So I know plenty of catalogers read my blog (or used to). Appreciate any feedback or advice you have on this.
Basically, I’m trying to figure out how to actually do a useful user-friendly display of ‘series’ information from MARC records.
So we have 440, 490, and 8xx. There’s a distinction between “transcribed” series, and controlled (aka “traced” or “access point”). I know that the controlled data is meant to be used for collocation. I am assuming that the “transcribed” data is better for user display though. Is this right? (I’ll refer to these two concepts as “displayable” and “controlled”).
So if we’ve got a 440, then that is both displayable and controlled.
But current practice going forward is not to use 440, but instead to use a 490 for displayable, and a 8xx for controlled.
So what should the interface do?
So thinking about an individual record display. I can’t just list all 440, 490, and 8xx fields under “Series”, because in the case of 490/8xx, that’ll lead to me displaying the same series twice. Once in transcribed form, and once in controlled form. This is confusing and doesn’t make sense.
So what I’m thinking is that for a 490/8xx pair, I actually display the 490 on the screen — it’s the value meant for user-display. But it’s clickable, and when you click on it, the search that will be executed is actually on the corresonding 8xx, because that’s the field meant for collocation.
This is assuming there is a corresponding 8xx. If there’s not, it’s somewhat simpler. We display the 490, and either it’s not click-searchable at all, or if it is, it searches an uncontrolled series index of all 490s, it doesn’t actually try to collocate on a controlled field, cause we don’t have one.
Does this make sense? Am I missing something?
But the problem
But there’s still a problem here. A record can theoretically belong to multiple series. Meaning it could have multiple 490s. Each of which may or may not have a controlled 8xx corresponding to it.
As far as I can tell, there’s no way to tell which 8xx goes with which 490. Especially since a 490 may or may not have a corresponding 8xx.
This might not effect very many records, that have multiple series, but it still annoys me to have a known ‘bug’, a known case where things won’t work right at all. I’m not really sure what the heck my code should do if there are multiple 490s. Am I missing something?
By the way
This is one good example of how it’s somehow difficult or even impossible to get meaningful information out of our AACR2/MARC, despite some people’s belief to the contrary that it’s always simple and straightforward.
So… what the heck should be done with this 440/490/8xx stew?