Friday, May 21, 2010

Cataloging Tattoos using different schema: Bibliographic Description

This is a work in progress: check back for updates.

I'm going to try 3 schemas: AACR2 with MARC21, RDA/FRBR, CCO/VRA and CDWA.
Let's start with a bibliographic description.  I know, it's not a book.

Title and Statement of Responsibility: We're going to use a descriptive phrase instead of the 'title' of the tattooed image.  I'll use my own tattoo(s) as examples.

  • [Navaho sun symbol] [realia] / Suzanne M. DeGrasse

I tattooed it myself so the subject and s.o.r. are the same.  Let's pretend I didn't.

  • [Navaho sun symbol] [realia] / Dude Withaneedle.

Edition Statement: Well, sometimes people have work re-done/re-inked, or altered.  This particular one started out as a dot and underwent many revisions.  So I'd estimate this as edition 6.  "They" say you don't need edition statements with realia but I think it's useful with this, don't you?

  • 6th ed

Material specific details:  This 'edition' was finalized in (approx.) 1988.  It is 10 cm by 10 cm. The medium is skin.  Human skin.  The ink I used was black calligraphy ink.  The implement was a sewing needle.  

  • 1988 (Rochester, NY: Dude's Tattoo Blunderland)
  • Black Calligraphy ink on human skin
  • Hmmm. I'm not sure if I need to put the method (needle) in here or the size or wait until the physical description.  

Publication, Distribution: nope.
Physical Description: 

  • 10 mm x 10 mm
  • image is of one central dot surrounded by a circle.  8 2 to 3 mm lines extend out from the circle in each compass direction: N,S, E, W, NW, SW, NE, SE
  • image is oriented so that it can be viewed from any angle
  • located on inner left ankle directly on top of ankle joint (yeah, oww)
  • black ink inserted subcutaneously with a 5 cm sewing needle
It might be nice if someone drew me a picture of what I described so I can see if I did it accurately.  You can use Word and just attach or email it.  If anyone (ANYONE) does I will then take a photo and we can see the similarities to the real thing!

Notes: Ahh, notes. The sad little realm of the MARC21 realia cataloger.  Oh 500, how we love you. Here we cram the important stuff like:
  • Dude Withaneedle (1969-)
  • Suzanne M DeGrasse (1970-)
  • Original design was a simple dot.  Further renderings included a larger dot; a dot with a circle around it; an eyeball; and a compass rose.  When subject saw the Navaho sand carvings in Albuqueque NM in 1997 she recognized her design as that of a Navaho sun symbol.
What else might we put in here?  

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

How To Catalog a Tattoo

Some questions to ask:

1. Is it still on the person?
2. Is the person still alive?
3. Is it the design, the placement, the method, the tattooer or the person-as-canvas that we are cataloging?
4. How many points of access do we want before it gets too confusing?

Japanese tattooed men have been known to donate their skin-as-canvas after their death to museums: I'm going to see how they are cataloged there. 
 Probably as works of art.
I looked on WorldCat and found two cataloged tattoos, as well as a record for probably a temporary tattoo:

Trivialliteratur and Ephemera

A German genre, so to speak, of literature, also so to speak.  from
Trivialliteratur, term for long loosely applied to light literature appealing to popular taste. Since the 1960s a number of theories have suggested a more constructive use, the major trend being its dissociation from aesthetically subjective approaches (see Kitsch) and its integration into the historical assessment of literary periods, e.g. their changing communication structures and value judgements (H. Kreuzer and J. Schulte-Sasse). (See also Rezeptionsästhetik.) Historical examples include, for example, the Ritter- und Räuberroman. The terms Trivialfilm and Triviallied have the same romantic and escapist connotations.
Trivialfilm=chick flicks? monster movies?
Trivilalied=Pop music?
Trivialding? (ding is German for 'thing', if we're going to stay in a Teutonic vein)