Change in LC Policy: Death Dates in Headings

To: Yale University Libraries/YUL NACO Contributors
From: Manon Théroux
Date: (03/08, 14/2006 creation date/ 04/05/2006 1:18 PM revision date)

Date: Tue, 14 Mar 2006 14:36:46 -0500
To: yulibl@mailman.yale.edu
From: Manon Theroux <manon.theroux@yale.edu>
Subject: [Yulibl] Change in LC policy: death dates in headings

Dear colleagues,

As a result of a recent change by the Library of Congress to its policy on the use of death dates in headings, you may be seeing some changes in Orbis.

For many years now, the policy has been for catalogers to add birth and death dates (if known) when establishing a heading in the authority file for the first time, but not to add a date to an existing heading unless there was a conflict with another heading. The policy was a pragmatic one intended to minimize the amount of time needed for catalog maintenance. Unfortunately, as those of you in public services know, the policy has also frequently been confusing to our patrons. They wonder why Orbis has so many headings with open-ended dates for people who are no longer alive: "Don't you know that so-and-so died 10 years ago?"

The new Library of Congress policy is more relaxed. It allows catalogers the option of adding death dates to existing headings that have open-ended dates. For example, the heading "Warhol, Andy, 1928- " was recently changed to "Warhol, Andy, 1928-1987" in response to the new policy. Each library has significant leeway in determining the extent to which they will exercise this option. Here at Yale, the Cataloging Coordinating Council has approved the following local policy at the recommendation of the NACO Coordinating Committee. The policy is addressed to Yale staff who contribute to NACO (the program that allows us to contribute authority records to the LC Authority File):

==================================
Do not apply the LCRI 22.17 option to add death dates to existing personal name headings with open birth dates as a matter of course. Add the death date only under these circumstances:

-- the heading is needed in current cataloging, the death date is readily available, and you have chosen to exercise the option
-- the heading is being updated for another reason and the death date is readily available
-- the death date is needed to resolve a conflict with another heading
-- a patron has requested the addition of the death date to the heading
-- a staff member has requested the addition of the death date because the person represented by the heading has strong associations with Yale or the greater New Haven area (e.g. a well-known faculty member, community leader, or local author) or the person is the primary subject of a locally-sponsored event (e.g. a conference, exhibition, or lecture)
===================================

I am sending this policy to the general library list for several reasons.

First, I want staff to know that if a patron complains about an open-ended date in a heading, they no longer have to try to explain the practice and/or apologize for it. Just let me (or any NACO-trained cataloger) know about the heading complaint and we will fix both the authority record in the LC Authority File and the bibliographic records in Orbis. Note that the new LC policy only applies to open-ended dates; we cannot add dates to other headings unless there are two people with the same heading and the date is needed to resolve the conflict.

Second, I want staff to know that they themselves may request the addition of a death date to an open-ended heading if the person represented by the heading has strong associations with Yale/New Haven or if the person will be the focus of a local event. Please use judgment in this regard (e.g. don't make a request just because the person received an undergraduate degree from Yale). Changing headings is time-consuming work, staffing is limited, and the global change functionality in Orbis is clunky. It would be helpful if you could provide the cataloger with a source for the death date (e.g. the citation for an obituary or a biographical dictionary entry) if you do make a request.

Finally, since we cannot control the changes made to headings by other NACO libraries, please be aware that you will probably be seeing a greater number of heading inconsistencies in Orbis (some headings with the death date, some without). We will receive the changed authority records almost immediately from our authorities vendor but the changes to the bibliographic records must be done locally and will lag behind.

Let me know if you have any questions about the new policy,

Manon

____________________________________________

Manon Théroux
Authority Control Librarian
Catalog Department
Yale University Library
P.O. Box 208240
New Haven, CT 06520-8240

203-432-8376 (tel)
203-432-7231 (fax)
manon.theroux@yale.edu


Date: Tue, 14 Mar 2006 17:12:17 -0500
To: yulibl@mailman.yale.edu
From: Manon Theroux <manon.theroux@yale.edu>
Subject: Re: [Yulibl] Change in LC policy: death dates in headings

Just a follow-up message in response to a private query.

If you'd like to request the addition of a death date to a heading, you may use the Heading Change Request Form:
http://www.library.yale.edu/cataloging/change_request.htm

Requests sent via this form will go directly to me. You may also ask any NACO-trained cataloger to make the change.

Thanks,
-Manon


Date: Wed, 08 Mar 2006 10:25:02 -0500
To: yul-naco@mailman.yale.edu
From: Manon Theroux <manon.theroux@yale.edu>

Dear NACO catalogers:

The proposed local Yale policy for adding death dates to headings with open-ended birth dates has been approved by CCC with one additional bullet. I've copied the full policy below (the new bullet is the last one):

=======================================
Do not apply the LCRI 22.17 option to add death dates to existing personal name headings with open birth dates as a matter of course. Add the death date only under these circumstances:

-- the heading is needed in current cataloging, the death date is readily available, and you have chosen to exercise the option
-- the heading is being updated for another reason and the death date is readily available
-- the death date is needed to resolve a conflict with another heading
-- a patron has requested the addition of the death date to the heading
-- a staff member has requested the addition of the death date because the person represented by the heading has strong associations with Yale or the greater New Haven area (e.g. a well-known faculty member, community leader, or local author) or the person is the primary subject of a locally-sponsored event (e.g. a conference, exhibition, or lecture)

Reminder: adding the death date will require the updating of any name-title authority records associated with the name and the correction of headings in Orbis bibliographic records (the "Names" index will let you find all instances of the heading, whether used as a name or a subject heading).
=========================================

The policy has been incorporated into "YALE POLICIES for NACO NAME AUTHORITY RECORDS" under #2A: http://www.library.yale.edu/cataloging/authorities/names_policy.htm#2A

Let me know if you have any questions about the new policy.

-Manon

_______________________________________________

Manon Théroux
Authority Control Librarian
Catalog Department, SML, 2-8376



 

[TOC] | Cataloging at Yale | [Optional Link]


NOTE: Examples require LucidaSansRLG font to be viewed correctly on web browser.
Copyright © 2006 Yale University Library
Contact: steven.arakawa@yale.edu
Last updated: < 05-Apr-2006 1:18 PM -->
URL: http://