Some help for the Iron Maiden researchers

I was listening to some Iron Maiden while having a discussion with some tweeps about aboutness in popular music —

As an Iron Maiden enthusiast, I’ve always been struck by the sheer number of songs of theirs that are based on literary works.

The following is a partial (I say partial because I’m sure I missed some) list of names, name/titles, geogs, etc. you can use when you’re boss isn’t looking and you get to add fun headings to your Iron Maiden albums. (I’m not doing actual aboutness, just working from titles)

I’m using the form subdivision ‘Songs and music’, the scope note is:

Use as a form subdivision under names of countries, cities, etc., names of individual persons and corporate bodies and under classes of persons, ethnic groups, military services, and topical headings for collections or single works of vocal or instrumental music about the subject.

Now that doesn’t actually include “literary works” but it does include “names of persons.” What do you think, is this a legal construction? Would you be able to use it under works entered under a uniform title with no person’s name?

Some of the RDA-enthusiasts among you may be interested in using a subfield i relationship designator instead. Non-“Western Concert music”…is not of great interest to RDA. While the very broad parent category of:

based on (work) A work used as the source for a derivative work. Reciprocal relationship:derivative (work)
will certainly suffice, it’s frustrating there isn’t anything more specific! If a work is turned into a dance, opera, oratorio, or musical theatre — RDA has you covered. There are two narrower options that I think could work, but I’d want to mull it over before committing to using either one. They are:
adaptation of (work) A work that has been modified for a purpose, use, or medium other than that for which it was originally intended. Reciprocal relationship: adapted as (work)
inspired by (work) A work which serves as the inspiration for another work.Reciprocal relationship: inspiration for (work)

Comment, criticize and suggest more!


651 _0 Transylvania (Romania) $v Songs and music.

600 1 0 Leroux, Gaston, $d 1868-1927. $t Fantôme de l’Opéra. $l English $v Songs and music.

600 1 0 Caesar, Julius $x Assassination $v Songs and music.

600 1 0 Poe, Edgar Allan, $d 1809-1849. $t Murders in the Rue Morgue $v Songs and music.

600 1 0 Genghis Khan, 1162-1227 $v Songs and music.

630 0 0 Children of the damned (motion picture) $v Songs and music.

630 0 0 Prisoner (Television program : 1967-1968) $v Songs and music.

600 1 0 Herbert, Frank. $t Dune series $v Songs and music.

600 1 0 Mishima, Yukio, $d 1925-1970. $t Taiyō to tetsu. $l English $v Songs and music.

600 1 0 Campbell, Ramsey, 1946- $t Inhabitant of the lake $v Songs and music.

600 1 0  Tennyson, Alfred Tennyson, Baron, $d 1809-1892. $t Charge of the Light Brigade $v Songs and music.

630 0 0 Where eagles dare (motion picture) $v Songs and music.

630 0 0 Guerre du feu (Motion picture) $v Songs and music.

650 _ 0 Icarus (Greek mythology) $v Songs and music.

650 _ 0 Britain, Battle of, Great Britain, 1940 $v Songs and music.

650 _ 0 Doomsday Clock $v Songs and music.

630 0 0 Duellists (motion picture) $v Songs and music.

600 1 0 Coleridge, Samuel Taylor, $d 1772-1834. $t Rime of the ancient mariner $v Songs and music.

600 1 0 Sillitoe, Alan. $t Loneliness of the long-distance runner $v Songs and music.

600 0 0 Alexander, the Great, $d 356 B.C.-323 B.C. $v Songs and music.

600 1 0 Card, Orson Scott. Seventh son $v Songs and music.

600 1 0 Beach, Edward L. (Edward Latimer), $d 1918-2002 $t Run silent run deep $v Songs and music.

630 0 0 Fugitive (Television program) $v Songs and music.

600 1 0 Golding, William, $d 1911-1993. $t Lord of the flies $v Songs and music.

630 0 0 Falling down (Motion picture) $v Songs and music.

630 0 0  Apocalypse now (Motion picture) $v Songs and music.

630 0 0 Braveheart (Motion picture) $v Songs and music.

