Where to Shelve Non-Fiction Graphic Novels?

What is the one of the first things that you are taught in your elementary school library? The difference between fiction and non-fiction, that one is a story you make up in your mind, whereas the other is based on fact or real life events. It is an easy way for students to differentiate between the books they can read for fun and the books they need to write papers and learn facts. While most libraries have collections of fiction in genre/subject sections with genre call numbers, and non-fiction is in Dewey Decimal (DDC) and Library of Congress Classification (LCC), there is still room for fiction within non-fiction classification schemes. Such as the 800s for literature of all languages, and 741.5 for comic books, strips, etc. in DDC.

Non-fiction comics have had a resurgence in popularity recently, though they have a long history in the publishing. Generally, non-fiction comics can be broken down into three styles: biographies, historical/reporting, and instructional/educational.

andreMemoirs and auto/biographies, including Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home, Box Brown’s Is this guy for real?: The unbelievable Andy Kaufman and Andre the Giant: Life and Legend are prime examples of graphic biographies. This category varies as much as it does in the regular, monographic non-fiction collections. From stream of consciousness writing to an in-depth look at an individual’s life from birth to death, this is the most popular type on non-fiction graphic novel.

The second are journalistic and historical accounts. Graphic novelist Joe Sacco is extremely well known for his journalistic graphic novels including Footnotes in Gaza and Palestine, and if you haven’t checked out The Great War: July 1, 1916: The First Day of the Battle of the Somme, an accordion folded scene of the famous World War I battle, I highly recommend looking at this amazing piece of artwork. Eric Shanower, known for his work on Nemo in Slumberland, writes and illustrates the beautiful Age age of bronzeof Bronze series about the Trojan War, and Jonathan Hennessey, Mike Smith, and Aaron McConnell’s The Comic Book Story of Beer: The World’s Favorite Beverage from 7000 BC to Today’s Craft Brewing Revolution show how meticulously researched a graphic novel can be. However, these graphic stories are often seen as not truly non-fiction because they are interpreted through images which are not little book of knowledgeprimary sources.

Another type of non-fiction graphic novels are explanatory and instructional comics. Instructional comics had, historically, been made by the government for educational purposes. The University of Nebraska’s digital collections has a large number of digitized government comics which were often instructional in nature, such as How DDT spray keeps malaria away published in 1940. The Little Book of Knowledge series translated from the French and published by IDW covers topics like sharks, tattoos, and heavy metal music.

In LC libraries, you can shelve books with a graphic novel extender in the classification, so it is reasonable to have your non-fiction graphic novel collection interspersed with the rest of your non-fiction collection. With DDC, all comic books and strips are in the 741.5s, so many libraries create a genre collection for these items with a call number like GN, GRAPHIC, etc.

But what do we do with all these non-fiction graphic novels in DDC? Do we put them all economixin 741.5? Comic strips are typically shelved in 741.56 and contain titles like GarfieldPeanuts, and the Batman dailies starting in 1943, but what do we do with a graphic novel like Economix: How and Why our Economy Works, by Michael Goodwin and David Bach? Do you put it in 741.5 GO? GN GOOD? GN 330 GO? 330 GO?

These are difficult questions for any collection development, circulation, and cataloging librarian to tackle. What is the best way to ensure all readers, whether graphic novel fans or not, find the best books on the subjects they are interested in. Some may decided that it is a good idea to shelve all graphic novels in the same collection. But how to patrons differentiate between fiction and non-fiction? If you create a separate non-fiction graphic novel collection and classify by Dewey, how are you creating access for patrons who may not otherwise have any notion of learning from a graphic novel? Finally, if you interfile them with your regular non-fiction collection, does that vouch for the authenticity of the facts within the book?

When making decisions about where and how to shelve specific types of books, it is important to think about your patrons, access, and perception. Many large library systems, like the New York Public Library, the San Francisco Public Library, and the Seattle Public Library shelve non-fiction graphic novels with their non fiction collection, illustrating a thoughtfulness in shelving decisions. Overall, I am in favor of shelving non-fiction graphic novels in the general non-fiction collection. It allows to compare the circulation of monographs vs. graphic novels in an educational mindset, reduces the number of locations needed for shelving (graphic novels AND non-fiction graphic novels), and separates two distinct genres and styles of graphic novels.



