Birren Collection (Haas Arts Library) Catalog Processing

Birren Collection Special Processing notes (Nov. 2013)

  1. Scope. This collection is dedicated to color. It is not restricted to art, but includes any topic where color is involved, including paint, optics, philosophy, dyes and dyeing, design, marketing, psychology, etc. In some cases, the relationship to color may simply be specimens of color printing.  Include at least one subject that relates to color if at all possible, even if you wouldn’t have normally included it if you weren’t cataloging for the collection. The range of LCSH color terms is unfortunately rather limited. Sometimes Getty and other thesauri can be helpful additions.
  2. Treatment of physical items. Items may be fragile and valuable. Handle with care and don’t leave them exposed to damage. Make sure your hands are clean when handling and keep items well away from liquids or other things that spill.  If a barcode label is on a strip or envelope, do not transfer it to the front cover or anywhere else on the book. Also recommend washing of hands after cataloging, since many of the samples are lead-based paint.
  3. In process records. Art acquisitions often tinkers with downloaded copy.  When working with cataloging copy, never assume that the subjects are LCSH, or that the headings are the established forms or represent the entity associated with the resource. Art acquisitions staff will often add vendor notes that may be inappropriate for the catalog record, but which may include information worth saving but phrased more objectively or edited in other ways.  Local notes in 590 and subject tracings in 690, however, should always be retained but may be edited for clarity.  In process records for items that do not have copy can easily be mistaken for real cataloging copy since the staff will add 300 without careful application of the rules, or subjects that may or may not be LCSH, or make an added entry that duplicates the main entry, or assign a subject heading for an artist for an artists book.  Successor should feel free to renegotiate the acquisitions “value added.”
  4. Shipping. Birren items bypass SML Preparations. When enough have accumulated, send them back via the SML Shipping Room in one of the gray totes.  Use enough filler to make sure the fragile items don’t move around.  Use plastic ties provided by Art to lock the top flaps closed. (A knife or other cutting tool is very helpful to unlock the ties when a new tote is received from Art) Reverse the address label created by Art to seal off the top; the reverse side has the return address.  Deliver the tote to Shipping when they are open (currently they don’t open until 1:30). Be sure Shipping knows who to contact when a new tote is received from Art.
  5. RDA or DCRM? When cataloging rare materials,  I have been sticking to straight RDA/LC PCC PS for cataloging description and access; dcrm rules have not been used, but cataloging copy from OCLC using dcrm is not modified.  Member copy cataloging under AACR2 or pre-AACR2 is accepted as is if it is adequate. If recataloging is necessary for inadequate copy, recatalog to RDA. Under current OCLC guidelines, catalogers have the option to update any non-RDA record to RDA.
  6. Publication date. Resources to be cataloged include large numbers of ephemera, such as catalogs or circulars of products related to color. A problem with many of these is lack of publication date. Sometimes the history of the company offers a clue for date range.  Dates are sometimes hidden or implied in the company’s control number for the catalog. A date range can sometimes be determined from information about the company recorded in the NARs.  Google books also is helpful, and if the company still exists, it may have its history on its website (also helpful for the order and dating of name changes & other significant dates). Don’t rule out Wikipedia, which sometimes has articles on quite obscure small businesses.
  7. Vendor descriptions. Hold on to the vendor descriptions, which will save a lot of time in coming up with descriptive details. If the vendor notes are used, be sure to take out the advertising elements.  If the vendor provides pages numbers of unnumbered pages, take advantage. However, I have only used vendor supplied dates as a last resort. I haven’t discarded the vendor descriptions even after cataloging has been completed.
  8. Carrier. Be familiar with the RDA rules for sheets, since a lot of the advertising ephemera will be in that form. Don’t forget to use “sheet” in $a of 338 rather than "volume." RDA specifies that if "folded" sheet is in extent (300 $a), it means that the item is to be read in its folded form, so you need to include the page count as a subunit qualifier, e.g. 300 $a 1 folded sheet (30 unnumbered pages) ; $c 16 cm_. Dimensions should be height only. If, on the other hand, the folded sheet is intended to be read unfolded, extent should be x sheet(s) without "folded" and without a parenthetical subunit count. Instead, dimensions should be height x width folded to height x width: 300 $a 1 sheet ; $c 32 x 20 cm folded to 16 x 10 cm_.   For unfolded sheets, you should keep a tape measure handy. AACR2 usually has a comma preceding "folded" in $c; the RDA example does not.
