Re: Atlantic (monthly?) Elmer Alvin Klebs 04 Apr 2007 23:15 UTC
Lee, Thanks for asking an excellent question!! I figure you will likely be deluged with responses, and so have tried to be concise, but couldn't help lifting the hood and poking around a bit with some underlying issues that have been on my mind of late. Atlantic monthly/Atlantic is one of those titles which have gone back and forth numerous times over the decades, at least so far as the cover presentation goes. I think the short answer is that, after a while, folks in the cataloging world got tired of creating new records all the time for what was essentially the same publication. So, with the latest (1993+) record, we came up with a solution. We noticed that, regardless of the cover presentation, the masthead inside the magazine continued to consistently refer to itself as "Atlantic monthly." So we decided to base our description on the masthead effective with that record (this is noted both in the 500 source of title and in a 936 catalogers' note) and give "Atlantic" as a cover variant. That way, only if/when the masthead title changes we would we need a new record. We realize that this might cause confusion to those who want the main entry to match the cover (the cover being what folks tend to pay the most attention to). But we also don't want the confusion of having holdings for a single title spanning over half a dozen records, and check-in staff constantly receiving current issues on the wrong record, which then further confuse patrons looking for specific issues. This highlights one of the dilemmas of serial cataloging. What do we do when publishers do weird things that confuse the very people who are trying to find their publications? Those of us with years of experience can regale the captive audience with no end of tales of bizarre title changes, cryptic variants in numbering schemes, and other baffling oddities. There are even awards within the cataloging community for some of these things now. Our job as catalogers is to do our best to put an end to confusion -- to create structured bibliographic metadada (i.e., a catalog entry) that succeeds in its mission. That mission: to ensure that users of the collection (including library staff) clearly understand what the library has in its collections, no matter which of an increasing number of approaches the user takes to discover the answer to that question (author, title, publisher, series, subject content, issuing body, keyword, etc.). So, when a publisher located on the Atlantic coast (namely, Boston) continues to waffle about the name of a certain Monthly they have been issuing for over a hundred years now, we eventually get to the point where we figure continuing to add new records on top of the half dozen or so already there will be more confusing than nailing down a consistent title (even if from a less prominent source) and sticking with it as long as we are able. Such are the challenges of the cataloging profession. Elmer Klebs Senior Serials Cataloger Library of Congress [Standard Disclaimer : I represent myself, and not my institution, in the above missive.] >>> Lee Carlton <kopycatalyst@YAHOO.COM> 04/04/07 5:26 PM >>> This may be a very basic and stupid question to the serial catalogers, but why is The Atlantic still cataloged as The Atlantic monthly (*Atlantic monthly (Boston, Mass. : 1993)*)? It has caused confusion and problems for serials students where I work. From what little I know of AACR2 and CONSER practices with major/minor changes, this should be a title change dating back to 2003/2004. Any enlightenment would be appreciated. Lee --------------------------------- We won't tell. Get more on shows you hate to love (and love to hate): Yahoo! TV's Guilty Pleasures list.