So You Want to Publish a Graphic Novel

I do a fair amount of original cataloging for comics and graphic novels. More and more small and independent publishers are popping up all over the book market, breaking down the publishing gatekeepers and allowing for different and diverse stories and storytellers to reach a large market. As a professional cataloger, however, there are many difficulties which can arise from cataloging small press and self-published books. Many of these difficulties originate from the publisher themselves creating inconsistencies or leaving out vital information catalogers use to create cataloging records. And here’s a tip for all you publishers out there, some libraries don’t add items unless there is a good cataloging record available. It’s always good publicity to have a library catalog your book, so be have some sympathy for your catalogers and follow some of these general tips to make your books more catalog-able.

There are two pieces of information every cataloger and searcher relies on to find a specific item. The first is contributors’ names. Note how I say contributors and not authors because colorists, pencillers, letterers, and editors, can be as desirable a search term as the author. Because names are so frequently used and searched, librarians use controlled vocabulary to ensure that all contributors have uniquely identifiable names. This can mean the contributor’s middle initial or name, birth year or date, or area of captain americaactivity can be used to make a unique name. So, you could have Smith, John and Smith, John (Letterer) as two distinct names. Sometimes, comic book contributors do not have an authority file yet, and a cataloger has to pick the best, unique name to use. As a publisher, ensuring the name is spelled consistently on the item, your website, and any solicitations, is important to determine the author’s desired name spelling.

Nearly as important as how you spell contributors’ names is providing attribution to those contributors. I know that Mark Waid and Chris Samnee started crediting themselves as “storytellers” in many of their collaborations, but this is incredibly unhelpful to librarians because we still live in an author centric world, so the author will always be the main contributor listed. So, even if you are going to be crediting an author and artist as “storytellers”, state in the blurb who is responsible for what. As more authors provide art and more artists become authors, attribution is very important for searching and building relationships among contributor’s works. It helps searchers know the difference between Jordie Bellaire the colorist and Jordie Bellaire the author.

2017.22 Bandette

The second, really important piece of information is the title. I know this seems like a pretty simple piece of information, but you’d be surprised at how many different ways you can formulate a title. Librarians will record the title from the title page but will also note the title from the spine, front cover, title page, and title page verso. If you have a volumed series, make sure you distinguish between a subtitle and the volume title. Let’s look at the Bandette to see the dilemma cataloger’s face. The title page says, “Bandette in Presto!,” the cover and title page verso says “Bandette Volume One: Presto!,” and the spine says “Bandette Presto! 1’.  What’s a cataloger to do? In all honesty, local practices usually dictate which title you’re going to use, but here we have one book with three different title formulations and 99% of the time it will be xmen blueformulated as SERIES TITLE : SUB TITLE. VOLUME, PART TITLE. Think X-Men: Blue. Volume 1, Strangest.

Many, many hours are spent designing graphic novels and trade paperbacks to create appealing books readers want to pick up. However, the way your book looks when it is fresh off the presses is not the way it’s going to look when it hits the library shelves. A lot of key information for catalogers can be obstructed by how the item has been processed. ISBNs are the most important identifying number on your item. It is the first way most catalogers search for an item, but because libraries buy from vendors who can pre-processes items, sometimes the UPC/ISBN barcode is covered with a sticker so it isn’t confused for the library barcode. If you do not put your ISBN on the title page verso, librarians have a really difficult time finding and adding the item to their collection.  Barcodes will go on the back or front cover and call numbers 100% of them time go at the bottom of the spine, often with a genre sticker as well, take up the bottom two inches of your spine. Also, libraries use a lot of technology to ensure their items are not stolen. Tattle tape is inserted into the spine of the book, so if you don’t have a good gutter, some of your text and images will be lost. RFID tags are also used for security and foil covers will interfere with the radio frequency, rendering the security functionality useless.