630 0 0 Wicker man (Motion picture : 1973) $v Songs and music.

630 0 0 Forbidden planet (Motion picture) $v Songs and music.

650 _ 0 Ypres, 3rd Battle of, Ieper, Belgium, 1917 $v Songs and music.

630 _ 0 When the wind blows (Motion picture) $v Songs and music.

650 _ 0 El Dorado $v Songs and music.

600 1 0 Huxley, Aldous, 1894-1963 $t Brave new world $v Songs and music.

600 1 0 Williams, Robin, 1951-2014 $v Songs and music.


Here’s some interesting things I learned: There’s no authority record for “Brave new world”, only for translations of it. Same goes for “Dune” (the individual first book of the series)


Names and Names and Names and Names

Much has been written about the Power of Names. The power to name, to know someone/thing’s name, the right to change your own. I will not be mentioning roses vis-a-vis sweet-smells.

Is there anything new to say about the weight and import given to names? Probs not. But when has that ever stopped me?

I was cataloging This Bridge Called My Back (3rd edition) and noticed a few names which were written lower-case. While trying to give access to the contributors in 700s (my own little radical cataloging act is to give a bit more name access than I ordinarily would to under-represented folks in our catalog) I had to run everybody through the NAF. It was interesting to see whose names were rendered according to the desire of the authors, and whose names were rendered otherwise. It got me thinking about names styled in all lowercase, or other unconventional orthographies.

My gut of course, tells me to call people as they want to be called — which extends to the written word. For many though, this is simply a BRIDGE TOO FAR. There is an anger I saw while googling around for this topic, a peevishness that someone would be demanding that you violate these SACRED RULES of capitalization handed on high from CAPITALIZATION GODS for their special sneauxflake-selves. Is there anything more fundamental to cataloging than names? Name of this object, created by this name-d individual, is about these names, is in the form of those names, and has contributions from these other names.

I highly encourage you to check out the Wikipedia page for danah boyd, specifically the talk pages. Since April, 2006, and as recently as February, 2015 — the editors have argued, passionately that her name must be spelled according to ‘proper’ rules. There is vitriol spilling across three (!) archives of discussion that she has no right to decide on her own name’s appearance.

More annoyed people can be seen in this metafilter thread

bell hooks has an entire section of her talk page set aside for name-pedants (not that it doesn’t appear throughout the other archives of her page)

This Language Log post takes great umbrage with the idea that people can choose their own name’s orthography.

So here’s a partial but by no means complete list of people that LC’s authorities have in uppercase despite their choosing to style it lowercase.

doris davenport

brian d foy

debbie tucker green

While dream hampton, and mary hope whitehead lee do not currently have authority records, keep an eye out folks, for if they get one, let’s get it right!

MARCXML – Baby Steps

First off, I want to assure folks that I have not given up or ceased to work on the other aspects of this blog. These technical things interest me as a cataloger as well as the social (sociological?) aspects of cataloging.


Alright, so I’ve begun — you can find the preliminary .xsd file here. I’ve included what was already on LC’s page, but made alterations. The assertions (that provide the validation) that I’ve added (so far) control for all the indicators for 1XX fields. At first I thought, oh sure, 100, 110, 111, 130. Easy. But then of course, I realized that that’s Bibliographic MARC. There’s also Authority, Classification, Holdings and Community.

(Full disclosure, I have no real idea what the heck MARC-Community is, but it’s on the spec!)

So I then added assertions to control the indicators for the 148, 150, 151, 155, 162, 180, 181, 182, 185 (Authority), the 153, 154 (Classification). Fortunately, Holdings has no 1XX fields, and Community’s are identical (in indicator values) to those of Bibliographic.

In terms of the non-filing characters, I considered adding assertions for ‘A’, ‘An’, and ‘The’. While the full list of possible articles on which to not file is extensive, the problem is that there are ALSO languages in which you would file on ‘A’. If the movie ‘A la mala’ were to get a uniform title of ‘A la mala (motion picture)’ for example, it would have to validate without the non-filing characters! As for ‘An’ and ‘The’ — my knowledge of all languages and their articles is simply too imperfect to be certain that I wouldn’t screw up something else like that as well. So for now, I simply required that those indicators be a digit.

