Addendum to Fictitious Characters

Somehow that post really got away from me got a little bloaty. There was a significant reason I’ve been thinking about fictitious characters so much lately, and of course it’s my RIMMF-comics project. But I completely forgot to talk about how it related. This is my attempt to rectify that.


As part of this project I’ve been *gasp* reading the literature. I know, what a total professional, right? In William Fee’s “Where Is the Justice… League?: Graphic Novel Cataloging and Classification”, he mentions how Library of Pennsylvania adds local names for the characters appearing in comics and I got real excited.

Probably the most useful for a comic book cataloger is the $q, or fuller form of the name.

A 600 field allows a patron to perform a more targeted search for a particular version of a character. For example, 600 1 7 $a Blue Beetle $c III $q (Kord, Ted) $g (Fictitious character) would be the third, or Charlton/DC, version of the character (following Dan Garret and Dan Garett). For searching and display, this is much more targeted and more likely to satisfy more patrons than the following example. 650 1 0 $a Blue Beetle (Fictitious character)

600 0 7 $a Deathbird $q (Cal’syee Neramani) $g (Fictitious character) $2 local
600 0 7 $a Gladiator $q (Kallark) $g (Fictitious character) $2 local

While I quibble with some of the coding choices on display here (see below* for all my quibbles)

don’t quibble with the idea! As I stated before in both my post on fic characters and in my post on comics-characters-differentiating specifically — I think it’s great to separate out the different identities of the people behind the mask. So it’s really exciting to see someone putting this into practice (and if you browse the catalog of the State Library of Pennsylvania, you’ll see a LOT more!




  1. This is a pretty off-brand use of subfield q. It’s intended to hold “fuller form of name” true, but what is being stored there is clearly a variant name (or an alternate identity, but that’s a different discussion).  The old instructions in AACR2 (22.18), and the newer instructions in RDA (9.5) are very clear on what a “fuller form of name” is — the spelling out of an initial, abbreviation, or otherwise shortened piece of the preferred name.
  2. If using a 600 field, first indicator would mean that the first piece of data is a surname. “Blue” is not Blue Beetle’s surname.
  3. Ted Kord is the second Blue Beetle, not the third: Dan Garrett, Ted Kord, and Jaime Reyes.
  4. 650 with a subfield 1 is valid….but very very unusual, I assume that’s a copy-paste error.
  5. Fictitious character (yes! good to display this data prominently!) should be in subfield c, not g.

The Future of Access Points

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.

I said this in an earlier post — and I thought it was worth expanding on. This is that expansion.


As I continue to RIMMF my way along through comicbook-land, and as I continue to create name authority records in the Hebraica NACO funnel, I am also continuing to make access points.

Authorized access points (AAP) and variant access points (VAP) serve important roles in our bibliographic retrieval systems, so we should talk about them.

What are we even doing again?

It’s crucial that we (as catalogers and also the people who design our systems) think about what the heck we’re doing, and why we’re doing it. Why do we have AAPs?

A brief answer:

We have AAPs so that we can uniquely identify Agents (people/families/corporate bodies) Resources (works/expressions/manifestations/items) and Subjects. Furthermore we have them to serve as human-readable (and understandable) names for those same Agents, Resources, and Subjects.

Notice that that’s two entirely unrelated things that our current AAPs are supposed to be doing. Uniqueness, and human understandability are different!

Of course, it’s because card catalog.

(I’m trying to turn that into a stock phrase to represent why we do so much of what we do)

The Library of Congress has always recognized that we’re attempting to serve two masters and that using the strings as the unique identifier wasn’t ideal. That’s why every name authority record (NAR) has a unique ID in the 010 field in addition to the string found in the 1XX field.

So how will we decouple these in the future?

The AAP of Tomorrow

Some of this is based on what I heard Gordon Dunshire say at the RIMMF-a-Thon at ALA Annual. Some it is my own pie-in-the-sky guessing.