I understand that a lot of artistry and creative energy goes into making a graphic novel and you should create whatever type of book you want. The suggestions in the post should be used as a frame for thinking about marketing your books to the library crowd. Libraries have collection development policies to ensure that diverse, representative collections are created in libraries. Simply making your book more accessible to catalogers can make a bigger supporter of small and self-published books.

What’s in a Comic Book Title? Using the Title Statement and Varying Title Fields

What are the two most important elements in any library record? Title and statement of responsibility, commonly the author and illustrator, and for comics in particular, can include the colorist, letterer, inker, and editor. Most of your patrons will come in with either a creator or a title in mind. However, graphic novels, and particularly trade paperbacks of serialized single comic issues, are notorious for having title statements formulated multiple ways on the same item. Maybe the series volume is on the spine, but the story arc is written on the title page, but only the series title is on the cover. So, what are the best ways to convey all the different titles in on MARC record?

When you are constructing your 245 and 246 MARC fields, always ask yourself, “How is my patron going to look for this book?” and “How is my ILS and/or discovery layer going to look for this book?” The former has to deal with the rest of the record, subjects, keyword notes, etc. The latter is concerned with hyphenation, spelling suggestions, and capitalization. It is important to know if your ILS will translate Spider-Man into Spiderman and Spider man and determine whether or not you should spell out the name three different ways in the 245 and 246 fields. As a cataloger, it is important to balance how patrons and computers will use and interpret your cataloging records.

If you are cataloging your graphic novels as series, you don’t have much flexibility in transcribing the title because you are using the collective title in the 245 and adding information about the individual volumes in the 505 contents note. However, if you are cataloging your trade paperbacks as monographs, you have more flexibility in transcribing several versions of the title.

Let’s use Astonishing X-Men by Joss Whedon and John Cassaday as an example.

Astonishing X-Men

If you are cataloging your comic book trades as a series, your 245 and 505 would look like this:

245 10 |a Astonishing X-Men / |c writer, Joss Whedon ; artist, John Cassaday ; colorist, Laura Martin ; letterer, Chris Eliopoulos [and others].

505 00 |g Volume 1. |t Gifted — |g Volume 2.|t Dangerous — |g Volume 3. |t Torn —  |g Volume 4.|t Unstoppable.

While this will get across the title of the series and that each trade is named for a different story arc. This is the reason many libraries treat their trade paperbacks as monographs, conveying the chronology and title of the series, through the title statement. You can use subfields n, number of part/section of work, and p, name of part/section of work, to create a complete title statement. Let’s look at Astonishing X-Men Gifted by Joss Whedon again, this time, treating it as a monograph.

[As it appears on the title page and cover]

 245 10 |a Astonishing X-Men. |p Gifted / |c writer, Joss Whedon ; artist, John Cassaday ; colorist, Laura Martin ; letterer, Chris Eliopoulos [and others].

[As it appears on the spine]

246 18 |a Astonishing X-Men. |n Volume 1, |p Gifted

Note from the cover image that volume one does not appear on the cover or the title page, only the spine. So if a patron wanted volume one of Astonishing X-Men and you didn’t include a varying spine title 246, you’d have to use another resource to find the title you are looking for is Gifted. The 246 field has a lot of options for recording various forms of title, giving catalogers a number of tools to aid in search retrieval.  Parallel titles for foreign language graphic novels, cover titles, and spine titles can all be added entries for your MARC records. Again, as a cataloger, ask yourself, how is a patron going to look for this? How have they heard this title talked about? How will they ask a reference librarian to look for it when they can’t find it themselves? My rule of thumb, when in doubt, add a 246, your patrons will thank you for it.


Web and Digital Comics Monograph Cataloging

I was recently working on cataloging some locally produced content and the creator’s website deemed their style “un-categorizeable”. As a cataloger, I am always amused when a creator thinks their content is so unique that it cannot be compared to another form of work currently in existence. Sometimes, it feels like it is my job is to pigeon-hole content into categories which don’t quite feel right or are not comprehensive, like LCGFT. Genres and forms are one of the most frequent markers for people to narrow down what they are looking for in terms of searching.

