Monday, November 8, 2010

Work Notes

I have been doing a lot of copy cataloging lately, and I would like to make the following observation:

The t subfield in the 505 line is a pain in the butt.

505, as I need hardly explain, so widespread is our cultural understanding of MARC in this wonderful world, is for contents notes, like chapter titles and so forth. That's great, so I'm always happy to see a 505, but when a chapter title is prefaced with |t our OPAC picks up that chapter title when it runs a title search.

So if you want the book The Eight Labors of Hercules*, and you type it into our catalog search bar and specify that you want to search for titles, it will also bring back a bunch of books that may be about other things, but have chapters about the labors of Hercules.

Our current theory at the library where I work is that users shouldn't get anything but book and journal titles when they do title searches. We figure few enough people use that feature, since most of them use keyword searches, which will pick up chapter titles where relevant, so if they go to the trouble of actually saying they want to search for a title, we ought to try to make sure that's all they get back.

So I have to go through and delete every single subfield t when it shows up, and that slows me down.

Fortunately, it doesn't show up that often. And I'm sure it serves a valuable purpose in someone else's catalog. That's why I'm only expressing mild complaint, rather than calling for a worldwide ban on the use of t.

This concludes today's cranky cataloging observation.

*This is an abridged version of the Hercules legend, featuring just the more exciting of his 12 achievements, because you are a busy person.

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