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.




2 thoughts on “RMC – A Series takes Work

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