While there are many genres for comic books, it can be difficult to know when to practically apply them. For example, this week I read Black Hand Comics by Wes Craig, known for his art on Deadly Class. Black Hand Comics was originally published as a webcomic, a short, three or more panel comic published natively on a website. Other webcomics include Mike Norton’s Battle Pug, Katie Cook’s Gronk, and the works of Emily Carroll. Webcomics shouldn’t be confused with digital comics, which are presented as full length comic book issues with a traditional grid structure. Digital comics include Panel Syndicate’s Private Eye and Monkey Brain’s Bandette.

Blackhand Comics HC

But, what happens when a webcomic is collected and printed as a physical monograph? Are there certain genres or subject headings you can assign to convey the original format? Can you use WEMI (work, expression, manifestation, item) principles to express the relationship between the original webcomic and the printed edition?

Currently, there are no LCGFT headings for webcomics or digital comics. In LC J 110, it explains that using the genres “webcomics” or “digital comics” would only be applicable when cataloging the digital resource itself, “assign genre/form terms only as they come readily to mind after a superficial review of the resource being cataloged”. However, another guideline states, “assign terms based on analysis of the resource being cataloged. Genre/form terms do not need to be justified by descriptive cataloging elements” and, “consider the intent of the author or publisher, and if possible, assign terms for this orientation without being judgmental.”  The original intent of the creation of this comic was as a natively digital comic.

If you have a dedicated comic book readership and want to convey the webcomic or digital origins of an item, I have a few suggestions.

Doing a bit of research, you could add a 500 note of “Selections from the webcomic Battle Pug, http://www.battlepug.com”. This could leverage the keyword search function of the ILS to pick up the term webcomic..

You could add an 856 Electronic Location and Access field with the webpage to the web or digital comic. In the definition of the 856 field, it states, “use field 856 in bibliographic record for a resource when that resource of a subset of it is available electronically… and access a related electronic resource or an electronic version of a non-electronic resource described in the bibliographic record”.

Using WEMI principles, you could also include a 700 added entry for the creator and the title. This would also link various forms of a webcomic and the printed versions.

700 12 |i Container of (expression): |a Carroll, Emily. |t Comics. |k Selections.

700 12 |i Container of (expression): |a Norton, Mike. |t Battlepug. |k Selections.

Finally, you could include local genre/form headings in you bibliographic records. Be sure these are indexed for faceted searching within your OPAC.

655 #7 |a Digital comics. |2 local

655 #7 |a Webcomics. |2 local

Do you have a special way to connect your patron’s with web or digital comics? I’d love to hear from you. Leave your comment below or reach out on Twitter @librnwithissues

The Merits of Dewey-ing your GNs

Cataloging comics is difficult. I know, I’ve made that comment a few times before, but it’s true. They don’t fit into the many standards that catalogers like; it’s not a novel, not a pictorial work, not really an illustrated text…it’s somewhere in between all of that. And, while I’ve explored some ways to make cataloging comics a little easier, classifying comics can still feel like the first time your Adamantium claws emerged from your knuckle. Many librarians feel stifled by the norms of cataloging all graphic novels as a genre term or in the dreaded 741.5 or what I like to refer to as the pit of comic despair.

Melvil Dewey
Public Domain

While I might dislike 741.5 a lot, it’s helpful if you understand a little of the history of Dewey Classification for some context. I found a discussion paper by OCLC from 2014 which quickly summarizes how 745.1 came to be and why it is perceived to be so restrictive.

The DDC 741.5 is for cartoons, caricatures, comics and graphic novels all together in one call number. It’s squished in between drawing techniques and graphic design and illustrations. The hierarchy is as follows:

700 Arts and Recreation

740 Drawing, decoration, design

741 Drawing

741.5 Cartoons, caricatures, comics and graphic novels

The reason that single-frame caricatures to three-frame newspaper comic strips and graphic novels are all together is because there is no good place to break the call number continuum. You can subdivide by the country of the artist or writer which was chosen over the original language because there are many graphic novels which do not have any words. This brings concerns about the collaborative nature of comics as many authors and artist come from different countries.

