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The Order of St. Jerome: SCA Librarians

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Cataloging rare books (again) [Apr. 5th, 2008|01:30 pm]
The Order of St. Jerome: SCA Librarians


Hello again. As I posted a couple of months ago, I'm in an Advanced Cataloging class right now doing a group project. My group is supposed to teach the class about cataloging Ancient-Early Modern materials, and the resources that were posted here (especially the Gregory Pass book) before were of great help (thanks again).

As we get close to the end of the project, we're having trouble getting information about one thing: fixed fields. We've read OCLC's Bibliographic Formats and Standards on fixed fields, and we suspect that these materials would use the standard fields for all monographs (or for all maps, or all scores, as appropriate to what the item is), although there would be some things that would be likely to be more common. With manuscript literally meaning "handwriten," it would be much more common to code the type as t, and it seems reasonable that coding Ills p for illumination would be something one would have to look out for more often. However, because we haven't actually seen anything that says "Use the same fixed fields for Ancient-Early Modern manuscripts as you would for a modern item of the same type," we aren't sure if this is the case or if we just haven't found the thing that explains what we are really supposed to do yet.

If one of you who has some experience in this area (ladyaelfwynn, I got a failure message when I tried to e-mail you) is able, I'd appreciate either a quick "yes, that's right," any suggestions of other details with particularly common variations, or if I am completely on the wrong track, any leads on where to read about the actual fixed fields procedures.

[User Picture]From: ladyaelfwynn
2008-04-05 08:25 pm (UTC)
I just gave a talk to my co-workers on fixed fields week before last!

Warning: This gets long and technical; probably long enough to splint into multiple replies.

First off, which standards are you using? AACRII, Descriptive Cataloguing of Rare Materials, the Map Cataloguing Manual, or Graphic Materials are all options which determines how something is coded.

The Leader part of a MARC record is chock full of metadata! The positions you will want to pay the most attention to 06 (Type of Material) and 07 (Bibliographic level), as they affect other data entry fields (especially Tags 006, 007, and 008).

Are you cataloguing a single item in hand or a collection? (You note this in position 07 in the Leader, use "m" for monograph (single item) or "c" for collection.)

If you opt for a single item, you have to look at what it is; which can be difficult, if its something like a hand painted, illustrated book of poetry. (Seeker in the Marshes by the Philadelphia sketch club). Is it writting or painting? (I believe we opted for either "t" for manuscript language material (handwritten stuff) or "k" for non-projectable two-dimensional graphic. I don't have database access where I can see the fixed fields at home.)

Things like illustrated letters, collections of letters, hand written notebooks are much easier. They all get "t" because they are essentially all hand-written stuff.

Things like sketchbooks and photo albums with few notes get "k" because they are primarily images. The more annotations they have the closer they get to being coded "p" for Mixed Materials.

Things like scrapbooks (which usually have a variety of items in them; everything from photos, to news clippings, sketches, programs, etc.) get coded "p" for Mixed Materials because usually there is such a wide variety of items within one.

If you are cataloguing an entire collection (even of just a couple of pieces) then you look at what is in the entirety. Is it all written text, or are their illustrations? Are their maps? Drawings? Music? If it is a mixture of these, you will want to use "p" (mixed materials; we use this for the vast majority of collections at the Archives of American Art).

When dealing with an illumination a lot depends on the organization for whom you are cataloguing the object. If I got an illumination to catalogue at work and it was the only piece in the collection, I would code it as "k" non-projections 2-dim. obj. because we are mostly interested in the art, especially if it's just a image or at least 75% image (it would depend upon shat the words said and how important they are). When I'm dealing with "illustrated letters" I tend to see how important the words are compared to the images. Often they get either "p" mixed materials or "t" manuscript language materials, though if the words are unimportant, they "k" is also an option.

The thing to remember when cataloguing is to have a good argument for why you picked what you did. Lots of items can go either way and often both are decent options. There are lots of single item things we code as collections that are really multiple manifestations of a single item (oral histories, we have the on-line transcript, the orig. rec., the dups, and the typed hard copy) because it helps us do various record keeping.

Hope this was helpful and not overwhelming. My work e-mail is mcdaniel at si dot edu. I'll be in on Monday and be able to hopefully be more helpful if you need it.
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[User Picture]From: estllechauvelin
2008-04-05 09:51 pm (UTC)
Thanks, that was very helpful. (For the record, the class is mostly dealing with AACR2, although those of us in the rare books groups have been looking at DCRB as well.)
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[User Picture]From: ladyaelfwynn
2008-04-05 10:41 pm (UTC)
AACRII really is for books. Anything else, you hit up one of the special handbooks.

If you get a chance you might want to check out FRBR on LC and RDA on LC's cataloguing webpage. It'll give you glimpse of what's to come.
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[User Picture]From: estllechauvelin
2008-04-05 10:55 pm (UTC)
I just finished an assignment on RDA. We aren't going too far into it in this class, but we are getting a taste of some of the differences.
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