  1. The AAP of tomorrow will not be carried in the same field as Preferred name of the person, or Preferred title of the work. These are separate elements from the AAP and will be treated as such.
  2. While current instructions for RDA do provide guidance (some tighter than others) on creation of AAPs, it won’t always do that. It will provide guidance on the construction of each potential piece of an AAP, the preferred name/title, significant dates, form/content types, etc. But the construction of the AAP itself will be left to the application profile of your local system.

Let me say #2 again in more/different words because it is so crucial.

RDA (or whatever content standard we’ll be using) will help you identify and record elements in authority records

  • Names
  • Dates
  • Forms
  • Everything

But the unique identifier that you will not have to look at or even care about will be system generated. Since it will be unique, the AAPs will not have to be, and we will use our best judgement (helped along by well-vetted research as to what patrons find useful) to make the authorized access point for display.

Whatever link is generated for patrons to click to collate all the resources associated with that person, it will be based on that unchanging unique identifier, whether the text they click on says

  • Jackson, Michael, 1958-2009
  • Michael Jackson (Singer)
  • Michael Jackson, and there’s a picture of him next to the name

Should be left to what patrons find useful. The requirement “add X element to the AAP if necessary to distinguish” will be irrelevant because no element will be necessary to distinguish – -the unique identifier will do that.

What we’re going to do as future catalogers will be to record as much data as we can about agents and resource and provide identifiers for those agents/resources from other systems if they exist.


The Implication

I can see that some of you have already realized the implications. But I’m going to spell it out anyway.

Variant access points won’t exist.

Okay okay, maybe that’s taking it too far. But return to the questions above — why do we have VAPs? What purpose are they intended to serve?

VAPs provide alternative entry into the catalog for when an agent or resource is known by another name.

Well again, as above — RDA (or whichever content standard) will provide guidance on how to identify and record variant names and titles.

That’s it. That’s all you have to do!

Because there no longer will be the notion of a single authorized access point, thou shalt not have any other access points before me — there aren’t tiers of them either.

Systems (either local or shared) will generate access points for display and can generate hundreds or thousands hidden access points which can be matched on in case a patron searches differently than you expect. They are all equal to one another — and none have to be created individually by you, the cataloger.


Pretty cool, right?

Fictitious Characters (2016 : Ganin)

(Full disclosure, a lot of these thoughts rose out of my current Comic Book Project, but I’ve attempted to make it relevant to those who don’t give a fig about comics)


Ever since 2013, fictitious characters have been making their way from the Subject Authority File into the Name Authority File. This has lead to a lot of arguing amongst catalogers.

These arguments tend to take 2 forms:

  1. Philosophical
  2. Practical

The first argument centers around the fact that fictional characters aren’t actually capable of creating intellectual works. If you’ve read the FRBR-LRM document, you’ll notice that it excludes fictional characters (and non human animals) from the Agent class on those grounds. The document acknowledges that no matter what is printed on a resource, no matter what ‘legal fiction’ a publisher is purporting — some real human person (or persons) created the resource in hand, and that needs to be reflected in our metadata for said resource.

I’m not necessarily disputing this particular point. I don’t particularly care in which file we record fictional characters (and as we move to linked-data world, the distinction may become less important or even vanish) — but I care a great deal about the second point of contention: the practical.

Regarding the practical, there are three specific things that I want to talk about:

  1. Recording “Fictitious character” in the AAP
  2. Recording the other chapter 9 attributes for fictitious people
  3. Differentiating realizations of fictional characters

Fictitiousness in the AAP

For the first, if you’ve spent any time on AUTOCAT (amongst other list servs) over the last few years, you’ve seen this debate. The RDA rules are very clear that you do not have to do record it in the AAP, many wish you would…

(bolding mine):

9.6 Other Designation Associated with the Person

Other designation associated with the person is a core element for a Christian saint, a spirit, a person named in a sacred scripture or an apocryphal book, a fictitious or legendary person, or a real non-human entity.    Recording Other Designations Associated with Persons
Record other designations associated with the person by applying these instructions, as applicable:
saints (see
spirits (see
persons named in sacred scriptures or apocryphal books (see
     fictitious and legendary persons (see
non-human entities (see
other designation (see
Record other designations associated with the person as separate elements, as parts of access points, or as both. For additional instructions on recording a designation as part of the authorized access point, see and Fictitious and Legendary Persons

For a fictitious or legendary person, record Fictitious character, Legendary character, or another appropriate designation.

