RDA Cataloging Rules for Pseudonyms with MARC 21 Examples



PseudonymA name used by a person (either alone or in collaboration with others) that is not the person’s real name. (RDA Toolkit Glossary)
PseudonymA name assumed by an author to conceal or obscure his or her identity. (AACR2 Glossary) 

RDA Cataloging Rules for Pseudonyms

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) on Library of Congress / Program for Cooperative Cataloging practice for creating Name Authority Records (NARs) for persons who use Pseudonyms:

Q1. How many Name Authority Records (NARs) are needed for contemporary persons who use pseudonyms? 

  • If the person never uses his real name in his works but only use his pseudonym as his name, then establish the Name Authority Record under the pseudonym in MARC 21 - 100 Field and place the real name in 400 field.
  • If the author uses his real name and one pseudonym in his works then two Name Authority Records may by created, one under the real name and one under the pseudonym. Then MARC 21 (for Authority Records) 500 field, simple see-also references should be used for linking the two names.
  • If the person uses more than one pseudonym and may or may not use the real name then NARs are created for all the names including the unused real name if known.
  • If the pseudonym represents a joint collaboration by two or more persons and the catalog does not contain items by those persons under their real name then One NAR for the joint pseudonym is created. The un-used names associated with the pseudonym are provided in a 400 field (see reference) on the joint pseudonym NAR. 
  • If the pseudonym represents a joint collaboration by two or more persons each of whom also write under their real name and there are items in the catalog under the real names, then the cataloger should create one Name Authority Record for the joint pseudonym. Use the joint pseudonym as the basic heading. Also, create one NAR each for the associated names. On the joint pseudonym NAR provide a 500 field (see-also reference) for each of the associated real names. 
  • If the pseudonym is used by several persons working independently of each other then the cataloger should create one NAR for the shared pseudonym and one NAR for each individual using the same pseudonym.
Q2. How do I decide which name to choose as the basic heading when creating NARs for a person with multiple pseudonyms? (DCM Z1 663— Complex see-also reference—Names)

Answer: Choose as the basic heading the predominant (most commonly found) form of name. If it is not possible to determine a predominant form choose the real name as the basic heading.

Q3. Is it required to make a NAR for every pseudonym associated with a contemporary person? Some persons purport to have ten or more pseudonyms but in my catalog we only have works under one or two of those names – are there limits set on the number of NARs required? (DCM Z1 667 Cataloger Note section) 

Answer: Resource Description and Access Cataloging Rules permit to make any number of  names authority records for persons using pseudonyms, but catalogers judgment may be used to limit the number of NARs created for authors with a large number of pseudonyms to just those pseudonyms for which there are works in the catalog.

Q4. Should the 663 note technique also be used in a corporate name NAR when providing 500 see-also references for the members of a group? (RDA Chapter 30) 

Answer: No, the 663 note technique is only used to link personal names (100 field) to personal names (500 field).

Q5. Can the 663 note be used without coding the 500 field with subfield $w nnnc? (MARC 21 Format for Authority Records, 663 field)

Answer: No, the 663 note must have a corresponding 500 field (see-also reference) with a subfield $w coded nnnc. 

Q6. What about creating NARs for non-contemporary persons? Where is the guidance? 

Answer: Under RDA there is no contemporary vs. non-contemporary limitation on creation of separate NARs for each name a person uses. 

Q7. What about different real names used concurrently by authors? 

Answer: Treat the case in the same way as pseudonyms and follow the response in A1 in this FAQ.

Q8. How do I handle a situation when a pseudonym conflicts with another name and there is no information to add to either name to differentiate them? Do I create an undifferentiated NAR (or add the name to an undifferentiated NAR if it already exists)? Do I add the prescribed 663 note as well as the 500 coded “nnnc” to the undifferentiated NAR?

Answer: Under new RDA Cataloging Rules no undifferentiated should be made. When a pseudonym conflicts with another name, one of the additions in RDA – should be applied to the
pseudonym in order to create a unique authorized access point.  

Q9. How do I handle LC classification numbers: Do I add the same LCC (053) on each NAR of a pseudonym? What if the pseudonym is used on non-literary works?

Answer: For authors who write literary works under more than one name and who have authority records for each name, a 053 field is added to each record. If an author uses a pseudonym for non-literary works LCC (053) numbers are not added to the NAR for that pseudonym

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