Just Who IS Ms. Marvel, Anyway?

Update 2016-05-29

What an unexpected update! The May PSD meeting inadvertently answered my question about how LC prefers to handle these specific situations.

Human Torch (Fictitious characters)

The Human Torch is a fictitious character that has various human identities over time. The Human Torch himself may have changed his looks over time, but it was still the same character. It is therefore not a group of fictitious characters according to LCSH, but a single one, which should be established in the name authority file as a pseudonym used by several persons. The proposal was not approved.

I can see situations where I think it’d be good to differentiate between identities. If you had a very large comic book collection in your library and a patron asked for the issues where Bucky was Captain America, having two name headings like “Captain America (Bucky Barnes)” and “Captain America (Steve Rogers)” would be useful. I can see how that could grow untenable though.

I guess I fundamentally disagree that the Human Torch has really been  the ‘same character’ through his various iterations. I mean the first iteration of the Torch was a freakin’ robot! That’s certainly a different character than Johnny Storm.

So though I don’t agree with them that every person that uses a name should be grouped under a single heading — that’s their answer.

Next step my dear catalogers — GO FORTH and add them 400s!

The other day I was cataloging some trade paper backs of Ms. Marvel comics, and was deciding whether or not to use a 600 for the character herself (subdivided by $v Comic books, strips, etc. of course).

Hopping to the name authority file, I found Marvel, Ms. but noted that while “Danvers, Carol” is listed as a 400, “Khan, Kamala” is not.

I wasn’t sure if this identity  (in the Library of Congress I mean, not for Marvel Comics Group and their attendant industries) was intended to represent all people ever known as “Marvel, Ms.” — a sort of collective pseudonym — and therefore usable to represent Khan’s incarnation of the character.

Having posed the question on twitter (and a big thanks to SofiaDistracted and Jessica for engaging with me on this, I checked a bunch of other NARs for comic characters whose names have been adopted by multiple people. Here are some findings:

So from these 4 examples…either the catalogers making the NAR didn’t care to add ANY alter-egos (poor Batgirl and Nightwing!), or they added one for the predominant identity only, or ALL the identities! So I can’t really conclude anything. Maybe I need a larger sample, help me, more knowledgable comics people:

What other names that have been held by multiple people? (for the record, as of ‘print’ time, The Flash, Green Lantern, Venom, Ant-Man, Spider-Woman — all of whom I know off the top of my head have had different people under a single identity — are not in the NAF)

I’m not suggesting that the NAF should differentiate between every person who grabs a name and a cape for twenty minutes. But at the very least, adding in the 400s will allow people who are searching for some of those names to find the character.

To muddy the waters a bit, I did come across the FAQ on pseudonyms from NACO — while this is obviously intended to apply to creators/contributors of works, and not really to subjects, rules A1.4-A1.6 could perhaps be interpreted to apply to this situation.

Whew. I’d love to hear any thoughts anybody has on this!

Emflix – Part 10 – XML – TV Shows

Link to Part Nine

So, tv shows — for the most part I handled them similarly to the movies, but there were a few differences that I want to talk about.

  1. Creator
  2. Title attributes
  3. Year ranges

Unlike the movie elements, in which I recorded directors and writers — I recorded a creator element in tv shows. It seemed to me, that because tv shows often have so many different directors/writers/showrunners over the course of many seasons, the creator would be the most stable person-access-point to record.

It was programmatically generated just like those other person elements (see Part Six for LOTS more details about how that was done) and the trigger phrases were, ” ‘Created by ‘, ‘created by ‘, ‘creator ‘ ” (though now of course I acknowledge that I didn’t need to add variations for capitalization, rather I should’ve just converted the comparison text to a single case in the checking phase)

I used the title attribute, ‘differentiator’ consistently in tv shows. While I used it in movie elements as well if there was a need to separate two different versions of the same movie, because every season release of the same show would have the same title, I recorded “Season $X” for each season of a show. If we had the complete series (or multiple seasons in a single box set) I recorded that as well in the differentiator.

