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Graphic Novels

12/1/2005

Graphic novels require quite a bit of care and attention when cataloging them, and these procedures should be followed as closely and consistently as possible for each item.   To determine if you are working with a graphic novel, UIUC has decided to impose a rather broad definition of this format; therefore, essentially, any title that uses "comics" as its primary medium can be considered a "graphic novel"...

  1. Search by a truncated title.   This will provide the best way of (hopefully) seeing all the different titles that have been imported into Voyager (i.e., search " Daredevil" to find " Daredevil: Target," " Daredevil: Yellow," " Daredevil, Volume 1," etcetera). 
  2. Determine if the piece you are about to catalog can be considered a self-contained story or as a multi-volume set (UIUC has decided not to catalog graphic novels as series titles).  Often it is obvious that the title is one self-contained story; other times, especially in the case of "superhero" comics, it is not quite so obvious.  The easiest way to determine this is to look for subtitles-if it has a subtitle, most likely it is ONE story, and each title should have its own single-item bibliographic record.  If the title has numbering ("volume" or otherwise) without any subtitles for each individual volume, it should be cataloged as a multivolume set.  This is VERY important to ascertain before cataloging the item, especially since more often than not, individual bibliographic records (often "short" records) have been imported from OCLC.  For example:  " Daredevil: Target" and " Daredevil: Yellow" will be cataloged as single item records, even though they are both " Daredevil" stories.  Similarly, " Sin City volume 2: A Dame to Kill For" and " Sin City volume 5: Family Values" should be cataloged as single item records as well (even though "volume" is in the title).  They are both " Sin City" titles, but the stories are distinct from each other, and should be given their own records.  Conversely, " Astro Boy 1," " Astro Boy 2," et al., would be cataloged as a multi-volume set.  There is no distinguishing feature or subtitle between the individual volumes. Use the record that properly reflects this; OCLC almost always has a multi-volume set record for a graphic novel title.
  3. If it is determined that the title should be cataloged as a single-item record, you may have to perform some maintenance on the title information.  In the aforementioned example of " Sin City volume 2: A Dame to Kill For" the record may have a subfield "n" or a subfield "p" in the 245 field to indicate "volume 2"; it is generally NOT UIUC's policy to include the subfield "p" or "n" in the 245 field.  If there is one in the record, it should be removed.  Therefore, in the example, the title would become " Sin City: A Dame to Kill For."  The sequential volume designation would then be moved into a 4xx field using " Sin City" as the "series" title.  In the " Astro Boy" example, though, Voyager will most likely have an individual record for each individual volume.  Follow the "ZSUP" procedure from this point to ensure that the inappropriate records are not used in the future, and incoming volumes are added to the appropriate set record.  Also, be mindful of adding ISBN's to the multi-volume set record you are using.  Oftentimes, the record does not contain one for each volume, and, of course, it should. 
  4. Variant titles are VERY important.  In the aforementioned " Sin City" examples, a 246 field should be created for any possible variation on the title, including " Dame to Kill For," " Sin City volume 2," " Sin City 2," etcetera.  In graphic novels, there are variant titles everywhere: on the spine, on the title page, on the cover, in the subtitles.  Proper care should be maintained in regards to this as graphic novel fans pay attention to it, and will search under it. 
  5. EACH AND EVERY graphic novel should have at least TWO subject headings.  One, a 650 field (1 st indicator blank, 2 nd indicator 0) "Comic books, strips, etc." [add a subfield "z" as appropriate for country of origin; adding one for "United States" is generally not necessary..."Japan" however, is.]  Also, a 655 field (1 st indicator blank, 2 nd indicator 0) should be included, "Graphic novels". EVERY title needs BOTH of these. 
  6. Graphic novels are classed in 741.59, adding on the country of origin of the author.  So, " Sin City" by Frank Miller from the USA is classed in 741.5973.  " Astro Boy" by Osamu Tezuka from Japan is classed in 741.5952.  Exceptions can be made if the author has gained most of his notoriety from a particular country; for example, Garth Ennis is from Ireland, but he is most well known in the USA, so he is classed in 741.5973.  This exception is used at the cataloger's discretion. 
  7. Cutter from the author.  
  8. Workmarks can be slightly different with graphic novels, especially if you are deciding that a title ought to be classed as a single-item record when it gives the appearance of being a multi-volume set.  Take the aforementioned " Sin City" example.  All the titles are written by Frank Miller, and a majority of them begin with "Sin" in the title.  This makes work marks tricky....to compensate for this, use TWO work marks in cases like this: ONE for the "main" title, ONE for the subtitle.  Thus, " Sin City: Family Values" would be cuttered M613 with a workmark of "sf" (s=sin, f=family).  This way, all the "Sin City" titles can have individual records, be shelved directly next to each other, and have unique yet succinct workmarks. 

Other things to watch for:

*Translation information is not always explicit, especially with the Japanese "manga" titles.  Often, this information needs to be added to the record, either in the 245 field or a 500 note.  Furthermore, this will be important, as the call number would then require a colon and abbreviation for language translated to; e.g.., 741.5952 T319as :E

*Notes in the 500 fields are also VERY handy.  Most often, they can be used to indicate if the graphic novel was originally published in "magazine form" (i.e., "comic book") with the issue number this graphic novel is republishing.  They can also be used to indicate on Japanese "manga" titles that the book reads in the format of back to front and right to left. 

*An "-09" subdivision can be added to a class number for a  work that is a history or criticism of graphic novels, essays on a character in comics, etcetera.  For example, " Rough Guide to Superheroes" can be classed in 741.597309.  This will make it classed distinctly from "actual" graphic novels, yet still be shelved close to them.

If questions persist, the best solution is to just browse call numbers 741.5973 or 741.5952 and see how particular titles were done in the past.