Re: Cataloguing foreign films/videos

Karen Gorss Benko (
Wed, 20 Sep 2000 09:57:15 -0700 (PDT)

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Dear Mary,

I have only been cataloging videos for about a year, but I have been taught
by a very conscientious supervisor to always think of the big picture.
_Like water for chocolate_ is a good example b/c it is conceivable that a
large public library could carry two versions, one with and one without
subtitles, packaged for distribution to two different audiences. In this
case, since they are the same movie, shouldn't they have the same title?
This is especially true when shelf location is based on title--shouldn't
they be together on the shelf? (Of course, then you might have people
grabbing the wrong one and only realizing it when they get home, but that's
a separate problem!)

I respectfully disagree with the disparison [opposite of *com*parison? just
made it up] of a non-English-language book and a non-English-language
movie. _Like water for chocolate_ is a non-English-language movie, whether
it is subtitled, dubbed, repackaged, or changed in any other way. If a
bunch of actors remade the movie, speaking English, that would be

I'm sorry to not help your argument. Maybe the problem can be solved using
technology! If all of your library's non-English-language videos are
subtitled, then they have an English title, which would be in the 245 $b as
a parallel title. Can the overdue notices be set up to include the entire
245? or, since that is sometimes unwieldy, 245 $a, $h, and $b? If _Como
agua para chocolat_ (sp?) is confusing on the overdue notices, maybe _Como
agua para chocolat_ [videorecording] = Like water for chocolate would be
less so. If there are problems with searching, liberal use of 246s could be
the answer.

Good luck,

Karen Gorss Benko
Catalog Librarian
Williams College
Williamstown, Massachusetts

Mary Gontarek --- Owatonna Public Library wrote:

> 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.
> Thanks,
> Mary Gontarek
> Owatonna Public Library
> Owatonna, MN

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