Finally, I used yearRange elements rather than a year element if the release spanned more than a single calendar year. Here’s a complete tv show element depicting many of these pieces.

  <media id="1667754" dateCreated="2014-11-06">
       <title differentiator="Season 2">Gilmore Girls</title>
       <creator sort="5">Amy Sherman-Palladino</creator>
       <actor sort="8">Lauren Graham</actor>
       <actor sort="8">Alexis Bledel</actor>
       <actor sort="9">Melissa McCarthy</actor>
       <actor sort="7">Keiko Agena</actor>
       <actor sort="7">Yanic Truesdale</actor>
       <actor sort="7">Scott Patterson</actor>
       <actor sort="6">Liza Weil</actor>
       <actor sort="7">Jared Padalecki</actor>
       <actor sort="6">Milo Ventimiglia</actor>
       <actor sort="7">Kelly Bishop</actor>
          <subGenre>TV Comedies</subGenre>
          <subGenre>TV Dramas</subGenre>
          <!--TV Family Dramas-->
          <subGenre>TV Dramas</subGenre>
          <subSubGenre>TV Dramedy</subSubGenre>
       <summary>Those acclaimed Gilmore Girls are back for a second season of warmth, charm, zingy
          repartee, and heart-stopping moments of drama. Includes 22 episodes from the second
       <LCSpecialTopics>Individual programs</LCSpecialTopics>
       <callNumber href="http://endeavor.flo.org/vwebv/holdingsInfo?bibId=1667754">[DVD] PN1992.77
          .G52 G52 2008 v.2</callNumber>
       <coverArt href="Pics/GilmoreGirls2.jpg"/>



Check back for part 11 when I begin to dig into genres! (this may take a while…)

Blind Guardian (Musical group)


I gave up on the $v Songs and music, as it got repetitive, you get the idea.

Also I’m partially making assumptions here that because these are english language songs that the songs are based on the english texts. That might not be the case, as the band is German.


Earlier in this series: Iron Maiden (Musical group)


Battalions of Fear

600 1 0 Tolkien, J. R. R. $q (John Ronald Reuel), $d 1892-1973. $t Lord of the rings.

600 1 0 King, Stephen, $d 1947- $t It.

600 1 0 Crowley, Aleister, $d 1875-1947.

600 0 0 Jesus Christ $x Crucifixion.


Follow the Blind

600 1 0 King, Stephen, $d 1947- $t Talisman.

600 0 0 John, $c the Baptist, Saint.

600 1 0 Moorcock, Michael, $d 1939- Eternal champion series.

600 1 0 Moorcock, Michael, 1939- $t Elric of Melniboné.

650 _ 0 Valhalla.


Tales from the Twilight World

600 1 0 Straub, Peter, $d 1943- $t Floating dragon.

630 0 0 E.T., the Extra-Terrestrial (Motion picture)

600 1 0 Tolkien, J. R. R. $q (John Ronald Reuel), $d 1892-1973. $t Lord of the rings.

600 1 0 Herbert, Frank. $t Dune series.

600 1 0 Weis, Margaret. $t Chronicles.

600 1 0 King, Stephen, $d 1947- $t Tommyknockers.


Somewhere Far Beyond

600 1 0 Moorcock, Michael, $d 1939- $t Eternal champion series.

630 0 0 Twin Peaks (Television program)

630 0 0 Blade runner (Motion picture)

600 1 0 Tolkien, J. R. R. $q (John Ronald Reuel), $d 1892-1973. $t Hobbit.

600 1 0 Anderson, Poul, $d 1926-2001. $t Mermaid’s children.

630 0 0 Bard’s tale (computer game)

600 1 0 King, Stephen, $d 1947- $t Dark tower novel.


Imaginations From the Other Side

600 1 0 Weis, Margaret. $t Death Gate cycle.

650 _ 0 Mordred (Legendary character).

600 1 0 White, T. H. (Terence Hanbury), $d 1906-1964. $t Once and future king.


