s Thoughts from the Physics Chick: Cat. & Reference: You, too, can be a subject heading!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Cat. & Reference: You, too, can be a subject heading!

I was talking with a friend this week who shall remain nameless (but whose name rhymes with "Shmaser Jock") when I happened to create a subject heading for him, on the fly. He was delighted (and appropriately mystified by my strange librarian ways), so I figured other people might enjoy the nerdy fun, as well.

Here, then, is a flow chart which will take you through the steps involved in creating your own authority heading for your name, blogger name, or 100 Hour Board alias:

1. Are you a person?
YES. Go to 2.
NO. Sorry, I'm only doing subject headings for people today. If you're a corporation, meeting, geographical location, uniform title, or topic, you'll have to wait for another day.

2. Type 100. Go to 3.

3. Do you have only one name? (E.g., "Yellow.")
YES. Go to 4.
NO. Go to 5.

4. Types 0_, then $a, then type your name. Go to 7.
100 0_ $a Duchess

5. Is your name a first name (or names) and a last name? A title and a last name? An article and a name? Another name which would normally not be indexed by the first word? (E.g., "A. A. Melyngoch," "Madame Mimm," "The Captain.") Note: If you have a Chinese name or another name where the surname traditionally comes first, answer NO.
YES (to any of the above). Go to 6.
NO. Go to 4.

6. Type 1_, then $a, then invert your name so that the last name comes first. Go to 7.
100 1_ $a Melyngoch, A. A.
100 1_ $a Mimm, Madame
100 1_ $a Captain, The

7. Does your name include initials or is it an acronym or initialism? (E.g. "A.A. Melyngoch," "bawb.")
YES. Go to 8.
NO. Go to 9.

8. Type $q then type, in parentheses, what your initals stand for or the fuller form of your acronym. Go to 9.
100 1_ $a Melyngoch, A. A. $q (Angharad Angelique) [not her real names]
100 0_ $a bawb $q (blue and white blood)

9. Do you think your name is common enough that it might be confused with someone else by the same name?
YES. Go to 10.
NO. Go to 11.

10. You may add your date of birth to make your heading unique. Alternately, if the date of birth is not known, you may add dates during which you "flourished" (i.e., did the work for which you are famous). Type a comma, then $d then your year of birth. (If you are adding the date during which you flourised, add the abbreviation fl. before the date or dates.) Go to 11.
100 1_ $a Melyngoch, A. A. $q (Angharad Angelique), $d 1981- [Syster Melyngoch's name is already quite unique; I just don't know anyone else's year of birth, offhand.]
100 0_ $a Claudio, $d fl. 2007-
100 0_ $a Claudio, $d fl. 2004

11. Congratulations! You have constructed a name authority heading for yourself! Would you like to add cross references?
YES. Go to 12.
NO. Pansy.

12. Are there any other forms of this name which often appear? These include nicknames, acronyms / initialisms, versions of the name in other languages, etc. (E.g. "CPM" for "Curious Physics Minor," "'Brozy" for "Ambrosia," "Katya the Physics Chick" for "Katya," etc.) Add full forms of acronyms, even if you've already added them as a $q.
YES. Go to 13.
NO. Go to 14.

13. Type 400, then go back and repeat steps 3-12 for each other name form. Add each name as a new line under the original line. Go to 14.
100 0_ $a Ambrosia
400 0_ $a 'Brozy
400 1_ $a Ananas, Ambrosia

100 0_ $a bawb $q (blue and white blood)
400 0_ $a blue and white blood

100 0_ $a Katya, $d 1979-
400 0_ $a Katya the Physics Chick
400 0_ $a Katya the Librarian

14. Do you write under any other names? Do you write under this name with a unique "personality" or do you answer a unique subset of questions with this name?
YES to BOTH. Go to 15.
YES to 1, but not 2. Go back to 13 and add the name as 400 line.
NO. Go to 16.

15. Type 500, then go back and repeat steps 3-12 for each other name form. Add each name as a new line under the original line. Go to 16.
100 0_ $a Uffish Thought
400 0_ Uffish
500 0_ $a songs of inexperience

100 0_ $a Katya, $d 1979-
400 0_ $a Katya the Physics Chick
400 0_ $a Katya the Librarian
500 0_ $a physics chick, the
500 0_ $a librarian, the, $d 1979-

16. Congrats! You have now created a name authority heading, complete with cross-references!

Odds and ends:

Q. What's the difference between 400 lines and 500 lines?

A. A 400 line is a SEE reference. Basically, it means that you don't quite have the correct official form of the name. (For those familiar with Wikipedia syntax, this is similar to a redirect page.)

A 500 line is a SEE ALSO reference. For a name heading, this means that the person listed in the 100 line also writes under a different name and in a consciously different style. (This is relatively rare in the literary world, but quite common on the 100 Hour Board.) Since the name and style are different, this name gets its own authority record, with appropriate SEE ALSO reference linking back.
100 0_ $a Uffish Thought
400 0_ $a Uffish
500 0_ $a songs of inexperience

100 0_ $a songs of inexperience
500 0_ $a Uffish Thought

Basically, this is just a way of letting someone know that if they're interested in work under Name A, they might also be interested in work by the same person under Name B.

Q. What's the deal with the $ sign?

A. This is a subfield delimiter. Every part of the authority heading has a name. a is called the personal name, d is the associated date(s) (sometimes the subfield letters are mnemonic, sometimes not), q is the fuller form of the name. The subfield delimiter tells the computer not to read the next character as part of the name, but as a type of subfield.

Which character actually shows up as the delimiter depends on the system. OCLC uses , the Library of Congress and the OPAC I work with use a pipe sign, and the system I first learned MARC on used . Somewhere along the way, I picked up $ and stuck with it.

Subfield delimiters don't regularly show up in online library catalogs. You have to be working behind the scenes, or click on an option that says something like "View MARC tags." Even then, the $a may not show up. Since virtually every field starts with $a, it's understood to be there, even if it's suppressed.

Q. How do I format team names (e.g. "Red Team," "HFAC")?

A. Teams are considered corporations, so this flow chart won't doesn't apply.

Q. How do I deal with titles or generational names (e.g., Earl, Duke, King, III, Jr.)?

A. This falls under the advanced name authority heading tutorial. If you really want to know, I'll tell ya.


At July 27, 2008 12:22 AM, Blogger bawb said...

Yay! It's about me! Guys, look, I'm famous!

At July 27, 2008 6:21 AM, Blogger Laser Jock said...

Hey, my name rhymes with something! I mean...this had nothing to do with me. Must've been some other Shmaser Jock.

Also, nice work! I liked the in-depth explanation of all of this. I found particularly interesting your comment about writing with a consciously different style, and how it's unusually common on the Board. Fun point.

At August 05, 2008 5:48 PM, Blogger Th. said...


Now I feel bad for all the terrible things I'm doing to librarians.

At August 05, 2008 6:21 PM, Blogger Katya said...

You should! If you make more work for us, you should have to do the cataloging yourself! (Or at least bake us brownies by way of apology.)

At August 06, 2008 1:42 AM, Blogger Th. said...


I don't know that brownies ship well from California to Maine.

At August 07, 2008 1:42 AM, Blogger Th. said...


Sorry I haven't responded. I've been trying to decide if that's reasonable.

At August 07, 2008 1:42 AM, Blogger Th. said...


Oh wait.... I had replied....


At August 08, 2008 7:59 AM, Blogger Katya said...

Maybe you can hire someone to make them locally.


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