Cataloger rant

We just got in a crapload of rock CDs, which I am now copy-cataloging. And I’m seeing all these 520 fields, like this one for My Bloody Valentine’s Loveless:

520 This 1991 release is as heavy as it gets in the alternative world. The unbelievable hard arrangements, strong vocals, and unprecedented guitar architecture received much critical acclaim in the ’90s

Now, a 520 field is defined as “An unformatted note that describes the scope and general contents of the described materials. Use for an abstract, annotation, review, summary or a phrase describing the material.” They’re usually used for videos, as a summary of “what the movie is about”. I’ve never seen them used on CDs before today. This may be an “annotation” or “review”. It reads like something a 16 year old would Twitter. It certainly doesn’t offer any really useful information to our patrons, but I’m also not sure they’re worth the trouble to strip out.

520s for videos, OTOH, can be fun: “Poor soldier with malnutrition-induced psychosis kills common-law wife in a jealous rage, then drowns.” (Wozzeck) It’s a challenge to get the essence of a work into a sentence or two. It doesn’t sound like the essence has been captured here, and I’m not going to listen to find out.


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