Nightfall in Middle Earth

600 1 0 Tolkien, J. R. R. $q (John Ronald Reuel), $d 1892-1973. $t Silmarillion.


A Night at the Opera

600 0 0 Jesus Christ $x Temptation.

630 0 0 Hildebrandslied. $l English.

650 _ 0 Tristan (Legendary character)

650 _ 0 Iseult (Legendary character)

600 0 0 Homer. $t Iliad. $l English.

600 0 0 Homer. $t Odyssey. $l English.

600 0 0 Virgil. $t Aeneis. $l English.

600 1 0 Galilei, Galileo, $d 1564-1642 $x Trials, litigation, etc.

630 0 0 Dragonlance


A Twist in the Myth

600 1 0 Moers, Walter, 1957- $t Wild ride through the night.

600 1 0 Williams, Tad.  $t Otherland.

630 0 0 Finding Neverland (Motion picture)

600 1 0 King, Stephen, $d 1947- $t Dark tower novel.

600 1 0 Stevenson, Robert Louis, $d 1850-1894. $t Strange case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

630 0 0 Völsunga saga. $l English.

600 0 0 Paul, $c the Apostle, Saint $x Conversion.


At the Edge of Time

600 1 0 Moorcock, Michael, $d 1939- $t Eternal champion series.

600 1 0 Beagle, Peter S. $t Innkeeper’s song.

600 1 0 Jordan, Robert, $d 1948-2007. $t Wheel of time.

600 1 0 Milton, John, $d 1608-1674. $t Tenure of kings and magistrates.

650 _ 0 Valkyries (Norse mythology)

600 1 0 Martin, George R. R. $t Song of ice and fire.

600 1 0 Milton, John, $d 1608-1674. $t Paradise lost.

600 1 0 Martin, George R. R. $t Game of thrones.


Beyond the Red Mirror

Concept album…or something.  I couldn’t find any sources that it’s based on anything.

Emflix – Part Nine – XML – Foreign titles

Link to Part Eight


I want to start off this post by acknowledging that I haven’t really mentioned genres. Wasn’t part of the whole point of this project to display and index the films by more than a single genre? WASN’T IT?


And I will talk about them! This order of posts isn’t actually the order of how things ‘happened’. I was working on everything simultaneously, and making genre decisions (and revising those decisions) all the time. But the genre stuff is so self contained and yet so involved, that I want to talk about it on its own, without getting bogged down by the other pieces I pulled in.

Okay, so today — foreign titles!

While every movie that gets released in a foreign country (and here I mean foreign to the country of origin) may get another title, I didn’t want to necessarily spend the time tracking down everything that ‘Alien’ was called. My rule of thumb was

  • If it was produced and released simultaneously in more than one country (and under different titles), give each title
  • If it was a foreign (to the US) film but was primarily known in the US by an English title, give the original and its English title.

Here are some examples:

   <media id="1737472" dateCreated="2015-04-10" lastModified="2015-04-10">
       <title xml:lang="cmn" type="foreign">Chuntian de kuangxiang</title>
       <title>Rhapsody of Spring</title>
   <media id="1616575" dateCreated="2014-11-09">      
       <title>Pelle the Conqueror</title>
       <title type="foreign" xml:lang="da">Pelle Erobreren</title>
       <title xml:lang="sv" type="foreign">Pelle erovraren</title>

Notice that I included an attribute ‘type=foreign’ on all non English titles. This was my way of differentiating them from the primary display title. It’s also fairly other-ing and I regret having done it this way. For of course, these are not ‘foreign titles’. They are the native title, and it’s the English title which is foreign.

I also included a piece of ACTUAL STANDARD data! I know, what a concept! ‘xml:lang’ is used by the XML spec to indicate the language contained in that element. The codes are pulled from the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority Language Subtag Registry. I never ended up doing anything that used that data…but there it is.

Learn From My Mistakes

All the titles were searchable but only the first ‘foreign’ title was displayed. This means that you’d get hits, without seeing why. This is very bad information retrieval.

