RMC – Expresing a Series

As you saw my template and example for series Work in the last post, lets move onto a series Expression:

Here’s my template for an Expression of a series (pre-filled elements in bold), followed by an example of the same Batman series as last time:

  • Status of identification: fully established
  • Source consulted:
  • Cataloguer’s Note:
  • Content type: Text
  • Content type: Still image
  • Date of expression:
  • Language of expression: English
  • Other distinguishing characteristic of the expression:
  • Identifier for the expression:
  • Authorized access point:
  • Variant access point:
  • Summarization of the content:
  • Language of the content: English
  • Illustrative content: illustrations
  • Colour content: color
  • Work expressed:
  • Manifestation of expression:


Status of identification — I plan to fill all these out enough to make them sufficient for use, it’s optimism!

Content type — All my comics’ content is both text and images, that’s kinda their jam.

Language of expression/content — All of my comics are in English, makes sense to put it in the template.

Illustrative content/Colour content — See above, they gots ’em

Here’s the fully fleshed out version of of the Batman series Expression record.

  • Status of identification: fully established
  • Source consulted: Batman, 1940-2011
  • Content type: Text
  • Content type: Still image
  • Date of expression: 1940-2011
  • Language of expression: English
  • Authorized access point: Batman (Series : 1940-2011). Text. Still image
  • Summarization of the content: Batman is an American comic book series featuring the DC Comics hero of the same name.
  • Language of the content: English
  • Illustrative content: illustrations
  • Colour content: color
  • Work expressed: Batman (Series : 1940-2011)
  • Manifestation of expression: Batman. Detective Comics. [1940-2011]. Volume


A few things I want to point out/discuss:

Authorized Access Point: All my AAPs for Expressions have both content types. This is because I want to highlight how intrinsically linked the content is for this Expression. DC Comics could easily release the Batman series “told in story form” and certainly novelizations of individual issues or arcs exist. Similarly an artist showcase book may highlight just the artwork without the words on the page. Those two examples: one purely textual, the other purely still images would both be Expressions of the same work. This Expression however is text and still images, I want to make that really clear in the AAP.

Colour content: Yes, the instructions at 7.17 all use the spelling ‘colour’ but the LC practice for the alternative at has us record with the spelling ‘color’ and frankly, that’s how I was taught. So much for international, Ganin!

RMC – A Series takes Work

As anyone who’s attempted serials will tell you…they take a lot of work.

In this next few bunch of posts, I’m going to be using actual examples (I know, right? It makes it so much easier to follow what the heck I’m talking about)

Let’s step out of the model for a minute and turn to an actual comic book.

This scene does not happen in the comic

Having decided to begin with my Batman issues (for no particular reason other than that Batman is near the top of the pile), I began by importing the Library of Congress record for the series into RIMMF. RIMMF does its magic business and extrapolates from the MARC record what belongs in the Work, the Expression, and the Manifestation.

Based on this, and careful consulting of RDA, I created a template for all future series-Works constructed of the elements that I was pretty sure that most of my future series’ would have (pre-filled items in bold)

  • Status of identification: fully established
  • Source consulted:
  • Cataloguer’s Note:
  • Title of the work
    • Preferred title of the work
    • Variant title for the work
  • Form of the work: Series
  • Date of work:
  • Place of origin of the work: U.S.
  • Other distinguishing characteristic of the work:
  • Identifier for the work:
  • Authorized access point:
  • Variant access point:
  • Expression of work:
  • Creator:
  • Other person, family or corporate body associated with the work:
  • Subject relationship:
  • Series container of:

The three pre-filled elements justified as follows:

Status of identification — I plan to fill all these out enough to make them sufficient for use, it’s optimism!