The notes in 741.5 follow the same rules for literature, the 800s, when it comes to looking at content and deciding whether to classify it in the subject area or literature. If a work uses the correct names, had no invented characters, and does not distort facts for artistic effect , it can be classified in the subject area. When a work includes conversations, feelings, and thoughts or speaks to the state of mind of the characters, it is classified under 741.5. In the discussion paper, it is mentioned that it is important to take into account images and text when deciding to put a graphic novel in the subject heading or 741.5. This is why Art Spiderman’s Spiegelman’s Maus would be classified in 745.1 because, while the account is a factual memoir, the people were not cats and mice.

Trinity graphic novel coverSo, libraries are given the opportunity to classify some graphic novels, like Trinity: A Graphic History of the First Atomic Bombs by Jonathan Fetter-Vorm (623.45119) in the appropriate subject area, yet many do not, opting to keep all graphic novels together in a genre classification scheme (like GN FETT for example). There are some reasons why a library may opt to keep fiction and non-fiction graphic novels in the same classification scheme. The line between some historically inspired graphic novels and straight non-fiction graphic novels can be difficult to separate. Some may be inclined to put The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage: The (Mostly) True Story of the First Computer by Syndey Padua in non-fiction, but because of the narrative nature of the storytelling, it would more likely be in fiction. Another reason libraries do no separate out non-fiction graphic novels is shelving needs. Do you interfile non-fiction graphic novels in the general non-fiction collection or do you create a non-fiction graphic novel collection? As libraries continue to take on new roles, like being makerspaces, community event centers, and providers of social services, shelf space for physical collection can be a premium commodity making it difficult to segment space for a new collection.

Persepolis CoverPersonally, I am an advocate for Dewey-ing non-fiction graphic novel collections. There are so many well researched, high quality non-fiction graphic novels being created right now that you can create a sizeable non-fiction graphic novel collection. Memoirs have especially taken off after the success of Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis and have become routine additions to graphic novel collections. Another recent trend is to convert original non-fiction books into graphic novels like A People’s History of American Empire by Howard Zinn based on his book A People’s History of the United States and The Torture Report and The 9/11 Report, graphic novelizations of government reports by Sid Jacobsen, Jane Mayer, and Ernie Colon. If you give these graphic novels the same Dewey Number as the original editions, it will be easy to create collocation for these items. Even if you create a separate non-fiction graphic novel collection, assigning the same Dewey Numbers will create an ease for patrons and staff.

Dewey-ing out graphic novels also gives prestige and legitimacy to graphic novels. I know it seems like comic books have become ubiquitous in modern society, but there are many who still scoff at their merits as literature and art. There is something interesting about the Dewey Decimal System as a gate keeper that gives credence to an item, that it has gone through a vetting process to ensure it’s an accepted part of human knowledge. One of my favorite phrases as a cataloger is that you’ve got to make graphic novels an option. If someone who is an avid non-fiction reader searches a library’s catalog for a specific topic and, because you’ve Dewed your graphic novel collection, picks a graphic novel, isn’t that a good thing? A good way to provide access to something they may not otherwise consider. These graphic novels are well researched and thought out and can be of great for people interested in a specific topic.

Finally, Dewey-ing your collection can be a powerful collection development too. While every ILS provides different reports, think of what you could learn comparing the circulation and browsing of non-fiction graphic novels versus their standard book edition. You can see what types of non-fiction graphic novels your patrons are interested in. Many non-fiction graphic novels are published by smaller presses as well, so it can give you an indication of if your patrons want books from larger publishers or smaller presses.

It is important to consistently evaluate cataloging practices to see if they are best serving your patrons and library functions. Get feedback from front line staff and patrons themselves about ways to improve access to your collections. I know from experience that re-classifying entire collections are time consuming, but talk to your ILS provider and system administrator to see if there are any shortcuts which could make the process easier.

Do you Dewey your graphic novels? Why or why not? Let me know on Twitter @librnwithissues

Cataloging (Or Not So Much) Manga

Manga Kanji
Manga Kanji

Have you ever asked a manga reader what other types of graphic novels they like to read? Sometimes, the answer you will get is, “Well, I don’t read graphic novels, I read manga.”

Which is a completely valid point.