Example here, a search of ‘khamas’ gives you a hit, because the Arabic title ‘Khamas Kamirat Muhattamah’ is contained in the record, but not displayed to the user. Not great.


Check back for part 10 when I talk tv shows! (Mostly similar but some of its own weirdnesses)

#CritLib – Feelings

Prompt for this post

As far as I can tell, this was my first critlib tweet. July 15th, 2014. Reading my history…I didn’t actually participate that day. The next one though, was about the “gender in RDA” paper

Billey, Amber; Drabinski, Emily; and Roberto, K.R., “What’s Gender Got to Do With It? A Critique of RDA Rule 9.7” (2014).
University Libraries Faculty and Staff Publications. Paper 19.

In that one, I spoke a bunch!

I’m not 100% sure I remember how I found CritLib. I joined twitter a bit late in the game, June 5th, 2014 — and I was explicitly looking for something like CritLib. I wanted to find librarians who were discussing the work we do (as an aspiring cataloger, I was especially hoping to find other catalogers/metadata folks) with an eye towards social justice.

Finding CritLib was just what I needed. From there, I added more people to my follow-lists, and more blogs to my reader. It was awesome. It still is awesome. At times I may find the format non-conducive and hard to follow, and I may find some of the language dense and confusing — but I always learn something, and I always value it.

It can feel very isolating sometimes — I know that for me, working side-by-side with people who may not have the same particular passions/interests/goals from the profession can feel like we’re on really different pages, though ostensibly working as a team. Finding groups like CritLib has lessened some of that isolation, showing that there are others out there, though perhaps not one cubicle down, who care about a similar thing, who are thinking a similar thing.

Through CritLib I’ve found inspiration and friends.

So why #CritLib? Shrug. If people were talking about cataloging and its relationship to social justice somewhere else, I’d go and talk about it there. I ‘participate’ (mostly lurk, sometimes post) on a variety of listservs, and while the discussion (particularly on PCC) can be way more nitty-gritty detailed about particular rules and interpretations (and I love that) they very rarely dig into the whys and wherefores of what we do beyond the FISO user tasks.

Not to poo-poo the user tasks, but which users — is not a question that gets addressed on those listservs. I only find people digging into those questions on #CritLib.

So that’s why I do it.

Thanks y’all! See you next time.



It’s time (it’s past time) for Queer in the LCSH

I was cataloging Violence against queer people / Doug Meyer, and again came up against the non-existence of ‘Queer people’ in the LCSH.

Offers the first investigation of anti-queer violence that focuses on the role played by race, class, and gender. Drawing on interviews with forty-seven victims of violence, Meyer shows that LGBT people encounter significantly different forms of violence – and perceive that violence quite differently – based on their race, class, and gender.

Leaving aside for the moment the fact that there is no term to express intersectionality in the LCSH, I was frustrated by what terms I did have to assign to this resource.

The topical subdivision –Violence against is an obvious one, but what term to use for the Class of persons against whom the violence is enacted?

As I’ve now spent a great deal of time with the various LGBTQ subject headings (see this post, if you missed it), I knew the answer was the term “Sexual minorities“.

Check out some of its 450s:

  • GLBT people
  • GLBTQ people
  • LGBT people
  • LGBTQ people

That’s the term LCSH prefers for any kind of umbrella term for the gamut of sexual identities. But does ‘Queer’ have better literary warrant? Let’s take a look:

  • “ti:Sexual minorities”, all resources that have ‘Sexual minorities’ in the title has about 4000 hits in WorldCat
  • “ti:Queer”, all resources that have ‘Queer’ in the title has about 24,000 hits in WorldCat

Now obviously this is not a scientific demonstration that ‘Queer’ is the preferred term in use, there will be many false positives for the latter. But that should at least be enough to demonstrate that it needs re-evaluating.

In fact, they already have two terms using ‘Queer’ just not as a term for people.

