[New York City art]
Catalogers Discussion Group
8 May 2000, Columbia University

Present: Mark Bresnan, Rodica Preda, FARL; Abby Bridge, Danny Fermon, Daniel Starr, MoMA; Sherman Clarke, John Maier, NYU; Dierdre Donohue, Guggenheim; Carol Rusk, Whitney; Maria Oldal, Morgan Library; Karen Mason, Sharon Mason, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture; Claudia Hill, Gladys Markoff-Sotomayor, Carol Pardo, Butler Library Columbia University; Angela Giral, Ted Goodman, Jeff Ross, Paula Gabbard, Barbara Sykes-Austin, Claudia Funke, Avery Library, Columbia University

The NY CDG meeting was held on May 8, 2000, 3-5pm at Avery Library, Columbia University and moderated by Claudia Hill.

The topics for discussion were:

  1. The revised draft proposal for headings for buildings
  2. How should artistic duos be established?
The revised draft of the proposal for headings for buildings may be found at: http://www.geocities.com/WestHollywood/9783/arlisna/bldgs.html

Daniel Starr, out-going Chair, CAC, ARLIS/NA, which formulated the draft proposal, provided an overview of the history of the effort to move the establishment of headings for buildings from the Subject Authority File (SAF) to the Name Authority File (NAF).

Among the issues which have made this a long-term project:

The different requirements of setting up a heading in the NAF (including account warrant to justify a heading than does the NAF) [sc: subject heading proposals require research beyond book in hand in all cases; name records only when needed for distinguishing the name or body being established]

In the SAF, a heading is linked in the record to its broader term, a relationship which would be lost in a NAF record.

To what extent would document H1334 in the Subject Cataloging Manual need to be rewritten if headings for buildings were transferred to the NAF?

What does one do if the building changes name and function (e.g. Carnegie Mansion to Cooper-Hewitt Museum?) or if it just changes name (e.g. from the GE Building to the RCA Building?) or if it acquires its name after the beginning of the construction process (the "office building at 5th Ave. and 34th St." later became the Empire State Building). This needs to be considered not only in light of the requirements of each file but also in light of what the public sees. Most, if not all, OPAC's, for example do not display 670 notes where the history of a building and its changes of name and/or function would be described in the authority record.

Proposal 2A in the discussion paper actually advocates the subject approach.

Should buildings be an exception to the standard policy for names? Should the heading be the name of the building at the time being covered by the works in hand? the predominant form of name? the predominant form unless the function of the building changes? the latest form unless there is a predominant form?

Among these was the question of what would happen to the broader term in a SAF record which would no longer be necessary in a NAF record. Claudia Hill, in examining 65 of her SAF building proposals approved by the Library of Congress between 1997-2000, found that in 25 cases, the broader term, since it did not appear in the corresponding bibliographic record, would disappear and wondered whether that would affect user searching.

How should government buildings which are named after their corporate body be treated? Or parts of buildings? Would an exhibition held in the Lehman Wing have a tracing for the Lehman Wing and/or the Metropolitan Museum of Art?

Having the Avery Indexers and Reference Librarians at the meeting provided a unique perspective on the issues being discussed. In addition, they queried how catalogers would approach certain cataloging situations and gave insight into the indexing work at the Avery Index.

Angela Giral, Director of Avery, queried how one might establish the name of an unnamed building on an architectural drawing which later became named or whose function had changed. She pointed out that the Avery Drawings & Archives had countless examples of this in the collection.

Ted Goodman, General Editor, Avery Index and Reference Librarian explained that the various names of the building may appear in their index record so as to enhance user access. Jeff Ross added that citing all the names of the building, if mentioned in the article being indexed was key in identifying a building for the architectural community.

Barbara Sykes-Austin, Avery Indexer and Reference Librarian posed questions relating to establishing the building name by the corporate body which occupied the building -- an issue that the CDG has also raised with LC.

Mark Bresnan, gave examples he had of trying to establish the two structures which were exhibition sites, Chateau Borely (Marseille, France) and the Maison fleur (Courmayeur,Italy) with LC. He ended up using these as local fields in the database as the headings did not seem in accord with LC's policies for main or added entries.

Once these questions are answered, the process continues as follows:

The revision should be finished in the next few months.

2. Headings for artistic duos

LC seems to have broken its own rule by establishing the following:
110 20 Gilbert & George

Do we "let sleeping dogs lie?" Would duos such as Bernd and Hilla Becker be treated the same way? (Probably not.) Where is the dividing line between the two cases?

Finally, Danny Fermon requested the support of individual members of ARLIS for the striking staff at MoMA. It was agreed that the most immediate way to respond would be to put out a call for support on ARLIS-L with the names and addresses of recipients of expressions of support as well as the names of striking colleagues of the members of ARLIS-L

At the conclusion of the meeting, Angela invited all participants to a champagne reception to toast the completion of the Avery Index retrospective conversion project.

Respectfully submitted
Claudia Hill