I have been known to tell our faculty “Sorry, the rules don’t really give me that option, what I need is _____”.


If pressed I can cite the rules, but frankly, no one has ever pushed me on it very hard.


-          Hank


William C. (Hank) Young

CONSER Coordinator

George A. Smathers Libraries

University of Florida


From: Program for Cooperative Cataloging [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Sapon-White, Richard
Sent: Tuesday, October 09, 2018 1:26 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: [PCCLIST] Adding Ph.D. to authority record for an author


An author of a dissertation at our institution contacted me to ask that we remove his year of birth from the access point for his name on the dissertation’s (and thesis’s) bib records.  If we do that, his name conflicts with another in WorldCat.  I do have his middle initial, but when asked if we could use his middle name to distinguish his name, he gave a long answer why he didn’t want his middle name used.  I asked if he could provide his profession and he refused to give one.  He is in the military and with reference to the above possible additions to his name, he cites his being in the military.  He is okay about us using “Ph. D.” as an addition to his name.


I could just go ahead and do that, but I looked at RDA and the relevant LC Policy Statements.  RDA, Other Term of Rank, Honour, or Office, specifically states:


Include a term indicative of rank, honour, or office if the term appears with the name (see and if needed to distinguish one authorized access point from another. Include this element when the person's date of birth or date of death is not available (see


“Ph. D.” is given as an example of such a term.  Of the 3 conditions specified in the rule, only the need to distinguish from another authorized access point is me. None of his 3 publications (thesis, dissertation, and a journal article) use Ph. D. after his name, although it is obvious from the dissertation that he has the degree.  His birth date is available, so the 3rd condition in the rule is not met – that is how this situation began.


Is this the point where cataloger’s judgment kicks in?  Should I not be a stickler for rules and just drop his birth date and add the Ph. D.?  I intend to create an authority record in addition to changing the access points on the bib records.


Thanks for your input.





Richard E. Sapon-White, Head

Cataloging and Metadata Services

Oregon State University Libraries

121 Valley Library

Corvallis, OR  97331-4501

541-737-7319 (voice)

541-737-8267 (fax)

[log in to unmask]