Then it came time to catalog the darn thing. HV6250.4.H66 was where it ended up which is less than ideal. The HV6250.4.A-Z section is given for:

Criminology. Victims of crimes. Victimology. Special classes of persons as victims, A-Z

‘Homosexuals’ is the .H66 cutter and it’s the only one on the given list that applies to sexual identities. Even checking LCs catalog one finds the need for a more expansive cutter provided beyond homosexuality.

All of these books are cataloged by LC as HV6250.4.H66, but as you can see, they do not limit their scope to ‘homosexuality’ as neither does the resource in hand above. We need a Q in our cutters.

A Televised Adaptation of a Screenplay based on a Graphic Novel drawn from a Metrification of a Dream

Edited/Revised: 2015/12/15 — based on helpful feedback from @dnjoudrey (the great teachers never stop teaching!)


I like relationships a lot. No resource we catalog exists in a vacuum, and no person who contributed to it was just born today (not even you, Baby Gramps). So many resources are connected to other resources and most everybody has a relationship to someone else.

I think it’s great that RDA is doing so much to build the links between WEMI-PFC-COPE (a helpful mnemonic for which is We Easily Make It Possible For Cats (to) COPE, by @ajlobster), and so I always enjoy scoping appendices I, J, K, L (when it’s ever DONE), and M to find the perfect relator term to use to state the relationship between work A and work B.

This week I cataloged four DVDs of Salome (there’s a course this spring using them) — all of which were adaptations of the Oscar Wilde play. Easy enough, right?

motion picture adaptation of (work) Wilde, Oscar, 1854-1900. Salomé

For three of them, sure — that sufficed. But one of them, Steven Berkoff’s 1992 Salome was performed live on stage, filmed, and then aired on television before being pressed into the DVD I held in my hand.

Things had just gotten more complicated.

While the 1923 silent film, the 1953 Rita Hayworth film, and the 2011 Jessica Chastain film, were all expressions of a motion picture (new work) adaptation of Wilde’s work — this fourth was less obvious to me.

In my head, I was imagining several steps:

  1. Wilde’s Play (a work)
  2. Adapted for the stage by Steven Berkoff
  3. Filmed for television

Checking the RDA-Toolkit, I found:

dramatization of (work) A work that has been adapted as a drama.

But then, I started overthinking it. (Or have I already been overthinking it?) Is a play being performed as a play really a dramatization of the play? Or was it always a drama, and thus isn’t being dramatized. That is, has it been adapted as a drama, or was it always one, and thus can’t be adapted as one.

Jumping up on level of the hierarchy, I found this:

adaptation of (work) A work that has been modified for a purpose, use, or medium other than that for which it was originally intended. Applies to changes in form or to works completely rewritten in the same form.

Ah! So it can apply to works in the same form, but they’d have to be completely rewritten. This film was not a major rewrite, I couldn’t find a credit to a writer — just director and other production info.

But then, more overthinking (YES, EVEN MORE)

What if the authority record for Oscar Wilde’s Salome doesn’t refer to the play but it refers to the text. That is, maybe it’s a change of form from “text” to “drama”. I don’t know, because the authority record doesn’t have a 380 (where that’d be recorded).

I checked out the authority record for a popular play, Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616. Hamlet — and that one has a bunch of very useful 380s indicating that it is specifically a play/drama. Extrapolating to assume that the record for Salome is intended to be the play, I concluded that I couldn’t use “dramatization of (work)” for this resource to refer to its transformation.

Having decided that, I ended up with:

television adaptation of (work) Wilde, Oscar, 1854-1900. Salomé

So what say y’all? Is there any good relator term to use to describe the relationship between a play and a new staging/production of that play?

staging of (work)

production of (work)

are some obvious possibilities that I propose.

But maybe this term isn’t needed, I see two reasons why it may not be:

  1. A staging or production of a drama may not be enough of a substantive change to truly justify it as a new work, maybe a staging is just n expression of the same work. My gut tells me (and I’d love to hear from theater people who know more on the subject) that there are many stagings which are absolutely transformative and would require the creation of a new work and an attendant relator term.
  2.  Because so much of the description of a resource waits until it’s been manifested, when that happens (e.g. pressed into a DVD) it can be described as a television or motion picture adaptation?