So as you can see, if the person is fictional it is required that we record that information somewhere (as 9.6 states it is a core element). This is undisputed. The arguments break out about where, and unfortunately (in this cataloger’s opinion) RDA is too lenient.

As the rule at states, there are three options for recording the fictional aspect:

  1. Separate element (and in MARC this would be a 368 subfield c)
  2. Part of an access point (in MARC a 100 subfield c)
  3. Both

It is here that RDA and I part ways. Because it is not required that you add fictitious status in an AAP, some people don’t — the famously contentious example being Captain James T. Kirk.

Kirk, James T., 2233-2371

The reason this bugs me so much, and the reason I think it should always be recorded in the AAP when applicable, is that the point of an AAP is to help the patrons (and the catalogers) differentiate between the ludicrously massive number of names and identities.

“Is this the John Paul Jones who played bass in Led Zeppelin, or the Navy guy?”

“Is this Michael Myers who murders people on Halloween, or the Canadian actor?”

I imagine it like we’re playing a game of twenty questions with a patron, and each question we ask ought to narrow down the pool of potential matches until we’ve identified their person.

“What is the name of the person?”

“What are some significant dates associated with the person?”

“Is the person fictional or real?”

How could you ever think to ask the second question before the third?! Imagine the set of all people: living, dead, and fictional. Clarifying dates can slightly help narrow a choice, but asking a boolean like “fictional” immediately cuts either 107,602,707,791 people (according to Google’s knowledge graph, that’s the number of people ever existing) or…however many fictional people ever existed which I feel like is….more than that.

So anyway — that’s my argument for why RDA should be revised to require fictitiousness to be recorded in the AAP.

Recording Other Chapter 9 Attributes + Differentiating

These last two of the practical points are so tightly related, that I don’t think I can separately discuss them. Let’s dive in.

There are two sets of instructions in the Subject Headings Manual which make it clear that LC’s policy is for a single name heading to stand in for all iterations of that character.

From H 1610 Fictitious Characters Section 5. Assignment of headings (emphasis mine)

For individual plays or poems assign a subject heading only if the character has been borrowed by the author from another author or source and used in the creation of a new work. For subject cataloging purposes, the borrowed character’s identity is considered the same as that of the character created by the original author. Do not create a separate name heading for the borrowed character. Instead, assign the same heading that would have been assigned to the original work.

We also see in H 1790 Literature: Fiction Special provisions. Section 4. Character(s) (emphasis mine)

Note: Fictitious characters may be borrowed by an author from another author, or from another source, and used in the creation of a new work. Assign the same heading to works by the original creator of the character and to works in which the character has been borrowed.

So this is pretty clear, right? A single heading/record for a fictitious character is meant to stand in for all incarnations of that character.

Well if that’s the case, then we need to stop recording some of the other chapter 9 attributes in those records. Take 9.3 “Date associated with a person”


  • William Shatner portrayed Captain Kirk in the original Star Trek tv series/films.
  • This Captain Kirk was born on March 22nd, 2233 in Iowa.
  • Chris Pine is currently portraying Captain Kirk in a series of movies and this Captain Kirk was born January 4th, 2371 in space.


Captain Kirk’s authority record in the NAF contains the following:

  • 046 $f 2233-03-22 $g 2371 $2 edtf
  • 370 $a Riverside (Iowa)

So I ask you this — if the authority record is really supposed to represent all versions of the character, then why are we fixing it with respect to birthplace and dates. Those are malleable attributes which may change from iteration to iteration.

