So, in a name authority record, the birth and death dates of a person are often added:

Gorey, Edward, 1925-2000

For living persons, a birth date is often added and left open:

Winterson, Jeanette, 1959-

When a living person whose date has been left open dies, the death date can be added. But you need a source of information to cite in the authority record, saying where you got the death date information. Hence, a post from an LC cataloger on RadCat:

I can probably add the death date, but I have to quote something as a source. I have been known to attend funerals and add death dates taken from the service leaflets.

That is dedication and that is why I love cataloging and catalogers.

(I’d just link to the post, but you have to sign in to access the archives. The post was made on Thu, 17 Apr 2008, has the subject “date of death,” so if you are a list member, you can go look. Since the RadCat archives are closed and I can’t find a list statement of policy on quoting list posts in other places, I’m leaving the author name off.)


I think Martha Yee is swiftly becoming one of my heroes.

Anyone who writes a new set of cataloging rules as an alternative to AACR2/RDA gets props from me.

I’ve looked at her rules a bit, and I like the way in which they are written, but I haven’t had a chance to dig into them in detail. I’ve been telling myself I’ll do that “this summer.”

It is dawning on me that the number of things I have told myself I will do “this summer” has become a bit unrealistic. A serious plan is in order.