Form of work — As this is my template for series’ I chose ‘Series’ as my form of work. Lest it be pointed out to me, I do realize that ‘Series’ is not in LCGFT, and that the term’s meaning in LCSH is referring to a mathematical series. I know what you’re going to say: “But Netanel, the LC-PCC-PS at instructs you to prefer a controlled vocabulary!” That’s true, but this ain’t LC nor the PCC — this is RDA qua RDA. We’re following the instructions as laid out in RDA itself, and ‘Series’ is a form given in the examples at

Place of origin of work — I don’t have any comics which are created outside the United States, so that was a pretty easy one to fill out. The form here: ‘U.S.’ is taken from appendix B.11 as per the instruction at

Here again is the same template filled out with Batman data:

  • Status of identification: fully established
  • Source consulted: Batman, 1987: CIP galley (created 1939; Bat-Men)
  • Source consulted: LC data base, 6/30/87 (hdg.: Batman (Comic strip))
  • Source consulted: http:/www.comics.org/series/141
  • Source consulted: http://www.mikesamazingworld.com/features/series.php?seriesid=162
  • Source consulted: http://www.comicbookdb.com/title.php?ID=35
  • Title of the work
    • Preferred title for the work: Batman
    • Variant title for the work: Bat-Man
    • Variant title for the work: Batman with Robin the teen wonder
    • Variant title for the work: Bat Man
  • Form of the work: Series
  • Date of work: 1940-2011
  • Place of origin of the work: U.S.
  • Identifier for the work: LCCN n 86129114
  • Identifier for the work: https://lccn.loc.gov/n86129114
  • Identifier for the work: http:/www.comics.org/series/141
  • Identifier for the work: http://www.mikesamazingworld.com/features/series.php?seriesid=162
  • Identifier for the work: http://www.comicbookdb.com/title.php?ID=35
  • Authorized access point: Batman (Series : 1940-2011)
  • Variant access point: Bat-Man (Series : 1940-2011)
  • Variant access point: Bat Man (Series : 1940-2011)
  • Variant access point: Batman with Robin the teen wonder (Series : 1940-2011)
  • Expression of work: Batman (Series : 1940-2011). Text. Still image
  • Other person, family or corporate body associated with the work: DC Comics, Inc.
  • Other person, family or corporate body associated with the work: National Periodical Publications, Inc.
  • Subject (person): Robin, the Boy Wonder (Fictitious character)
  • Subject (person): Batman (Fictitious character)
  • Series container of: Batman 236 (Issue : 1971)
  • Series container of: Batman 237 (Issue : 1971)
  • Series container of: Batman 239 (Issue : 1972)


Running down the list, (excepting those given already in the template)

Source consulted — the first few are those which were on the LC record itself, the next three are ones you’ll be seeing often, they are incredibly useful sources of comic book data!

I record them as Sources consulted in every Work and Expression record, and also use them as Work identifiers.

Preferred title for the work — I chose Batman, it’s the title that the series is best known by

Variant title for the work — According to the sources consulted, early issues of the series sometimes had a space, and sometimes a hyphen in the title. I added an additional title (and Robin, the teen wonder) because it was on all three of my Items. Some of you may be saying, “hey ‘Bat-Man’ and ‘Bat Man’ normalize to the same thing and is thus redundant!” To you I say, while that’s true, normalization rules for NACO are not part of RDA itself, so I’m in the clear.

Date of work — I admit to being unclear about this. RDA doesn’t seem to have any instructions about recording a terminal date of work, only start date. I have recorded the full range as found in sources consulted, but I may check with the PCC list if they think this is allowed under RDA.

Identifier for the work — the LCCNs came through the original LC record, and the rest are my three fav sites with the unique IDs representing the series

Authorized access point — Here’s where we REALLY get to the fun stuff! You’ll note that in current RDA/MARC authority records there is no separation between the preferred title and the authorized access point. Yet, RDA instructs us separately on same. RIMMF rectifies this situation by giving you a separate field for every element, and then allowing you to tick boxes to form the AAP. As there are multiple Work entities named ‘Batman’ I added the Form of work and Date of work to distinguish it from others. Again, what I like about this aspect of RIMMF is it really helps you see that what we put in a 1XX field of MARC is the AAP, a hybrid of elements, and not a single specific element from RDA.

Variant access points — As you’ll probably note, these VAPs are just the variant titles combined with the same elements I used for the AAP. This is my consistent best practice as I like the uniformity and RDA allows variant access points more leeway in their construction.