So now to test all this stuff, right? Well I figured I would download the examples given on the LC MARCXML page for Classification/Names/Subjects (I grabbed a bunch of Bibliographic and Holdings from my work catalog, still no clue where to get Community…).

After conforming all the records to the same namespace (LC seems to use slim: some, marc:, some, marcxml: and some none at all, because they hate me.) Wouldn’t you know it, suddenly I’m popping errors all over the place. Oh glob, what did I do wrong?

Nothing! The examples given in the MARCXML documentation aren’t even all valid xml! According to the specifications of the XML standard,

The ampersand character (&) and the left angle bracket (<) must not appear in their literal form, except when used as markup delimiters, or within a comment, a processing instruction, or a CDATA section.

But (just as an example, there are MANY of these…) in the 642 field of one of the Authority examples (and indeed, it’s the same in the actual authority record in the NAF, there’s this:

<marcxml:datafield tag=”642 ind1=” “ ind2=” “>
<marcxml:subfield code=”a>nuova ser., 4</marcxml:subfield><
<marcxml:subfield code=”d>1983-< ></marcxml:subfield>

<marcxml:subfield code=”5>DLC</marcxml:subfield>

(emphasis mine) — INVALID XML, LC!! YEESH. So, yeah. First I had to fix all those basic formatting errors.
Then, after I fix those errors, most of the leaders actually weren’t valid! the leader is 23 digits long, some of which is system added, some of which is generated by the control fields. But so many didn’t conform, because they had too few spaces around the 8/9th digit. Super annoying and confusing.  Grr.

So, once I fixed that, voila! All my assertions worked as expected, as in I found additional errors, which of course is the point of validating —  a few 130s had second indicators. At first I was confused for how ever could LC make such a mistake? But then, oy, I checked the spec again, and wouldn’t you know that while 130 in BibliographicMARC has

  • First indicator: 0-9
  •  Second indicator: undefined
the 130 of Authority MARC has the opposite! I know, I know. I have no idea why they did it that way. Maybe it was a mistake? an accident? I dunno. But that’s what’s in the spec. So then I had to go back and change the assertion for the 130 to validate its indicators based on its sibling leader.
Okay so that took a BUNCH of time this weekend, but I feel like I’ve got a handle now on how to do this. It’s still a terribly daunting project, and only getting larger because I now realize that the fields aren’t always the same depending on which type of MARC record they are.
All 1xx fields have assertions to control their indicators, and all 5 of the types of leaders have assertions to make sure they conform as well (and so I can use that info in further assertions). Again, here’s the .xsd file as it currently is. Feel free to check it over, experiment with it, let me know what you think, comments, suggestions, criticisms are welcome here or on twitter.


After much pondering and mulling since the last post I’ve realized why the .xsd for MARCXML is so lousy. It’s intended to be very broad, and validate against an incredibly wide assortment of MARC. To that end, they essentially allowed any three number combination to be entered as the tag attribute of the datafield. You can enter invalid numbers, like 114 or 470, and they’ll validate. Similarly, you can enter any digit or any lower-case letter as an indicator for any field, which again will break the spec! It even allows bizarre characters as subfields like ? or &. To my knowledge there is no field which allows subfield ?, but they’re validating against it anyway.

At first, I planned to use Schematron, having been suggested to it by @LibSkrat. It solved some of the problems I’d faced earlier in my XML work — that XSD 1.0 wasn’t able to constrain or restrict a value of an element or attribute based on its parents value. But XSD 1.1 can! Hooray!

So tonight I embark on a vain-glorious mission. Writing (and annotating, ’cause you GOTTA annotate) my very own MARCXML Schema which will validate against actual values of tags and indicators and subfields. I’ll try to be as generous as I can, I’ll make mistakes, and I’ll share as I go.

Wish me luck!

