Wednesday, June 12, 2013

#blogjune Post 13 - Cataloguing Decisions

I have just realised that yesterday's post was post 12 not 11 - that's how rushed I was.

Now on to the cataloguing query/decision.

I have not done cataloguing since 2005 when I was working in an academic library and took part in a secondment to the cataloguing area of the library.  I did a lot of secondments during that time, trying to get a "big picture" view of how the whole library worked and also make a decision as to what library work excited me the most.  But that is another story.

Recently, one of our borrowers brought to my attention that a particular fiction author in our library had been catalogued with two different call numbers.  One used the first three letters of their surname and one used the first three letters of the first name.

At first I thought it was a simple error that could be fixed but then I did a bit more investigating and found that on Trove the call number results were mixed - half the libraries had used surname and half had used first name.

Adding to the confusion is that this author is foreign, but clearly on the actual physical item it is clear which name they use as their first and surname.

I must admit my cataloguing knowledge is pretty clunky, so I don't feel comfortable making a comment either way.

However, it brings to light an interesting situation - if half the libraries are doing something one way and the other half are doing then another - which way is right?

I would think that at times it's a matter of looking at your own library's collection and cataloguing the book so that all books by that author are found in the same place.  But when it comes to correct names - who is right?

I'm sure there are some cataloguers out there that are itching to know who the author is and perhaps even provide me with the answer.

Our own cataloguer has said they will change it so all the books by this author will be found in the one spot, but the borrower is unhappy with the choice as to which name to use.

So the author is Arnaldur Indridason - so cataloguers out there feel free to make comment.


  1. I catalogue at SCIS level so things are a bit simpler particular with regard to subject headings and call numbers ... and then I often bend the rules just to suit how our students use the library. I would say the most important thing is consistency which means (that in theory) any of the rule-bending you do should be documented so that others who follow can understand what you have done. As for Indridason, I would be going with IND!

  2. How does the name appear in the 100 field of the record? The Library of Congress has an authority record for this author which is Arnaldur IndriĆ°ason, 1961-. That's what you should see in the 100 field too. If it's the other way around it is the unauthorised form of the name, and should probably be changed if your library usually uses LOC authorised names... I'd go with ARN.