Expression of Work — This is the AAP formed in the Expression record (more on that later)

Other person, family or corporate body associated with the work — I here gave access to both DC Comics and National Periodical Publications because without them, there would’ve been no Batman series. While Batman the character may’ve been a product of individual people (Finger/Kane), the series is not their creation, but that of the corporate bodies who gave it life. At least, that’s how I see it anyway. (For people not in the know, DC absorbed NPP, but originally they were the publisher of Batman)

Subject (Person) — These are both authorized access points for Robin and Batman. RIMMF allows you to import anything from the NAF and then create these nice links between Works/Persons/etc. Remember, under RDA fictional people are indeed Persons.

Series container of — These three are links to the Work records for the three issues of Batman I own.

Some decisions I’ve made about series work records

I initially had creator elements for Bob Kane and Bill Finger. After much soul-searching I decided (as given above in “Other person, family or corporate body associated with the work”) that no single individual (or even multiple individuals should be given a Creator relationship to a comic book series, even if it featured the character they created.




RMC – Conceptual Model

As I mentioned in the previous post, I’ve begun a comic-book cataloging project.

For this first details post, I want to discussion how I’m applying the conceptual FRBR model to my collection, and some problems I’ve run into doing that. It certainly won’t be the last time that I address FRBR-problems as RIMMF makes the division between WEMI entities razor rigid.

The series (Work) has an Expression (this particular expression is text/still image in English) and a Manifestation (carried in a volume). I don’t create an Item for the series.

Each issue is also a Work (with an In Series relationship to the series), each has an Expression in text/still image in English, each has a Manifestation (published by whichever company, given an identifier on the cover, etc.) and finally each issue has an Item, that single copy which I own.

Here’s where it gets trickier, so hold onto yer butts.

Each story in the issue has a Work (created by whomever), an Expression (again, text/still image in English), and a Manifestation (with a Contained in (Manifestation) relationship to the Manifestation of the issue).

Let me explain why I chose to do it this way. Another option (and thanks to Melanie Polutta for helping me in this conceptual phase) could be:

Each story could be expressed through the Manifestation of the issue. That is, rather than a stand-alone Manifestation of each story and then a Contained in/Container of relationship, that Manifestation of the issue would also serve as the Manifestation of each story.

I chose to not do it this way for a specific reason: It’s not really what FRBR and RDA want.

I read through Fee’s “Where Is the Justice… League?” in which he discusses and models cataloging comic books in a MARC environment. He opts for a formatted contents note (505) to provide individual story-access rather than related entries (7XXs). To my mind, this is similar to the alternate I mention above. It treats the stories as subordinate to the issue.

Screen Shot 2016-07-18 at 12.52.19 PM.png
Not the easiest to read

In an all RDA environment though, where do we put a ‘formatted contents note’ I’ll wait while you run and check, I’ll give you a hint: Chapter 7 is for describing content.

Didja find it? Oh no! Well let’s run over to the MARC-to-RDA Mapping and see what it shows us:

Screen Shot 2016-07-18 at 12.39.49 PM.png

Do you see it? With the exception of the duration element (and we’re not catting CDs over here…) all of the 505 fields map to related works. RDA has done away with contents being contained in notes, all separately identifiable contents are their own Works and have a relationship to the Work in which they’re contained.


This mostly concludes my modeling analysis for the project, I’ll be revisiting this often because I had to make many decisions about which WEMI level to recorded every element. These were often tough calls, and very subject to interpretation, so I’ll be eager to hear any and all thoughts on the matter



Works Cited

Where Is the Justice… League?: Graphic Novel Cataloging and Classification
William T.B. Fee
Serials Review
Vol. 39, Iss. 1, 2013



RIMMFing My Comics


After ALA and a vigorous RIMMFing session, I’ve become more interested than ever in having a pure RDA editor. It is frustrating to read RDA, study RDA, try to fully grok RDA and then bend and twist all the data into MARC blocks.

RIMMF allows me to practice de-coupling my catalog-brain from MARC and really hone in on the actual RDA elements that we’re supposed to be recording into bibliographic and authority records.