XML Schema for MARC

So I’ve been flirting with the idea of working on a project for a certain someone out there in Library Land #Cryptic — and the project involves subject headings, our old friend LCSH to be specific. In my XML projects in the past, both at Simmons and at Emerson, I never used “real” encoding standards. Here’s an example of a ‘media’ element from Emflix, the best thing I ever did, and my single proudest achievement in my whole life? I guess?

  <media id=“732373” dateCreated=“2015-05-12” lastModified=“2015-05-12”>
      <title>Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl</title>
      <director sort=“6”>Gore Verbinski</director>
      <actor sort=“8”>Johnny Depp</actor>
      <actor sort=“10”>Geoffrey Rush</actor>
      <actor sort=“9”>Orlando Bloom</actor>
      <actor sort=“7”>Keira Knightley</actor>
      <actor sort=“6”>Jack Davenport</actor>
      <actor sort=“10”>Jonathan Pryce</actor>
      <actor sort=“5”>Lee Arenberg</actor>
      <actor sort=“11”>Mackenzie Crook</actor>
      <actor sort=“8”>Damian O’Hare</actor>
         <genre>Action and Adventure</genre>
         <subGenre>Super Swashbucklers</subGenre>
         <subGenre>Action Comedies</subGenre>
         <genre>Children and Family</genre>
         <subGenre>Action Comedies</subGenre>
      <summary>When a young swain recruits rascally, charismatic pirate Capt. Jack Sparrow to help rescue a maiden from rival buccaneers, he and his motley crew soon find themselves up against frightening supernatural forces and an ancient curse.</summary>
      <LCSpecialTopics>Adventure films</LCSpecialTopics>
      <writer sort=“5”>Ted Elliott</writer>
      <writer sort=“7”>Terry Rossio</writer>
      <screenplay href=;>PN1997 .P49 2002</screenplay>
      <callNumber href=;>[DVD] PN1995.9 .A3 V47 2003</callNumber>
      <coverArt href=“Pics/PiratesCaribbean.jpg”/>

Pretty wild, right? There are only about a zillion encoding standards I could’ve used to describe each movie and tv show, that would’ve made the project shareable, and the data easily transformable. Instead, I ploughed ahead with some home-grown, wheel-reinventing mess.

Don’t get me wrong, my project is awesome, and I learned so much along the way (one of the things I learned being, DONT REINVENT THE WHEEL).

So on this new project, and on any future projects, I want to stick to what’s already out there with regards to encoding standards and content standards. To that end, I’ve been playing around with MARCXML. Now on some level, sure, I understand it. Just looking at it — the datafields, subfields, tags and codes, are all pretty clearly 1:1 mapped to MARC as it appears in our OPACs and OCLC.

I decided to download the XML schema, the .xsd file — to make sure all my data was valid and conforming. What I found shocked me.

Yes, it was that dramatic.

On the official site for the MARCXML, there’s a link to the .xsd file and it is just utterly inadequate! I mean a good schema will validate with good data that matches, and invalidate with bad data that doesn’t match. But this schema doesn’t know the bad from the good!! What’s even the point!? You could just parp a 100 with a second indicator 4 and it will validate! It shouldn’t validate because that’s meaningless noise in the MARC standard, but the schema has no specifications for individual fields at all. It made me sad to see it.

Now when we upload records to ALMA, or create them in OCLC, these systems get cranky when indicators are invalid, or when subfields have the wrong punctuation, so there are clearly some better validators out there. Does anybody know where they live? Are there better MARCXML schemas out there in some other form that I just didn’t find, or do I have to write my own…

Elements in the Population

The tweet inspiration for this post comes from @marccold :

The phrase ‘Elements in the population’ appears throughout LC. Geographic regions tend to be discussed according to their history, broken down by period, then local history and description which will usually include enthography and there you’ll bump into today’s topic: Elements in the population.

What does that mean? Well it’s a tidy way of saying, “the people who aren’t the reggos.”

There are the Hungariansand then there’s the DB919.2.A-Z if you know what I mean

I’m sure that the intent behind these ‘elements’ demarcations is the usual “if the resource doesn’t take pains to indicate the people its excluding, then treat it as though it’s talking about everybody.” This is the standard line which enforces white supremacy (and the male-as-default, heteronomativity, etc.) Even if your book ‘happens’ to be only about white americans, as long as it doesn’t say in text that it’s excluding all POC from it’s scope, class it as though it’s just about ‘Americans in general’.