  9. Corporate name NARs & RDA. Cataloging Birren materials will involve fairly extensive use and assignment of corporate body AAPs, since many of the items are catalogs of companies. Many of these bodies will need to be established as RDA or updated to RDA. Fortunately, most of the AACR2 NARs are RDA compliant, so it is just a matter of changing the coding to z and inserting $e rda in 040.  The same corporate body will often be needed for multiple items, so take the time to update the NAR to RDA or establish the new name if possible.  Notify Eva Bolkovac in Catalog Management if Orbis has a lot of headings that need to be changed to RDA form.  Some personal names for older material are functionally undifferentiated in the OCLC database (same name used for different people on bib records, but no NAR). Use the greater flexibility of RDA qualifiers to establish the AAP for your person. If the name has been established as undifferentiated, a NAR must be created with additions to the name for differentiation, and the citation for the person must be removed from the undifferentiated name authority record.
  10. Classification is always LCC except for artists’ books, which use the local NJ18 numbers.  (Do not use NJ18 in 050 _4). Keep in mind that the Art oversize differs from the SML oversize.  A number of frequently used LCC numbers related to color, especially in ND, are obsolete, so be careful about basing your 050 _4 on older items in Orbis.  We follow LC Shelflisting Guidelines. For corporate main entry, the main entry cutter is supposed to stay the same for all records entered under the corporate body; do not tweak the Cutter to accommodate different works entered under the same body. There has been some inconsistency in the application of this rule; if more than one Cutter was used, choose the predominant one.  Also, the Cutter used for the company is also used for subordinate units of the body when the subordinate unit is the main entry.  Use a truncated call number search to determine the Cutter used for the corporate body locally.  For multiple works published in the same year, add a work letter to the date to break the conflict; lower case in 050 _4, upper case in 852. Example: Sherwin Williams Company catalogs under TP937.S55.  If a new corporate Cutter needs to be created, the number should be in the correct shelflist order. (This is exceptional for local policy only because the collection commonly will own multiple works entered under the same corporate body)
  11. Outsourcing to non-Latin script cataloging. There are a lot of East Asian (primarily Japanese) color-related publications.  These should be cataloged by EAC; ask their cataloger to return it to you so you can include it in the batch of cataloged items you return to Art.
  12. A number of situations have not yet been worked out for RDA.
    • The collection will often add offprints of articles and we don’t yet have a how-to checklist for doing these following RDA, although there is one for AACR2 on the OCLC site. An RDA example created locally: Zur Charakteristik der schönen und hässlichen Farben.
    • A fair number of three-dimensional artifacts have been acquired for the collection. This will require careful navigation through the new rules.  Recent examples: Historia de los colores by Capretti [an embroidery picture], Michel Eugène Chevreul, membre l'academie des sciences [a medal].
    • Paint chip samples.
      1. 336: if the resource is basically a color card or sheet with paint samples, are the paint samples "still image" or "other?" Often when the resource is considered to be a sheet, text has been used in 336, sometimes without a second 336 for the samples-- the paint chips are considered to be secondary, illustrations; probably not a best practice.
      2. Extent: when to use "card" and when to use "sheet." Roughly: sheet=paper; card=cardboard (the practice up till now; sometimes "chart" used instead of "card," especially if physical evidence indicates it's to be hung on a wall)
      3. Visual or Book. Sheet is an extent term with the book format; card, chart with the visual format. Does RDA provide more leeway? Use sheet but in visual format?
      4. Subdivision --Charts, diagrams, etc. In earlier days the form subdivision was used a lot more. Only seems appropriate when 300/338 use chart. With RDA, I have tended toward greater use of sheet in 300 and 338, so the --Charts subdivision has tapered off. Use it more often with sheets? But should these color cards really be considered as charts? Neither RDA nor AACR2 provide much guidance; the emphasis seems to be on school media.
Last modified: 
Sunday, October 4, 2015 - 9:26pm