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29 June 2005


E. Mandel

In re 741.5, we put all our graphic novels as well as most of our other cartoon-related materials in that number, extended to 741.59NNN wherever possible. Items *about* cartoons tend to go into 741.5 (plain vanilla). It bothers me that The Far Side and Batman Returns end up in the same number. I'd like to be able to differentiate among manga and graphic novel-type materials: i.e., materials with an extended story line that are not served in brief segments like daily newspaper comic strips with extended story arcs, such as Peachi-Keane Falls for a Nerd, comic books with multiple stories in one issue, such as Marvell Superheroes issue no. 3,874,962, and collections of episodic strips that may or may not have stories that are continued from day to day, such as Garfield Gets a Dent, daily and Sunday strips from 2006-2009. After all, animation has its own number. So should other categories. The distinction seems to me not to be the length of the story arc but the length of the material intended to be perused at one time. A strip or panel is not a comic book, which often has only parts of several different stories which begin and end in different issues and is essentially a serial, is not a graphic novel, which often has multiple volumes and goes on and on but is clearly a monograph. At the least I'd want the panels/strips split off from the longer forms.

I use the geographic distinctions if I possibly can, assigning the current residence of the primary writer. I can see the confusions caused by mobility, and the problem where the artist, not the author, is the prominent member. Reprints can also cause problems if you are assigning geographic designations based on place of publication, especially where original publication isn't even mentioned. Hey, I'm easy. I'll go with whatever geographic source is agreed upon, but I'd like to keep the geography. We have shelf after shelf of these things, and some differentiation is necessary.


Joel Hahn

Regarding the separation of narrative works from anecdotal works, I think there really should be two categories along the lines of what the Dewey editors proposed, with the exception that "comic strips that have an anecdotal quality and yet have continuing narratives longer than anecdotes" (e.g. Doonesbury & For Better or For Worse) should generally be lumped in with the single panel cartoons and anecdotal comic strips. However, I also support the proposal's (albeit tenative) instruction to the effect of, "When in doubt, prefer classifying with narrative graphic works rather than anecdotal graphic works."

That should usefully separate cartoons & comic strips from actual stories, and the "when in doubt" provision should adequately cover those few cases where a cataloger can't be certain which category a given work belongs in. I certainly consider such a division a desirable end, as this really is as much a case of apples and oranges and thus best kept separate as poetry and fiction are--yes, there are poetic novels, but the Dewey system handles that grey area with a similar provision, and this situation is no more of a problem than that one is.

As for the issue of subdividing by country of publication or author's origin, perhaps something like the following would be a better solution:

Divide 741.59 by language:
741.591-741.599 - Treatment by languages

741.591 - Wordless graphic works

741.592 - English-language graphic works
741.5921 - Use 741.592.
741.59217-741.5929 - Add to 741.592 notation following -2 in T6

741.593 - German-language graphic works
741.5931 - Use 741.593.
741.5932-741.5939 - Add to 741.593 notation following -3 in T6

741.594 - French-language graphic works
741.5941 - Use 741.594.
741.59417-741.5949 - Add to 741.594 notation following -4 in T6

741.595 - Italian-language graphic works
741.5951 - Use 741.595.
741.5956-741.5959 - Add to 741.595 notation following -5 in T6

741.596 - Spanish-language graphic works
741.5961 - Use 741.596.
741.5967-741.5969 - Add to 741.596 notation following -6 in T6

741.597 - Latin-language graphic works
741.5979 - Add to 741.597 notation following -7 in T6

741.598 - Greek-language graphic works
741.5981-741.5989 - Add to 741.598 notation following -8 in T6

741.599 - Graphic works in other languages
Add to 741.599 the numbers following -9 in T6

Choice of Language:
When treating graphic works that are partially textual and partially wordless, use the number corresponding to the language of the textual content. When treating graphic works of more than two languages, use the number coming first in 741.592 - 741.599, except where there are different instructions in Table 6. (For example, Greek and Latin graphic works are classified in 741.598.) If the languages all belong to a particular language family, use the most specific number that will contain all of the languages. For broad groupings such as Indo-European graphic works, use 741.59. Class comprehensive works for an author who writes in more than one language with the predominant language. If there is no one predominant language, class in the language the author used last.

Use the language of the translation, even if different from the language selected for an author's comprehensive number. (Option: Classify translations with the original language, when such information is known or readily available.)

Joel Hahn
Lead Cataloger, Niles Public Library District, Niles, IL
Compiler of the Comic Book Awards Almanac

Francisca Goldsmith

Classifying anecdotal sequential art (whether collections of single panels, comic strips, or serials with issues collecting parts of several stories) with and as though it were the same as sequential art that provides narrative across text that moves from start to finish (the graphic novel, in however many volumes--or how few--it takes to present the whole story)seems to defeat the purpose of classification. Both creators and readers are engaged in pursuing specific--and different--ends when they choose the anecdotal OR the graphic novel. Blurring that choice with "AND" collapses too many distinctive factors into a single category, rendering the category unmeaningful. The end result of that, for many of us with graphic novel collections and anecdotal publications, will be local classification outside Dewey, making it more difficult for all to see the possibilities for publication, creation, and reading in both subdivisions.



Jay Towne Smith

I disliked the proposal to create separate classes for individual comic strips "with an anecdotal character" in 741.56 while leaving others in 741.59. Three years later, I still think it provides a distinction without a difference. In fact it invites confusion. More than that, in this library it gives us less rather than greater specificity, since it gives rise to longer numbers, which by local policy we cut off after four figures to the right of the decimal. The opt-out instruction, "if in doubt, prefer 741.5 and 741.59," is of little help in an environment where copy catalogers see the suggested Dewey 741.56 in an LC or PCC record and go with it. We would have to review everything in the genre at the cataloger level.


What about graphic representations of existing works such as "Mary Shelly's Frankenstein: The Graphic Novel"? Should these works, which are in essence adaptations, be categorized separately from original works? Which author should be listed first?

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