Glens Falls (NY) Online Book Discussion Group discussion

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ABOUT BOOKS AND READING > Authors Who Write Under Different Pen-Names (also drifts to info re ISBN#s, DDC, and LCC)

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message 1: by Joy H., Group Founder (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments It might be interesting to discuss authors who write under different pen-names.

For example, see the following about Nora Roberts, which I found at the Barnes & Noble website:
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"One of the most prolific and popular writers in the world, Nora Roberts (who also writes as her edgier alter-ego J. D. Robb) publishes multiple books a year. Not that it’s enough for her fans, who tear through her unconventional romances. With her trademark mix of fantasy, mystery, and romance, Roberts has created her own genre -- and romance fans are grateful for it!"
FROM: http://search.barnesandnoble.com/book...
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message 2: by [deleted user] (new)

One off the top of my head is John Banville, writing literary mysteries under the name Benjamin Black.


message 3: by Katherine (new)

Katherine Totten (katherine42) | 199 comments Stephen King as Richard Bachman


message 4: by Werner (new)

Werner Egyptologist Dr. Barbara Mertz writes respected works in her area of academic specialization, under her real name; but she's best known for the romantic suspense she writes as Barbara Michaels. She also has a loyal following for the Amelia Peabody mystery series written under the name Elizabeth Peters. And of course Dame Edith Pargeter was known in the historical fiction genre by her real name, but wrote her mysteries (the Cadfael series being the best known) as Ellis Peters.

Of course, this gets to be interesting in libraries that use the Library of Congress classification system, under which you alphabetize authors by their REAL name (if it's known)! That's why, for example, in the library where I work, you look for Mark Twain with 19th-century American authors whose names start with C (Clemens), and Lewis Carroll with 19th-century British authors names starting with D (Dodgson). A cataloger in the library at Indiana State Univ. (where I went to library school) once told me that novelist Evan Hunter --who used perhaps 30 pen names, the best known being Ed McBain-- had about driven her nuts. :-)


message 5: by Joy H., Group Founder (last edited Feb 15, 2010 07:23AM) (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments Thanks folks, for the interesting info re the various pen names.

Werner, do they cross reference the catalogs? For example, if someone looks up "Mark Twain", will he/she be referred to the "Clemens" file?


message 7: by Werner (new)

Werner Interesting question, Joy! The use of the real name in the classification system really comes into play mainly in creating the call number, which determines where a book gets placed on the shelves. In making the catalog record, a cataloger can add an "alternate author" entry under the pen name; so just now, my electronic catalog search for "Twain, Mark" as author brought up all of his books. So it's only a problem for people who skip the catalog and go straight to the shelves to look for a book in the place where they think that, logically, it ought to be. :-)


message 8: by Joy H., Group Founder (last edited Feb 16, 2010 05:26AM) (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments Werner wrote: "Interesting question, Joy! The use of the real name in the classification system really comes into play mainly in creating the call number, which determines where a book gets placed on the shelves..."

Gee, Werner, I never realized that there was so much to it. Thanks for the excellent explanation. I assume the "call number" is the same as the "ISBN" number. Your reply made me curious for more information. So just now I looked up the meaning of ISBN and found that it means "International Standard Book Number".

Also, just now I looked up "ISBN" at Wiki. For those who might be interested, below is some of the info I learned:
====================================================
"The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a unique numeric commercial book identifier based upon the 9-digit Standard Book Numbering (SBN) code created by Gordon Foster, now Emeritus Professor of Statistics at Trinity College, Dublin,for the booksellers and stationers W.H. Smith and others in 1966.

"The 10-digit ISBN format was developed by the International Organization for Standardization and was published in 1970 as international standard ISO 2108. (However, the 9-digit SBN code was used in the United Kingdom until 1974.) Currently, the ISO’s TC 46/SC 9 is responsible for the ISBN. The ISO on-line facility only refers back to 1978.

"Since 1 January 2007, ISBNs have contained 13 digits, a format that is compatible with Bookland EAN-13s.

"Occasionally, a book may appear without a printed ISBN if it is printed privately or the author does not follow the usual ISBN procedure; however, this is usually later rectified.

"A similar numeric identifier, the International Standard Serial Number (ISSN), identifies periodical publications such as magazines.

