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Diacritics

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Past Practice

Past practice at Queen's University, in all processing units but the Law Library, was to "spell out" the diacritics in most foreign languages. The language where this practice had the most impact was German.

The diacritics were spelled out throughout the bibliographic record, in both the headings and the notes. In many instances, the title was recorded with two versions of the title--with the diacritics included as well as "spelled out". In the authority records, the heading was established in its "spelled out" form, with a cross-reference from the version with the diacritics.

In cases where a heading was used in the Law Library as well as elsewhere in the library system, two authority records were established--one under each version, with "see also" references referring to the other version of the heading.

This practice followed one commonly used in manual catalogues. It was not, however, the practice followed by the National Libraries, nor by most bibliographic databases.

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Change in Policy

As of May 1st, 1996, the policy at Queen's changes to match the policy in other major libraries. Records are entered with the diacritics intact.

As new records are added to the database, the following steps should be followed:

  1. Each heading should be checked against the authority file
  2. If the heading has not yet been established, then it should be established according to current policy
  3. If the heading is established, then change the authority record so that the established form of the name matches current policy

Remember that if a large number of bibliographic records require changing, the Global Change process should be used to update the information. This is especially true of large corporate body names such as university names.

Remember also that the switch will occur on a heading by heading basis. This will result in older bibliographic records that contain headings spelled in both manners. Only new bibliographic records will necessarily be consistent in how the headings are treated.

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Variations in Titles

The database will contain records created under both policies for some time to come. The problem of two different treatments of headings can be resolved using cross-references in authority records. However, authority records are not created for titles. These variations must be accommodated within the bibliographic records.

Therefore, check the title(s) in a record to see if a diacritic that would have been spelled out under the old policy appears within the first 5 words. If this is the case, and if the word affected is a significant one, an added title entry should be made.

  1. Copy the title information
  2. Add a 246 tag, with the indicators "13"
  3. Paste the title into the new tag
  4. Change the diacritic to the spelled out version

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Section 2, Part D5
April 30, 1996 by E. Read

Page maintained by Elizabeth A. Read, readel@queensu.ca. Created: 30/04/96 Updated: 09-Oct-2003 06:28 PM