So there’s an LCSH heading “C# (Computer program language)”
In some of my MARC records, it is encoded just like that, with an ascii number sign, byte 23.
In other of my MARC records, it is instead encoded as “U+266F (music sharp sign)” ♯
Whether the difference between ♯ and # is visible in this blog post may depend on your font.
But it makes a difference to computers, and makes these two sets of records using the two variants collocate seperately in my interface, as it would in most (unless they apply some normalization).
Now… I wonder how the music sharp sign ♯ even gets into those MARC records, since it’s harder to enter. But could it in fact be the “correct” one? How would one figure out which of these variants is the appropriate LCSH-authorized one? Looking at authority records? Anyone want to answer the question? (I have no idea which one is “official” for the C# language, but certainly people ordinarily type it with an ordinary ascii number sign, as it’s more difficult to produce the musical sharp symbol on most keyboards).
Looks like the majority of records in my catalog using the musical sharp symbol ♯ come from Safari vendor-supplied records ; I’m guessing the few that don’t had subject headings copy-and-pasted from Safari records. Should I try reporting this as a problem to Safari, you think? First I’d like to have some way of being sure that the musical sharp sign really is “wrong” — what do you think?
Incidentally, wikipedia rather confusingly says:
Due to technical limitations of display (standard fonts, browsers, etc.) and the fact that the sharp symbol (U+266F ♯music sharp sign (HTML:
♯)) is not present on the standard keyboard, the number sign (U+0023 # number sign(HTML:
#)) was chosen to represent the sharp symbol in the written name of the programming language. This convention is reflected in the ECMA-334 C# Language Specification. However, when it is practical to do so (for example, in advertising or in box art), Microsoft uses the intended musical symbol.
Looks like both methods are kind of “official” for the language — but the point of controlled vocabulary is to pick one, right? Those controlling vocabularies like LCSH have to remember to be clear about standardizing character choices like this in addition to word choices — we don’t live in an ascii world anymore. So a more general question is what mechanisms LCSH has to be clear about it’s character choices in cases like this. Authority file?