To this end, I wanted to take on a RIMMFing project, and I chose my comic-book collection. My mom (and her brother) were avid comic book fans in their youths and for some reason (and I certainly thank them!) they saved them. As I grew up and came into my own youth, it became my comic-book collection and I devoured them. I spent endless summer Saturdays (no electricity on Shabbat, remember) lying on the floor, lost in the adventures of Superman, Batman, the Fantastic Four and my favorite: Spider-Man.

Blah blah blah, flash-forward 25 years, and I still have those darn comics! I don’t read them as often as I used to, but attempting to RIMMF them serves two aims:

  1. It’ll be fun to revisit these old friends
  2. Comics are weird, bibliographically speaking.

They’re essentially serials, and most libraries which hold comics (with a few exceptions) catalog them as such. No individual issue is analyzed, just a record for the series, then a barcode and additional entry in the holdings for each issue.

But that’s not what I’m going to do. I’m going deeper. (And when the RSC finally finishes their work on aggregate works in RDA — I think you’ll find that it’s what is most ideal for the model)

I’m creating a Work record for each story contained in each issue, a Work record for each issue, and a Work record for the series. All of these are accompanied by Expression records and Manifestation records of course and then a single Item record (for the issue in hand)

I’ve done only two issues so far, but I’ve already started bumping up against challenging areas of interpretation where RDA hits the reality. Over the next few posts, I’ll explain some of the problems I’ve run into and how I’ve resolved them. Some are philosophical-model level problems, some are practical.

I will do my utmost best to never mention MARC, we’re talking RDA and FRBR only.

Stay tuned!



New LCSH may contain trace amounts of nuts

As you may’ve seen on twitter:

Here’s the timeline of how this came to pass:

  1. In late January of 2016, Catherine floated the idea of us tag-teaming Asexuality and Asexual people as LCSH proposals. We shared some resources and then got to work.
  2. I submitted my half (Asexuality) through the non-SACO proposal form, and then followed up with an e-mail.
  3. On February 2nd, Paul Frank (hooray!) swept up the heading from the sea and popped it right into the queue. In addition, he created the heading Asexual people. Catherine’s work is to be commended and was not for naught! (Just wait)
  4. March 31st: the PSD editorial meeting posted their minutes which had a lot of concerns and questions about the proposals. They were given the a “revise and resubmit” status.
  5. Enter the Team.
  6. Assembled in a google doc, Catherine, Jessica, Miranda, Violet and I began gathering sources and sources and sources (Catherine’s earlier work proved quite useful here!)
  7. On April 18th I resubmitted both proposals to Paul directly (I was unable to edit the master records because they were DLC’s)
  8. May 24th, notification came that the headings were scheduled for List 1606.
  9. Today — July 13, 2016, they are approved for usage.

I wanted to illustrate this process (and I’m glossing over a LOT) because it’s all pretty opaque to people who haven’t gone through it. There isn’t a lot of clarity on what it’s like to get a heading into production, and I want to remedy that.


Onto the headings! (As always — check out the full approved list)


Book burning in art

Painting of a book burning
This guy’s heart really doesn’t seem in it


Bus accidents–Investigation

Still from the movie Speed
Nonstop investigation action

Cary-Elwes family

A family of Cary-Elwes'
Courtesy of @ajlobster

Crescents (Shapes)

A croissant
I dare you to find a tastier shape

Flash fiction, Spanish

Spanish language Flash comic
I get that he’s being slapped, but why are his arms like that?

Freedom of religion in motion pictures

poster of God's Not Dead 2
You come for the David A.R. White — you STAY for more David A.R. White.


Horsea Island (England)

This place is gonna be swarming with Pokemon catchers.

Juggalos (Music fans)

I am not enthusiastic enough about anything

Libraries–Computer programs

Definitely go for Super search

Plagiarism in literature

Why yes, I DID have a livejournal back in the day why do you ask?

Proud globelet

More like: smug globelet

Quiverfull movement

Wait, I thought we just did Proud globelet


Riddles in motion pictures

I wanna be CGI backwards face Riddle


Two thousand fourteen, A.D.

My favorite thing from 2014. I still enjoy saying ‘apparently’ in this manner.