"An ISBN is assigned to each edition and variation (except reprintings) of a book. The ISBN is 13 digits long if assigned after January 1, 2007, and 10 digits long if assigned before 2007. An International Standard Book Number consists of 4 or 5 parts:
1. for a 13 digit ISBN, a GS1 prefix: 978 or 979 (indicating the industry; in this case, 978 denotes book publishing)
2. the group identifier, (language-sharing country group)
3. the publisher code,
4. the item number, (title of the book) and
5. a checksum character or check digit.

"The ISBN parts may be of different lengths, and usually are separated with hyphens or spaces."
FROM: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ISBN
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I didn't realize that the use of ISBN numbers was a relatively recent development, begun only as far back as 1966.


message 9: by Werner (new)

Werner Joy, thanks for that excellent write-up on ISBN numbers --you shared a lot of information that I didn't know, even with my being a librarian!

However, a book's "call number" has nothing to do with its ISBN. A call number is a location code that shows where a book goes on the library shelves, and will appear on an adhesive sticker attached (usually) to the lower part of the book's spine. Numbers are assigned according to a systematic, comprehensive subject arrangement; there are two of those systems in common use in the U.S. today. One is the Dewey Decimal system, developed by Melvil Dewey in 1876, and the other is the Library of Congress system, developed at (naturally!) the Library of Congress earlier in the 19th century; the former is usually used by public libraries and the latter by academic libraries, though there are some of both that use the other. The term "call number" itself also comes from the 19th century --the libraries of that day usually didn't allow patrons to go to the shelves and remove books; you had to look up a book in the catalog, write down its location code number, and go to the desk and "call" for a library employee to fetch you the book by that number. (Few libraries today still do this, although the Library of Congress is one of those that still does.)


message 10: by Joy H., Group Founder (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments Werner wrote: "... However, a book's "call number" has nothing to do with its ISBN. A call number is a location code that shows where a book goes on the library shelves, and will appear on an adhesive sticker attached (usually) to the lower part of the book's spine. Numbers are assigned according to a systematic, comprehensive subject arrangement; there are two of those systems in common use in the U.S. today..."

Aha! Thanks for explaining what the "call number" is all about, Werner. Interesting!

I never paid much attention to the "sticker" itself. I saw only what was printed on it (the call number). For example, the book I'm currently reading is The Black Unicorn by Terry Brooks. So the sticker says:

Fict
Bro
Sci-Fi PB

The ISBN (on the back of the title page) is: 0-345-33528-7

Well, now I know the difference between a call number and an ISBN. It's all so detail-oriented. Lots to learn about.


message 11: by Werner (new)

Werner Yes, Joy, that's a typical fiction call number for a public library. Most of them use their Dewey Decimal (or LC) numbers only for non-fiction books; they just shelve all the fiction in a Fiction section (Fict), alphabetically by the author's last name -- hence "Bro" for Brooks. In that particular example, the library evidently has a separate section in Fiction for science fiction (and shelves fantasy with that), and shelves the paperbacks separately from the hardcover books; that's what the "Sci-Fi PB" means.

If you'd gotten the same book in a college library, they typically don't have separate Fiction sections. So its call number would have started with PS (for American Literature) and gone to add some numbers and letters that clarify its location more precisely. (Or, if they use the Dewey system, it would start with a number between 810 and 819 --I forget exactly which-- for American fiction.) The systems sound much more complex and confusing than they actually are, in practice! :-)


message 12: by Joy H., Group Founder (last edited Feb 16, 2010 12:54PM) (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments Werner wrote: "Yes, Joy, that's a typical fiction call number for a public library. Most of them use their Dewey Decimal (or LC) numbers only for non-fiction books; they just shelve all the fiction in a Fiction section..."

Werner, thanks for explaining. I see that the shelving of library books via call numbers is quite a science in itself.

I wonder what the pros and cons were when it came to deciding which call number system to use, either the Dewey Decimal system or the Library of Congress system.

I can never remember the Dewey Decimal System numbers. Below is a link to a Dewey Decimal System Chart.
http://www.cazenovia.edu/default.aspx...
The number which I remember most is 920 for Biography. Usually it's "92" followed by the last name of the person about whom the biography is about. For example, on the spine of the biography I'm currently reading about Katharine Graham, Personal History, the sticker simply says: "92 Graham".

Between learning the two different call number systems and also learning the ISBN system, there's a lot of learning to do.

