Brenna Bychowski: Superheroes and Shocking Affairs, or, Adventures in Cataloging Popular Literature

Never before have I wanted a cataloging presentation to go longer…

Ephemeral popular literature has traditionally been under-described in library catalogs. In addition to the long-standing perception that these materials are of relatively little interest or value, they are challenging to describe. However, as scholarly and popular interest in popular culture has increased, special collections catalogers are grappling with how to best approach these materials, which are often poorly served by current cataloging standards. This lecture will make a case for reevaluating and looking beyond traditional cataloging practices and resources.

Using her experience working with dime novels and comic books as a case study, Brenna Bychowski hopes to illuminate some approaches to improving our catalog records. Catalogers can supplement existing descriptive practices with increased subject analysis and identification of writers and artists. Additionally, as we move towards a linked open data cataloging environment, Brenna argues for the belief that we should consider leveraging the data that is being created by fan communities. By bringing our expertise in bibliographical and physical book description together with the in-depth, specialized knowledge of fan communities, we hope to provide better, more useful access for our patrons to these materials.

Source: Rare Book School

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