All of these careful arrangements *completely disintegrated* when they were placed into the computer catalog. Since computers are rather mindless, the uniform title "Works" is now placed alphabetically under the author's name ("W") and as a consequence, people are supposed to *actively search* for "Works" (or browse to "W") although everybody, including our predecessors, have always known that no one will ever do that. So, I agree that collective uniform titles do not work, but it is also true that they haven't worked for a long, long, long time.

Does it then follow that these collective uniform titles are useless? That people *do not want* the group of records collocated under "Cicero, Marcus Tullius. Selections. English"? I think they do want that, but those groups of records are impossible for people to find in our current catalogs. Changing it to "Cicero, Marcus Tullius. *Works.* Selections. English" is certainly no improvement at all for the user and seems senseless.

I agree that in current catalogs, collective titles aren't much help. Maybe this was the reason that the principle of collective titles was almost completely abandoned in Germany, when we changed from our older cataloguing code (the so-called "Prussian instructions") to the modern German RAK rules.

But, is it possible to make collective uniform titles useful and functional for today's information tools? I believe they could and that people would appreciate it, but that would take complete reconsideration from the user's point of view--something I don't see happening very soon.

I don't think that a complete reconsideration is necessary. It's just a question of changing how the data is presented.

No witchcraft would be required to make use of the information in a sensible manner. For a long time, I've suggested presenting our users with reasonable next steps (in the form of links) whenever they view a title record. For example, when a manifestation of a work by author X is displayed in the catalog, reasonable next steps could be (among others):

- other editions of this work
- secondary literature about this work
- other works by the same author
- collections of works by the same author
- biographies of the author

Of course, these links should only be shown if there are appropriate records in the catalog.

The "collections of works by the same author" link would make use of the collection information. It wouldn't matter if this information was stored conventionally as collective titles or - as I suggested in my last mail - as additional work elements in the composite description.


Prof. Heidrun Wiesenmueller M.A.
Stuttgart Media University
Wolframstr. 32, 70191 Stuttgart, Germany

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