There is little doubt that modern manga was heavily influenced by the influx of western comics making their way to Japan during World War II; however, there is centuries long traditions of illustrated texts in Japanese culture. Manga is an amazing meld of differing artistic and literary art styles geared towards readers of all ages.

Some key aspects when looking at manga are also how it is distinguished from western comics. Manga reads from right to left, even when the text has been translated, vexing many librarians as to whether or not you should put the barcode on the front cover (traditionally back cover) or the back cover (traditionally the front cover). It is also incredibly rare to have full color manga, many books only have a few pages or a short story presented in full color, otherwise, they are strictly black and white. Length can vary greatly depending on the type of story, but are generally around 200 pages and the books are 5 x 7.5 inches. Manga is also aimed at specific audiences and you can find more information about different types of manga from this Kotaku article.

Really, comics, graphic novels, and manga are incredibly similar, but when it boils down to serving patron’s needs, it can be incredibly important to be able to quickly identify manga vs comics. With current cataloging practices, there is no way to look at a cataloging record and definitely say, “Yes that is manga”. But there are some fields in the MARC record which are good indicators that what you are looking at is manga.

Fixed Field Cont

The Cont field is used to identify significant parts of a material. This is the field that indicates if an item is a dictionary or encyclopedia, contains filmographies or discographies, and if something is a comic or graphic novel you up “6” in the Cont field. This replaced the code “c” in LitF and covers, “Instances of “sequential art” in which a story (whether fact or fiction) is told primarily through a set of images (often in the form of multiple “panels” per page) presented concurrently but meant to be “read” sequentially by the viewer. The accompanying narrative and/or dialog text, when it occurs, works integrally with the images to tell the story” (from OCLC’s Website).

While many OPACs do not exploit the fixed fields, it is important to ensure that your MARC record is as complete as possible for future projects and system upgrades.

Translations Indicators

I generally use a trio of fields to communicate an instance of Japanese manga. They include a 041 Language Code to indicate the item has been translated.

041 1# eng $h jpn

Alice in Murderland volume 1 coverA 240 Uniform Title field with the original title as found normally on the copyright page.

240 10 $a Kakei no Alice. $l English

245 10 $a Alice in Murderland. $n 5 /$c Kaori Yuki ; translation: William Flanagan ; lettering: Lys Blakeslee.

A 650 Topical Subject Heading can also be used to indicate a work of translated manga using the following subject string:

650 #0 Graphic novels $z Japan $v Translations into English.

Genre/Form Fields

I have had several discussion with fellow librarians lately about the genres and as they become more nuanced, how useful, or not, they become. For manga you really have three genre/forms you can use from the Library of Congress Genre/Form Thesaurus:

655 #7 Graphic novels. $2 lcgft

655 #7 Comics (Graphic works) $2 lcgft

655 #7 [Whichever specific genre heading fits your needs from the LOC genre form thesaurus found here]. $2 lcgft

These are just recommendations for identifying a manga from a cataloging record. However, there are some situations where these guidelines will not be useful.  Since 2007, the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs has awarded the International Manga Award to non-Japanese manga artists and the market for international manga is on the rise. That makes the translations fields a bit less clear when determining if an item is manga or not. For example, Australian manga creator Madeleine Rosca’s Hollow Fields is not translated and not from Japan, so the above suggestions would not apply.

There are a few things you can do locally to make your records more patron friendly. While it would be nice, and make sense, if the LCGFT, which is intended to describe what the work is versus what the work is about, would have a specific heading for manga, it doesn’t. Until manga does get their own entry in the LCGFT, many libraries are creating their own local genre headings. You can also create a separate item categories and call numbers for manga to further distinguish them in your collection.

Cite Your Creators with Relator Terms!

This week, I saw a commentary on Comic Beat’s website featuring a tweet from colorist Matt Wilson of The Wicked + the Divine. Here’s the tweet and a link to the article:

It takes a whole group of people, authors, artists (pencilers, inkers, colorists, etc.), letterers, and editors working together to create a comic book.  And, I’ll admit, it’s easy to cite the author and primary artists when talking about comics, I’ve done it on the blog (and will change my ways after this). Colorists and letterers have been honored by the Eisner Awards since the early 1990s and play a very important role in comics. Gone are the days of four colors layered on top of each other and in are the days of digital coloring which has created a new and varied aesthetic in comics.