Two more examples:

  • You’re going to find the heading “Holmes, Sherlock” on DVDs of and books about Moffat’s Sherlock. But that heading has an associated 046 of 1854. (Moffat’s Sherlock is obviously
  • ‘Spider-Man (Fictitious character)’ is applied to movies of Raimi’s or Webb’s Spider-Man. Yet the associated authority record has an 046 of 1962-08. (Never mind the fact that that’s not even the birthdate for Ditko/Lee’s Spider-Man, it’s the first issuance of the character in a comic!)

I can hear you now:

“Netanel, maybe the authority records should be recorded with data from the ‘original iteration’ of the character”

To which I say —

MUAHAHAHA, you fell right into my trap!


Catherine and I were talking about fictional characters in RDA (as we do) and she said something which blew my mind:

are fictional characters, in a sense, “works” that can have different expressions?


I hereby submit a “Work” record and two “Expressions” of Captain Kirk (most important bits highlighted)
100 1 $a Kirk, James T., $c (Fictitious character)
368 $d Captain
368 $c Fictitious characters $2 lcsh
372 $a Space flight $2 lcsh
374 $a Space travelers $a Astronauts $2 lcsh
374 $a Space ship captain
378 $q James Tiberius
500 1 $i Derivative (person): $a Kirk, James T., $c (Fictitious character : Roddenberry)
500 1 $i Derivative (person): $a Kirk, James T., $c (Fictitious character : Abrams)

046 $f 2233-03-22 $g 2371 $2 edtf
100 1 $a Kirk, James T., $c (Fictitious character : Roddenberry)
368 $d Captain
368 $c Fictitious characters $2 lcsh
368 $c Roddenberry
370 $a Riverside (Iowa)
372 $a Space flight $2 lcsh
374 $a Space travelers $a Astronauts $2 lcsh
374 $a Space ship captain
375 $a male
378 $q James Tiberius
376 $a Representative expression
500 1 $i Based on (person): Kirk, James T., $c (Fictitious character)
500 1 $i Created by: Roddenberry, Gene

046 $f 2233-01-04 $2 edtf
100 1 $a Kirk, James T., $c (Fictitious character : Abrams)
368 $d Captain
368 $c Fictitious characters $2 lcsh
368 $c Abrams
370 $a Medical shuttle 37 (Imaginary shuttle)
372 $a Space flight $2 lcsh
374 $a Space travelers $a Astronauts $2 lcsh
374 $a Space ship captain
375 $a male
378 $q James Tiberius
500 1 $i Based on (person): $a Kirk, James T., $c (Fictitious character)
500 1 $i Adapted by: Abrams, J. J. (Jeffrey Jacob), 1966-

I’m not saying this is perfect. Far from it, it’s a glimmer of an idea.

What I’m proposing though is that a “Work” record for a fictional character would maintain only the barest of bones, the ones that will carry over for every iteration, the ones which, if they changed, would necessitate the creation of a new work akin to the existing WEMI model.

I also added a made-up-field for the representative expression (a concept not fully codified but introduced in the FRBR-LRM document) because I do want to indicate that the Roddenberry Kirk is the first Kirk. (same reasoning for ‘created by’ versus ‘adapted by’)


What’s the freakin’ point?

I know, right? This is an awful lot of digital ink spilt for an idea (or a rumination) which will never be implemented and isn’t even necessarily well thought-out.


Fictional characters which have been transformed through media and time are studied by scholars, and the laypeeps alike. Why not help them find either the specific one they’re looking for, or a broader book about several of them?

I just don’t think that the following two resources really are equivalently about the same person and deserve the same heading of “Holmes, Sherlock”

  • The Lure and Intrigue of Sherlock Holmes : from Doyle to Rathbone, from Moffat to Miller
  • Sherlocked up with Watson : 15 highly erotic BDSM tales about Stephen Moffat’s Sherlock and Watson



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!

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.

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)

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!