The last couple of weeks in cataloguing have been on descriptive cataloguing using AACR2 (Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules) rules and MARC (MAchine Readable Code) coding. If ever we think that librarians cannot be decisive, then one area where they can be is cataloguing. Our instructors did not lie about this, and yet, being decisive and being consistent is not entirely the same thing.
Considering the number of rules in AACR2, I was initially under the impression that it would be like APA citation. Essentially, that there is a rule for everything and no matter who does it, it will look the same. Obviously, the areas left for local use (such as most of the MARC fields with a 9) will differ between libraries, as well as specific code classification, but I thought the descriptive part would be uniform. Then I discovered that I was quite wrong.
Title Information or Not?
Despite the numerous rules, there are many areas that leave room for interpretation. One of the items I had for our assignment was a directory for an auto exhibition. The main title was fairly clear, but then I wondered whether the location (the exhibition hall) which was on the title page should be listed as other title information considering it was written underneath the title almost as if it was a subtitle.
Another issue which to consider the primary language (which would be listed first) in a bilingual book. [insert pictures] Would you do it based on the primary language of your library or would you use any other clues you could find? (I used both since the centrefold picture was in the same direction as the primary language of the assignment.)
How much Publisher Information to include?
As publisher information can be from a variety of sources, how much would you include? In the case that there is no (clear) publisher, which is more important? Distributor? Printer? Copyright holder?
In the end, I somewhat made up the statement of responsibility and came up with this:
Taipei : Printed by Wuchou Color Phtoengraving for Taiwan External Trade Development Council [organizer], 2008
Finally, there’s notes. The extend to which it’s filled out and exactly how is up to the cataloguer, which of course means that it will differ. Interestingly, they may not be as different as one might think as there are a far amount of rules surrounding the order, how one might format it, and MARC coding will even separate numerous notes into specific fields. It may be more or less complete, but having looked at various catalogue entries for the same item, they are fairly consistent.
Right or Wrong?
What I begin to wonder is who’s to say which way is right or wrong? Who might be able to say which way is better? I’m starting to think there must be a listserv of some sort for this sort of thing that maybe us students just don’t know about yet…