This is another method of othering populations. For examples, let’s turn to the one I use most often:


Israel is roughly 75% Jewish, 25% non-Jewish (mostly Arab) *

Here’s some of the breakdown of the ‘Elements in the population’
Arabs. Palestinian Arabs—Arabs in Israel
DS113.7        General works
DS113.72      Druzes
DS113.74      Lebanese
DS113.75      Bedouins

Then we get to the rest which is an odd mix of Nationality Jews and unmarked Nationalities. What I mean by that can be seen from some of the listing:

DS113.8.A35     Algerian Jews

DS113.8.A4       Americans

DS113.8.A74     Armenians

DS113.8.B44     Belarusian Jews

DS113.8.B7       British

DS113.8.B84     Bulgarians

DS113.8.C35     Canadian Jews

What if you’re a British Jew? What about the Belarusians in Israel who aren’t Jewish? NO CLUE.

Just kidding. I checked LCs catalog, and all of the books from DS113.8.B7 are about British Jews in Israel ex.

So I have no idea why it’s ‘British’ and not ‘British Jews’…

If you check the whole listing, you may notice that there is no way to specify ‘Jews in Israel’. I remind you that Jews are given heading status with the DS101-151 section itself, equating Israel with the Jews. For this reason, there is no way to talk about Jews as a class of people in Israel. According to LC, if a resource is about the Israeli population, it is already about the Jews unless otherwise specified.

So the next time you come across an LC section subdividing the population into ‘elements’, ask yourself who isn’t there. Ask yourself who is considered the ‘regular’ population.

* While there are most definitely Jews who live in, or are descended from those who lived in, Arab nations, the idea of a ‘Jewish Arab’ is contentious and many Jews who could be called ‘Arab Jews’ such as Yemenite or Iraqi Jews, usually do not as it seems (to them) to diminish the notion of Jewish-as-ethnicity. Some do identify as Arabian Jews, such as Ella Shohat and Ammiel Alcalay and I completely respect anyone’s decision to identify as a Jewish Arab or not. I only added this footnote to clarify for those readers who may wonder at the distinction in the CIA factbook percentages. Israel’s census treats these as two mutually distinct classes.

Signalized intersections (May Subd Geog)

I saw a tweet by Mikki Kendall which sparked a seed of a beginning of a maybe ginormous project.

As you may remember from my first post — I began this blog as a response to feeling frustrated cataloging a book. The author was writing from his perspective of several intersecting identities, yet LC did not allow, neither in subject headings nor in classification, for me to account for them.

So having been reminded that I’d meant to explore the limits of those intersections — here goes something:

Social usages. Etiquette—General works—American—Special topics

BJ1857.A-Z      Other special topics, A-Z
BJ1857.A37      African Americans
BJ1857.B7        Boys
BJ1857.C5       Children
BJ1857.E8        Escort service
BJ1857.F3        Family
BJ1857.G5       Girls

BJ1857.N8       Nurses
BJ1857.S5       Sick, The
BJ1857.S75     Students
BJ1857.Y58     Young adults
BJ1857.Y6       Young women

Here you have several given sets of people for whom one could conceivably write an “American etiquette guide.” Let me save you the trouble, the only book in LC’s catalog (in three incarnations) for Escort service is Gentlemen for rent, by Ted Peckham, here’s a link to a New Yorker review of it.

Let’s say you’re holding a resource that’s an etiquette guide for African American girls, where would you class it?

Why Netanel, I can hear you (LC) say, surely no such resource could exist, otherwise we would’ve made a provision for it!

Link to just such materials

If a resource is targeted at young women, but they are also students, what then?

Example resource

More to come…

N.B. That subject heading in the title is a little joke — there is no heading for intersectionality, despite the preponderance of works which are about it. Perhaps that should be my next LCSH suggestion

Primer on Intersectionality

More from Mikki Kendall