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.

9.6.1.3    Recording Other Designations Associated with Persons
Record other designations associated with the person by applying these instructions, as applicable:
saints (see 9.6.1.4)
spirits (see 9.6.1.5)
persons named in sacred scriptures or apocryphal books (see 9.6.1.6)
     fictitious and legendary persons (see 9.6.1.7)
non-human entities (see 9.6.1.8)
other designation (see 9.6.1.9).
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 9.19.1.2 and 9.19.1.8.

9.6.1.7 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 9.6.1.3 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  9.6.1.3 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.

Yet.

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?

Woah. GAME CHANGER.

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.

Well.

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

 

 

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 7.17.1.3 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.

38308_20130913195424_large.jpg

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 6.3.1.3 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 6.3.1.3.

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 6.5.1.3.

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!