Shipping Corporate Bodies

Before you get excited…it’s not that kind of shipping.

Dean and Castiel sleeping
I wish it WERE that kind of shipping

Per a question from MARCinaColdClimate about those new LCSH from last post

“Why are imaginary corps (like the Enterprise) 150s & imaginary persons (like Biggles) 100s?”

There are really two things at work here, and we’ll tackle them one at a time.

  1. LC’s ideas about Corporate bodies
  2. LC’s ideas about fictional or imaginary characters/objects

Today, we’re doing Corporate bodies, call the board of directors and alert the CEO.

I think I have a pretty good sense of what a ‘Corporate body’ is, a group of people treated as singular entity for the sake of creation/ownership/production. Why, I interact with corporate bodies every day! I’m typing this on my Apple computer, listening to Dream Theater and drinking Tropicana orange juice. Well surprise! LC has a very different idea of what a corporate body is than I did.

LC’s Corporate body definition (under RDA) begins much the same as mine did

Corporate body, as used in this chapter, refers to an organization or group of persons and/or organizations that is identified by a particular name and that acts, or may act, as a unit.

But then you get this part:

Consider ad hoc events (such as athletic contests, exhibitions, expeditions, fairs, and festivals) and vessels (e.g., ships and spacecraft) to be corporate bodies.

What?! See in ye olden LC times, there was a little off hand concept called “the Division of the World.” Essentially, the world was divided into names and subjects, headings for the two were constructed differently and they were placed into two different authority files. Decisions were made as to what is treated as a subject (and if so what kind: topical/geographical/temporal/form) and what is treated as a name (and if so what kind: personal/corporate/meeting/title)

These groupings still exist, so let’s have a look at some of the other ‘Corporate bodies’ from Subject Heading Memo 405

  • Airplanes, Named
  • Armories
  • Concentration Camps
  • Fish Hatcheries
  • Helplines
  • Morgues
  • Projects, Plans, etc.
  • Ships

So there’s your “why is a ship a 110 rather than a 150” They are because they’ve always been that way. A terrible answer, I know! But at least you’ve got some decent sources that show that LC does indeed treat ships as corporate bodies, check the authority files for Apollo 11Santa María and the Challenger and you’ll find them in a 110.

Now, as to why imaginary ships are a 150, but imaginary people are a 100? Stay tuned for that…

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