Monday, July 21, 2008


This is just a short post, to give us all something to think about. I don't know if this is true, but when Joel Hahn tells me something over Autocat, I believe him. Silly of me, I know. Anyway, there's this huge discussion going on about how they're getting rid of the 440 series field, and Joel says (and I quote):

"...given the programming headaches using the 440 for both transcription and tracing
was causing with OCLC's controlling headings functionality (as, when the
authorized form changes, 440s can't just be automatically updated like
every other traced field can, whereas if every series were a 490/830
combo, then this field would work like every other entry field does when
it comes to applying authority control and changed headings), the
benefits to programming and the ease of teaching new catalogers how to
handle what currently is an exceptional case make this worth the
duplication (which won't be true duplication as far as some ILSs are
concerned, as they never did index the 490 and often don't display the

Um, I'm sorry, are we changing the way we catalog because it doesn't work with OCLC? If we were changing it because it doesn't work intellectually, that's one thing. But we're going to change everything because this "private" company's database isn't built correctly? ARE YOU KIDDING ME, JOEL?

Ahem. Sorry. Food for thought. Incidentally, I'm not blaming Joel Hahn. He seems very nice.

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"Wicked people never have time for reading. It's one of the reasons for their wickedness." —Lemony Snicket, The Penultimate Peril.