MINUTES from the 5/18/98 New York Catalogers' Meeting

May 18, 1998
Meeting held: Uris Con. Center, Met. Mus. of Art, 3:30-5:00 p.m.
TAKEN BY: V. R. Bohm, Watson Library,
The Metropolitan Museum of Art

TOPIC: Headings for buildings

Refer to e-mailed discussion paper of May 13, 1998

The discussion centered on how to establish NAF headings for buildings. The May 13 discussion paper provided a basic outline for problems and questions to be discussed. The actual discussion as follows:

If a building is named, how is it named: officially, colloquially? By the architect or the firm? By the corporate body making use of the structure? Should the architect be a part of the heading, possibly in a cross-reference? (this question was not answered absolutely, though the majority of those present thought this would cause problems) Most present leaned toward the opinion that if the building had an official name, that should be the heading.

Questions arose about name changes due to being bought and sold by corporate bodies owning and/or using the structure, or by complete changes in function if the building is renovated for different use and renamed to reflect that change in function.

Should the official heading be the most current name and designation of the building, even when the building is most known by and even still referred to by its former name? Comparisons were made to name changes already in the NAF where history notes are used to clarify name/function/corporate changes and cross-references serve to allow finding the official current heading even if older or alternate forms are used to search.

Again, questions arose concerning the name of a structure vs. the corporate body or bodies making use of the structure.

What should be done to clarify buildings with the same name in different cities, states, or countries, or buildings with the same name in the same general location? Here, the only point agreed upon in general by the participants was to add location and/or dates (see LC rules already in place regarding location qualifiers) though questions arose regarding the parallel problem of whether to use the most current political/geographic locations and names, as specified at the present by LC, or possibly the form relating to the political/geographic situation at the time of construction or when the structure was given to name by which it is known.

What form should the heading take? Most agreed that the vernacular language of the cataloging body at the time would probably be the most logical form, however, questions were raised about alternate forms in the building has an official form, or is known regardless of national and linguistic boundaries by a name not in the vernacular of the cataloging body (refer to H1334 in the LC Subject Cataloging manual).

Time ran out before a discussion of what to do with parts of a building could be fully debated, including: actual parts of sections of any one structure, buildings within another building, and several structures under an umbrella organization or corporate body.

SUMMARY: Participants were urged to review existing LC policies regarding the formation of headings for buildings, what should be used, what might possibly be changed; also to review the ARLIS TOPICAL PAPERS I--Cataloging Architectural Drawings, to see if any ideas could be gleaned from those specifications.

The next meeting was tentatively set for June 22, again in the Uris Con. Cen. to continue the discussion on headings for buildings and to take up the discussion about uniform titles for unnamed works of art.