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.
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