Oh No -- A Board Game?
Some Tips for Cataloging This Unlikely Acquisition
A board game? For most law catalogers , what are the odds of running across one of these? Probably less than encountering sheet music. That's what I thought until one day in 1995 I had to deal with a creature called West's Great American Case Race. Opening its big blue box, I realized this was little more than a parlor game for law students, not much different than, say, Monopoly or Candyland. Its intent is to teach legal research, stressing, of course, the advantages of WESTLAW over LEXIS. Its contents were typical of any board game: a folded board, one set of WESTLAW cards, one set of LEXIS cards, one set of case files ("clues"), four markers ("pieces"), a die, score sheets (as in game points, not music) and an "official rules" sheet.
Okay, you have such a creature in hand, now where do you start? The best place would be Chapter 10 of AACR2. This (for those of us who only use chapters 1, 2, 12 and 21) is the chapter dealing with three-dimensional artifacts and realia. Yes, flat though it may be, a board game is 3D. Descriptive cataloging is straightforward. I've included two examples: the OCLC master record for West's Great American Case Race (Example 1) and the in-house Dickinson School of Law INNOPAC record which illustrates my corrections to the OCLC record (Example 2). It is title main entry. If your library is in North America, consult List 2 in Rule 1.1C2. There you will find "game" as a general material designation. It [in square brackets] follows the title proper. I can't think of any board games deserving of a 1xx field, since they do not generally have a single author or a Rule 21.1B2 issuing body. Just as in any format, a 246 is useful for tracing any title variation. The 260 (publisher, distributor, etc.) field is basically as for any monograph; board games generally have copyright dates, rather than publication dates.
Where are the chief sources for a 245 and 260 for a board game? Rule 10.0B1 states:
The chief source of information ... is the object itself together with any accompanying textual material and container together with any accompanying textual material and container issued by the publisher or manufacturer of the item. Prefer information found on the object (including any permanently affixed labels) to information found in the accompanying textual materials or on a container.
In other words, what's on the board is better than what's on the cover or the enclosed instruction sheet. Title and (rarely) statement of responsibility, edition (yes, board games do have editions—e.g. the umpteen editions of the board game version of Concentration), and publication, distribution, etc. all have the chief source as their prescribed sources of information (10.0B2). Take any of this information from any place other than the board, and you have to use square brackets. In my case, I was lucky. Title, publisher and copyright date were all on the board. Place of publication was not listed anywhere on the item, but we all know where West was located (St. Paul, Minn.) so it was put in square brackets.
Things start to look really different when you deal with physical description. Rule 10.5 addresses this. Rule 10.5B1 covers extent of item. In a MARC format record, all of this follows subfield a. Since you have one game, you start with "1 game" followed by component pieces (dice, cards, markers) in brackets. Rule 10.5C deals with other physical details. Material, usually (as in my case), consists of cardboard (game board, cards) and plastic (markers). If it is multicolored (modern board games always are) mention this (col.). In MARC format, this follows subfield b. As for dimensions, Rule 10.5D2 governs. Board games are normally in a container (box), so the cataloger should name the container and give its dimensions as the only dimensions. In MARC records this information would follow subfield c. If there are accompanying materials (e.g. game rules) the usual plus sign, subfield e and short description would apply. A summary (520) note explaining what the game is about would be helpful. Create subject (6XX) and added personal or corporate name (700 or 710) entries as usual. (Again, see examples 1 and 2 which should be illustrative.)
Now, for OCLC cataloging. If you need a workform, type wfmg F10 or F11. Fixed fields are important. "Type" is "r" for three-dimensional non-projected graphic. "Tmat" is g (for game— designed for play according to prescribed rules and intended for recreation or instruction). For "Time" use the default of three hyphens (---). "Tech" is "n"—not a motion picture or video recording. "Audn" is optional; if it is something dealing with legal research or some aspect of the study of law, "f" (for a specialized audience) would be appropriate.
This topic, like any cataloging topic, could be examined in greater detail, but this essay should illustrate that cataloging a three-dimensional article, unusual though it may be for law catalogers, is not a daunting task. Following Rule 10 of AACR2 and the relevant bibliographic rules for your online database will get you there without too much trouble.