This week, Chuck and I are cataloging dissertations.
This is a new challenge for me on a number of levels, not the least of which is that a dissertation moves me from cataloging scores to cataloging books; and in some cases (like the first one we are working on), this is in fact a digital book. The fixed fields are different from records for scores, as are the corresponding 006 and 007 fields. Principles of name and title remain the same, but there are a number of familiar fields that suddenly require me to understand new aspects of them. With a lot of the earlier pieces we were cataloging, the main challenge was working with foreign languages with which I have little to no facility (Korean, Swedish, Hungarian…even Italian). With dissertations, I find myself wanting to double check the same fields I use every day when cataloging scores.
650 subject fields, for instance, require different subdivisions from ones with which I have previously worked. This, in turn, requires me to figure out which subjects and subdivisions actually are used to indicate that a dissertation might be about how to interpret Baroque music on a modern bassoon. When working exclusively with scores, it makes sense to use the 650 to describe that a score is a violin concerto or sacred vocal piece; now that I am handling a dissertation that not only includes manuscript copies of Baroque scores and modern interpretations, but discussions of each piece as well, it is a little more clear why the 655 genre fields have been added. If the dissertation is about bassoon music, but I can’t use the subject ‘Bassoon music’ (which indicates a score for solo bassoon), then is ‘Bassoon |v Study and instruction’ accurate enough? It is standard practice, but I hadn’t thought about this particular problem before working on these records.