Some Recent Favorites from the NAF

So as some folks may know, I have recently endeavored to join the illustrious ranks of the NACO team. As my institution isn’t quite prepared to make the full commitment, I joined via one of the funnels.

As such, I’ve been spending more time exploring the name authority file. From time to time, I run across some bizarre/funny/inexplicable (to me) qualifiers or attempts at description. Often this occurs with fictitious characters.

Just for the record, let me state plainly and explicitly, a formal Ganin Opinion:

All the “Other Designations” laid out in

Screen shot from RDA Toolkit -

should be placed into the authorized access point as a matter of course if they apply to the entity being described. Restating for intensity: If the entity being described is anything other than “real human being who is or ever was, alive in this shared reality” then that designation should be in the AAP. That’s how I think it oughta be, but it ain’t.

Anyway, onto the silliness!

  1. Vader, Darth (Fictitious character)
    1. Darth has a 372, field of activity, of “Star Wars fiction”. We’re describing these fictional entities as though they were real, and Darth’s field of activity could only be Star Wars fiction if he like, spent a lot a time reading, or writing fics based on Star Wars stuff. As far as I’ve seen, he doesn’t do that. Here are some better suggestions for his 372:
      1. Space control (Military science)
      2. Asphyxia
    2. His 374, occupation, of “Knights and knighthood” isn’t great either. It seems to me that while being a Jedi Knight was certainly a calling, and a big piece of his life, he’s probably more known as the military commander aboard the Death Star and various Star Destroyers, and as a formidable pilot in his own right. So consider the following:
      1. Armed Forces—Officers
      2. Air pilots, Military
  2. Batman (Fictitious character)
    1. Batman’s 372s are totally bonkers: “Courage” and “Good and evil”?! Not even close to sensical. These are way better:
      1. Crime prevention
      2. Forensic sciences
      3. Criminal investigation
  3. Totoro (Fictitious character)


As always — check out the full approved list

Did you know that seven out of ten dentists recommend using new LCSH?

Chalk drawing [May Subd Geog]

Chalk drawing of fish at Wesleyan University
Yeah, I went to Wesleyan. CHALKING FOREVER

College sorority members [May Subd Geog]

Movie poster for 1984's,
I assume all sorority rushing involves vascular hands holding women-candles

Cornhusk bags [May Subd Geog]

An example of a corn husk bag
If you kept your leftover corn husks in here it’d be your corn husk corn husk bag

Elena (Name)

Elena Kagan lighting a Hanukiah
The Right Honorable Justice and I both wish you a happy Hanukah!

Equilibrium in art [Not Subd Geog]

Fan art of Christian Bale from the movie,
What if 1984, but the Matrix?

God (Bahai Faith) [May Subd Geog]

Image of the Baha'i belief in the universality of all religion's god-ideas.
Seems a’ight to me.

Love nests [May Subd Geog]

Image from a resort in Thailand of a nest-shaped tree house
Okay that’s more literal than I expected…

Natural Trap Cave (Wyo.)

Picture of the Natural Trap Cave in Wyoming.

Online social networks in business [May Subd Geog]

Cover image from
Yeah these kinda books date….fast

RoboCop films

Comparison of RoboCop from 1987 and 2014
I’d buy that FIRST one for a dollar!

Social media in the theater [May Subd Geog]

Texting duet: Elleka Okerstrom, left, and Yazid Pierce-Gray. (Submitted photo)
100%, would watch this play.

Television hairdressing [May Subd Geog]

Promotional still from 'Quantico' of Priyanka Chopra's gorgeous hair
Being on the run from the FBI does not excuse fly-aways!

Genre/Form Terms

Brunettes (Songs)

Cover art from 'The Brunettes' 'Mars Loves Venus'
This is not what is meant by the term.

Medium of Performance Terms

slide whistle