 1, 2018 3:06:03 PM
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Subject: Re: Pseudo Aristotele
Stephen raises some good questions. I don’t know the answers, but couldn’t the same arguments be made about many of the dozens (hundreds?) of other “Pseudo” authors in the file? It seems like a huge disruption. Does it serve the user and the scholars who might know them as Pseudo Aristotele or whatever? We’ve been told that we’ll be able to get around LRM’s nonsense about real persons by the use of nomens or something like that, so that shouldn’t be an issue.
Note, however, this 667 on the NAR for Virgil: “Works attributed to "Pseudo-Virgil" or otherwise once attributed to Virgil but now known to be spurious such as the Appendix Vergiliana should normally be entered under a uniform title with an added entry for Virgil.”
Any name that you used in an author-title 400 would have to be established, according to my understanding of the policies.
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The LCNAF includes "Pseudo Aristotele" (n 2001003970), defined in a 670 attributed to Wikipedia as "a general cognomen for authors of philosophical or medical treatises who attributed their work to the Greek philosopher Aristotle, or whose work was later attributed to him by others." Should it be coded as an undifferentiated name heading? And then what?
There are several titles attributed in LCNAF to "Pseudo Aristotele". Arguably this is a case where catalogers have inherited attribution to an undifferentiated name from classical scholarship. Nevertheless, should we break "Pseudo Aristotele" into separate, individuated authorities (implied in the work examples below) in accordance with the RDA and IFLA/LRM principle that authors must be real persons? That would also enable the work authorities to be more clearly distinguished as being by separate authors:
Pseudo Aristotele. $t De coloribus -> Pseudo Aristotele $c (Author of De coloribus). $t De coloribus
Pseudo Aristotele. $t Pepli epitaphia -> Pseudo Aristotele $c (Author of Pepli epithaphia). $t Pepli epitaphia
Pseudo Aristotele. $t Quaestiones mechanicae -> Pseudo Aristotele $c (Author of Quaestiones mechanicae). $t Quaestiones mechanicae
Then there's Anaximenes of Lampsacus, whose work Rhetorica ad Alexandrum has been attributed at times to Aristotle and to Pseudo Aristotle. Should we change the 400s on the authority for the "Anaximenes ... $t Rhetorica ad Alexandrum" to:
400 0 $a Pseudo Aristotle $c (Author of Rhetorica ad Alexandrum). $t Rhetorica ad Alexandrum
Hopefully that would not entail also establishing " Pseudo Aristotle $c (Author of Rhetorica ad Alexandrum)" for which there is currently no attributed resource.
Alternatively, these could all be entered under title, with 400s for the former entries under "Pseudo Aristotele" (unqualified). With no need to attribute works to the differentiated identities of Pseudo Aristotele, we could dispense with re-establishing them individually--the 100 name heading would be superseded by 400 $a $t references to works entered under title.
Lastly, at the moment it appears that "Quaestiones mechanicae" has been established under both "Aristotle" and "Pseudo Aristotele" in LCNAF, so entry under title might be a way to resolve that argument.
Stephen Hearn, Metadata Strategist
Data Management & Access, University Libraries
University of Minnesota
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