RE: Cataloguing foreign films/videos

Darryl Wiggers (
Wed, 20 Sep 2000 09:33:00 -0700 (PDT)

I think you identified one of the great unsolved problems of library

It seems everyone has their own way of doing things. It seems some are ruled
by their personal preferences, not a logic that makes it easier for others
to utilize. I'm having a tough enough time convincing our data-entry people
to stop typing "The" at the start of titles. Imagine trying to sort your
database titles alphabetically and getting most of them filed under "T' for
"The..." As for the foreign title debate, there is a hitch. For example, I
don't think anybody in the western world would recognize Antonioni's The
Adventure (or 'Adventure, The')-- but people do recognize the title
L'avventura. Then, you have to decide whether you want to enter it as
"L'avventura" or "avventura,L'" Ditto for La Dolce Vita (is there an English
translation for this?). I lean towards putting the "L" at the beginning
because most people are familiar with this kind of cataloguing (check out
most video reference books).

In any case, I always recommend the most commonly recognized title. It could
be in English ('Like Water for Chocolate'). It could be in the original
language ('El Mariachi'). But the idea is, people who are looking for titles
are going to search by the title they are most familiar with -- not by some
library-enforced standard.

-----Original Message-----
From: Mary Gontarek --- Owatonna Public Library
Sent: Wednesday, September 20, 2000 11:58 AM
To: Multiple recipients of list
Subject: Cataloguing foreign films/videos

I'm in a bit of a disagreement with our regional library about the main
title entry for foreign films/videos. My contention is that a film or
video such as "Like Water for Chocolate" should be entered with the
main title entry under the English version of the name, not the Spanish
version. I won't go into all the ramifications of overdue notices, etc.
except to say that it is extremely confusing to patrons to receive one
with a foreign title that they probably couldn't even find on a video
that has been processed for American audiences - subtitled or not!
This seems to have become an issue due to the fact a number of our
records are being superimposed by OCLC records which appear to be
just as inconsistent as any others I've seen.
I don't see the similarity between a book written and published in
a foreign language to a video which has obviously been produced and
distributed for an English speaking audience.
I'd appreciate any thoughts on this and if you have something I can
use for ammunition in my argument, that would be even better.
If I'm way off base here, I'd like to know that too.
Mary Gontarek
Owatonna Public Library
Owatonna, MN