Catalogers Discussion Group (New York, N.Y.)
Report of meeting, 22 June 1998, 3-5 p.m., Whitney Museum of American Art

The principal items on the agenda were the continuing discussions of uniform titles for unnamed works of art and for buildings.

Daniel Starr proposed that we do nothing more on uniform titles for unnamed works of art, that the issues were too mind-boggling and that authority records could perhaps not resolve all the issues. Discussion ensued. Manuscripts have a long-standing tradition, both in libraries and in the art historical world, of being covered by repository-ms.-number headings with some manuscripts having variant names like "Book of Kells" or "Utrecht Psalter."

Some other types of art works might work in a parallel manner to manuscripts, for example, seals may be an exception. Could the repository and number be the primary qualifier, following a generic object term? Would the user think of this? What list would be used for the generic object term? Would we need all the variants anyway as references? Emily Roth mentioned the AMICO project where museums will give titles to the works they select to include in the project. This might make them named works of art. At the same time, it might enlighten the conversation of unnamed works of art. Anne Britton had about five artists books without titles in the Franklin Furnace recon project; she created records with a made-up title. If any of the books were selected for exhibition and the curator gave a different title, the library bib record would probably be revised. Both the lead term and the qualifiers would need to be dealt with in any rule interpretation.

Daniel called for a straw poll: 2 were in favor of continuing to work toward a rule interpretation proposal; the rest of those attending were about evenly split between not continuing and abstaining. Daniel suggested that a portion of the Cataloging Problems Discussion Group in Vancouver be devoted to the issues. Another discussion among the New York CDGers, with significant input from visual resources curators, might be profitable at a future meeting. The issue was tabled until after Vancouver and after some experience has been gained by working in a NACO environment with uniform titles for named works of art.

The discussion on building names had more or less accepted the provisions of the "Subject cataloging manual" but moving the records to NAF. Daniel summarized the instructions in the AVIADOR manual which emphasize the architect as author but are also mostly drawings which might still get an author/title authority record (as a named or unnamed work of art) while the building might get a title main entry. There seemed to be continuing general agreement that a building is inherently a collaboration and therefore usually title entry.

On the specific issues covered (or not covered) by SCM H1334:

* References from the architect or firm would generally not be made to the building, though the information could be in the 670s and would often be on the bib record. What is the role of a reference on an authority record versus an added entry on a bib record? If one were to use references and buildings are inherently collaborative, would you need references from all collaborators, e.g. architect, engineer, builder, interior designer, landscape designer? (N.B. "bib record" here means a descriptive record for any sort of item, not just records for bibliographic items like books or serials.)

* Broader term see-also references are generally not made on name records. Claudia Hill says that is one of the difficult tasks in submitting buildings to LCSH.

* Building names change over time. Claudia mentioned banks as particularly troublesome with name changes for the bank as corporate body.

* SCM H1334 has post-1500 buildings entered in vernacular, pre-1500 buildings in English if there is an established form in English. While there was some discussion about the appropriateness of 1500 as the breaking point, there was general support for the break and there is significant precedent for it.

* Geographic qualifiers are dealt with handily in SCM and they follow AACR so no problem.

* When a corporate body and a building share a name, should they share the heading? Should there be a heading for the corporate body and another with a "(Building)" qualifier? Should there be a building phrase heading (e.g. Delmonico's Building)? Sometimes the building name is used as a variant for the corporate body (e.g. Grand Palais, Galeries nationales d'exposition du Grand Palais). For some buildings, one would need different uniform titles for the various phases of the building (e.g. MoMA), none of which might match the corporate body housed therein. If you have two or more headings, should there be see-also references between them? There are limited cases in which a see-also reference can be made for relationships of this sort (e.g. musical groups and individual performers).

* There should be a reference from the surname as lead element when a building name starts with a forename (e.g. Abigail Adams Smith House).

* Named buildings in building complexes should be established under their own name (e.g. Avery Fisher Hall). Using local place as qualifier seemed to have stronger support than building complex as qualifier (e.g. Avery Fisher Hall (New York, N.Y.) rather than Avery Fisher Hall (Lincoln Center) or Avery Fisher Hall (Lincoln Center (New York, N.Y.)).

* Named building parts (doors, rooms) should be established under their own name but with the building as qualifier. References from building would be expected.

* Predominant name was strongly favored when there is either a succession of names or variant names used simultaneously. There would need to be guidelines for how to exercise judgment about suspected future predominance (e.g. Trump Tower vs. Gulf + Western Plaza).

At the beginning of the meeting, Daniel announced that he will be resigning as CC:DA representative in another year or so. He suggested that anyone interested in the position contact him. Acclimating to the CC:DA environment is a significant process and a bit of "internship" could be helpful.

As usual, the last topic was: where next, what, who? Daniel asked if anyone was cataloging electronic resources. Only NYU was mentioned. Sherman Clarke mentioned a message that said the University of Washington was considering using MARCit as a tool for selectors and reference staff to produce records for the OPAC. Daniel had checked out MARCit and found it weak. Carol Rusk mentioned that the METRO lab might be a possible venue for a demonstration of such a product; she will investigate if there is a cost for this.

Sherman offered NYU on September 14th, agenda to be determined either from these issues (e.g. MARCit and electronic resources, joint meeting with VR on shared databases like VISION or other common interests) or some other topic. Buildings will probably move to the CAC agenda and might come back later. (Suggestions will be gladly accepted by Sherman or others.) [N.B. room 1135 in Bobst Library at NYU has been reserved for 14 September, 3-5 p.m.; mark your calendars, but subject to change]

We will not have an ALA reporting session in the later summer, but attendees and report writers are invited to send reports to Sherman for posting on his Geocities page.

Report prepared by Sherman Clarke, NYU
sherman.clarke@nyu.edu