Libraries have also been bad about not giving credit to all those involved in a specific work in regards to cataloging practices. Under AACR2, the Anglo-American Cataloging Rules, 2nd edition, there was a, “rule of three” stating if there were more than three creators on a specific source, the first would be an added entry (7xx field), appear in the title and statement of responsibility (245 field), and the other contributors would be represented as et. al. appearing nowhere else in the record.  RDA, Resource Description and Access, the new cataloging standard implemented by the Library of Congress in 2013, does not follow the rule of three. The first listed contributor is the main entry (in the 100 field), the title and statement of responsibility (245 field) lists all contributors on the chief source of information, and all other contributors are added entries (7xx fields). Creators appearing in the 1xx and 7xx fields are indexed in most online library catalogs, so if a patron searches using the “author” search, they will find anything in the 1xx and 7xx fields.

Developing relationships between creators and works is a key principle of the FRBR/WEMI models which directly impacted the development and implementation of RDA. Ok, I know that’s a lot of acronyms, so here’s their breakdown. FRBR, Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records, is a model that explains entities, relationships, and attributes thus creating metadata. There are three groups of entities in the FRBR model used to describe attributes. Group 1 are the products of intellectual and artistic endeavor, including Works, Expressions, Manifestations, and Items (WEMI). Here is a visual example of WEMI in action.

From http://www.loc.gov/catdir/cpso/frbreng.pdf

For example, the work Captain America: Winter Soldier can be either the book by Ed Brubaker, Steve Epting, Mike Perkins and Michael Lark, or the film directed by the Russo brothers. The book could be expressed as the single issue comics or a trade paperback; be manifested as a paper book or a digital file, and your library could have a hardcover or paperback item.

Group 2 are those responsible for the intellectual and artistic content, such as a person or corporate body and Group 3 are the subjects of the works, including groups 1 and 2 plus concepts, objects, events, place.  You can find a lot of information about FRBR and RDA online. The one thing to drive home about FRBR and new cataloging practices is the importance of the relationships in metadata.

I bet by now you forgot this was about artists right?

Because the relationships are important, it is necessary to detail the aspects of each contributor, which is where relator codes in RDA come into play. Relator codes can be found on the Library of Congress’ MARC Code List for Relator webpage. The terms are slightly different than those found in the RDA toolkit. Looking at the list, there are many that are primarily geared to comics and graphic novels.

They include: artist, author, colorist, creator, and editor (with more expanded terms in the RDA Toolkit). These relator terms appear in the subfield e for the 1xx and 7xx fields. Plus, practically speaking, the relator terms are free form, so I’ve seen a lot of interesting terms in the subfield e.

This may seem a bit cumbersome for a practicing cataloger. To include upwards of 10 collaborators and their responsibilities on a single MARC record takes time and effort. But let me give you a real world example of how practical this information can be.

2017-04-magenetoLet’s say a parton comes up to your reference desks saying something like, “I really love this author, Skottie Young. Could you give me other titles of things he’s written?” Without relator codes, when searching the OPAC, you’d just see Young, Skottie, which would include I Hate Fairyland written and illustrated by Young, colored by Jean-Francois Beaulieu and lettered & designed by Nate Piekos, or maybe The Wonderful Wizard of Oz adaptation, written by Eric Shanower, illustrated by Skottie Young, colored by Jean-Francois Beaulieu, and lettered by Jeff Echleberry, but what the patron really wanted was something like Magneto: Not a Hero, written by Skottie Young, penciled by Clay Mann and Seth Mann, lettered by Chris Eliopoulos, and colored by David Curiel Insheild, a book Young wrote but did not draw at all. Here’s what the relator terms would look like for these three books as displayable in your OPAC.

I Hate Fairyland
100 1# Young, Skottie, |e author, |e illustrator.

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
100 1# Young, Skottie, |e illustrator.

Magento: Not a Hero
100 1# Young, Skottie, |e author.

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