It's interesting to see that librarians deal with numbers as much as (if not more than) they do with words!


message 13: by Werner (new)

Werner Yes, that's part of why this profession is known as "Library Science!" It does involve quite a bit of work with numbers; and no individual librarian alive today has memorized all the numbers in either system (there are thick reference books for that --a many-volume set, in the case of the LC system). But the more you use either system, the more you master its general outlines and some of the individual parts. :-)

In its article on "Dewey Decimal system," Wikipedia has a comparison with the LC system, which explains the tradeoffs to consider in choosing one or the other. I don't have the URL in front of me right now, but it's fairly easy to find by a search.


message 14: by Joy H., Group Founder (last edited Feb 17, 2010 07:02AM) (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments Werner wrote: "Yes, that's part of why this profession is known as "Library Science!" It does involve quite a bit of work with numbers...
... In its article on "Dewey Decimal system," Wikipedia has a comparison with the LC system, which explains the tradeoffs to consider in choosing one or the other. ... "


Ah yes, Werner, here is the link you referred to (about comparing the Dewey Decimal System (DDC) to the Library of Congress Classification system (LCC). Thanks very much for pointing me to it:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dewey_de...
Excerpts:
====================================================
"DDC's main advantage over its chief American rival, the Library of Congress Classification system ... is its simplicity. ...it is generally easier to use.

"DDC's decimal system means that it is less hospitable to the addition of new subjects, as opposed to Library of Congress Classification, which has 21 classes at the top level.

"Another disadvantage of DDC is that it ... was built on a top-down approach to classify all human knowledge, which makes it difficult to adapt to changing fields of knowledge."
====================================================
Of course, there are more details at the link. One of them explains that "most major academic libraries in the US do not use the DDC" because with the LCC system there is the "much lower expense of using a unique 'pre-packaged' catalog number..."


message 15: by Werner (new)

Werner Joy, thanks for that link. I hadn't read the whole article, but I can see that it does have one point that's outdated. They're correct that a lot of college (and public!) libraries like to have a "pre- packaged" call number they can slap on a book without thinking; and most publishers print the Library of Congress' catalog data on the back of the title page of a book, which makes it very handy to refer to. But the LC catalogers nowadays, for the convenience of libraries that use Dewey, usually assign both an LC and a Dewey number to a book, so both appear on the back of the title page. Other libraries can then pick whichever one they want. Also, modern computer cataloging now usually simply involves downloading an already created record from elsewhere. Those are available with either LC or Dewey numbers, as the particular library wishes.

There's a downside to blindly using numbers assigned by LC catalogers, though, depending on the cataloger; some will assign books a hair-splitting, pedantic number that's technically correct, but places the book in a position where someone browsing the shelf intuitively would never find it. At this library, for instance, we have a book on the segregated Jewish hospital that existed in Berlin through the Nazi era. I gave it a number in D (Old World History) with the Holocaust books, where most people would look for it. The LC cataloger had placed it in R (Health and Medicine) under hospital administration. It was NOT a book someone interested in hospital administration would have looked for (unless, as the teacher of the Hoocaust class remarked, you wanted to do really BAD hospital administration!). :-) It's well known among librarians that there are a lot of examples like this --but not all librarians bother to correct them.


message 16: by Joy H., Group Founder (last edited Feb 17, 2010 03:17PM) (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments Werner wrote: "Joy, thanks for that link. I hadn't read the whole article, but I can see that it does have one point that's outdated. They're correct that a lot of college (and public!) libraries like to have a..."

Werner, thanks for making that distinction (about LC catalogers assigning "both an LC and a Dewey number to a book"). That's a practical idea.

Also, your example of about poorly assigned call numbers is a good one. I can see how difficult it can be to come up with the best placement.

In the same way, placement of files has always been a challenge. I once worked as a clerk and had to file various papers. My boss's theory was that the person doing the filing should file it where he/she thinks best because then he/she would be able to find it later. That makes sense. On the other hand, he never worried that a new clerk might not think like the former clerk.

As for myself, sometimes I try to cross-reference my files just in case I might forget where I filed things.

The system of filing g-mail is a good one. Each email can be given any number of "labels". In that way, an email can be found under any of those labels.

Outlook Express and Thunderbird (which I'm accustomed to) don't use that system. But it's too late for me to change. I'm comfortable with what I'm used to.

Good luck with the placement of your books!


message 17: by Werner (new)

Werner Thanks, Joy! Sometimes we need good luck. :-)


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The Black Unicorn (other topics)
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