RE: Cataloguing foreign films/videos

Oksana Dykyj (
Wed, 20 Sep 2000 10:45:51 -0700 (PDT)

At 09:31 AM 9/20/00 -0700, you wrote:

>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).

I do not comprehend such ethnocentric inconsistencies: On the one hand,
English titles should not be catalogued so that the article "the" is the
first word and thus alphabetized under "t" but on the other hand, the
article "la" should be the first word of a non-English title. The, l', la,
le, der, etc. are all articles and ought to be treated in the same
consistent manner. The fact that some "reference" books are inconsistent
in this practice is simply a reflection of the ignorance of their staff.
They most likely don't know that der, le la, l' all mean "the". It takes a
couple of sentences in the introduction to alert readers about non-English
article use.

That point aside, what is really needed in a database are close to
idiot-proof searching capabilities that will search for parts of a title,
not just the beginning of a title or the entire title. Furthermore, title
searching in media catalogues/databases should look through all fields with
title information so that all appropriate fields are searched, not only
main title, but alternate title fields, etc. This way if you type "Vita",
you'll get La Dolce Vita, and if you type "color of pomegranates" you'll
get "Sayat Nova" which is also known as "Red Pomegranate". Therefore
typing, red, or sayat, or color, would get you to the 1 film they all
represent. You also want to make sure that your patrons are provided
information about subtitling and dubbing (if you purchase dubbed material).

A word of caution about transliteration which is always a problem because
there are no set rules for translating sounds. So, one person's Earth is
Zemlya, and another's is Zemlia. In fact if my family name had been
correctly transliterated it would be Dickey which is how it is pronounced,
instead of Dykyj which was a botched attempt at finding equivalent letters
to the Ukrainian ones. But I digress....


Oksana Dykyj voice: 514-848-3443
Head, Visual Media Resources fax: 514-848-7622
Instructional & Information Technology Services
Concordia University
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