Amanda Sprochi | 14 Oct 20:25 2010
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The Decameron

Not Friday yet, but a Friday sort of question. Why is "Decameron" capitalized in the 245? Everyone does it,
including LC, and I'm wondering why. It's not a proper noun, is it? It's a portmanteau of the Greek ten and
days. Just wondering--I assigned it to my cataloging students and realized *I* didn't know why it was
capitalized. I know there's some autocatter out there who knows the answer!

Thanks, amanda

Amanda Sprochi
Health Sciences Cataloger
University of Missouri-Columbia

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Kathleen Lamantia | 14 Oct 20:31 2010

Re: The Decameron

It is always dangerous to guess at a reply, but my initial thought would be because it is the title of
Bocaccio's work? 

Kathleen F. Lamantia, MLIS
Technical Services Librarian
Stark County District Library
715 Market Avenue North
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330-458-2723
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-----Original Message-----
From: Amanda Sprochi [mailto:sprochia <at> HEALTH.MISSOURI.EDU] 
Sent: Thursday, October 14, 2010 2:25 PM
To: AUTOCAT <at> LISTSERV.SYR.EDU
Subject: [ACAT] The Decameron

Not Friday yet, but a Friday sort of question. Why is "Decameron" capitalized in the 245? Everyone does it,
including LC, and I'm wondering why. It's not a proper noun, is it? It's a portmanteau of the Greek ten and
days. Just wondering--I assigned it to my cataloging students and realized *I* didn't know why it was
capitalized. I know there's some autocatter out there who knows the answer!

Thanks, amanda

Amanda Sprochi
(Continue reading)

Amanda Sprochi | 14 Oct 22:58 2010
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Re: The Decameron

But why is this different than any other title? "The road" by Colmac McCarthy is not "The Road." "The
messenger" by Daniel Silva is not "The Messenger," etc. However, apparently "The Iliad" is "The Iliad"
and "The Odyssey" is "The Odyssey." Or at least according to LC records. So why the discrepancy? I've
reread the salient parts of AACR2 and the LCRIs and can't see any reason for the difference, unless it has
something to do with either translated titles or works before a certain period, and I certainly can't find
a rule on it if that is so. I know my cataloging students are going to ask and I'd like a better answer than,
well, because apparently that's how you do it.
aks

Amanda Sprochi
Health Sciences Cataloger
University of Missouri-Columbia

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Joel Hahn | 14 Oct 23:13 2010

Re: The Decameron

Amanda Sprochi wrote:
> But why is this different than any other title? "The road" by 
> Colmac McCarthy is not "The Road." "The messenger" by Daniel 
> Silva is not "The Messenger," etc. However, apparently "The 
> Iliad" is "The Iliad" and "The Odyssey" is "The Odyssey." Or 
> at least according to LC records. So why the discrepancy? 
> I've reread the salient parts of AACR2 and the LCRIs and 
> can't see any reason for the difference, unless it has 
> something to do with either translated titles or works before 
> a certain period, and I certainly can't find a rule on it if 
> that is so. I know my cataloging students are going to ask 
> and I'd like a better answer than, well, because apparently 
> that's how you do it.
> aks

If this were a work *about* it, one could argue that the original work's
title is just "Decameron" (or "Iliad" or "Odyssey") and thus capitalized
as a proper noun.

Perhaps it's due to some rule in the Chicago Manual of Style (and thus
AACR2R 0.2 and A.12A)?

Perhaps it's cataloger habit left over from the old (AACR1?) rule that
any word after an initial article had to be capitalized?

--

-- 
Joel Hahn
Lead Cataloger
Niles Public Library District
Niles, IL 
(Continue reading)

Sprochi, Amanda K. | 14 Oct 23:16 2010
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Re: The Decameron

Joel:
Yes, I agree. If the book was *about* The Decameron, and the title was Decameron, the capitalization makes
sense, because we capitalize the first word of a title within a title. But it's just a translation of the
original Il Decamerone from the Italian. I have a suspicion it's a holdover, but can't prove it.
aks

Amanda K. Sprochi
Health Sciences Cataloger
106 HSL
1 Hospital Dr.
The University of Missouri
Columbia, MO 65203
(573) 882-0461
sprochia@...

"Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Albert Einstein.

-----Original Message-----
From: Joel Hahn [mailto:jhahn@...] 
Sent: Thursday, October 14, 2010 4:13 PM
To: AUTOCAT; Sprochi, Amanda K.
Subject: RE: The Decameron

Amanda Sprochi wrote:
> But why is this different than any other title? "The road" by 
> Colmac McCarthy is not "The Road." "The messenger" by Daniel 
> Silva is not "The Messenger," etc. However, apparently "The 
> Iliad" is "The Iliad" and "The Odyssey" is "The Odyssey." Or 
> at least according to LC records. So why the discrepancy? 
> I've reread the salient parts of AACR2 and the LCRIs and 
(Continue reading)

Chris Roberts | 15 Oct 03:31 2010
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Re: The Decameron

 I think it becomes a proper noun in the sense that you refer to ''the'
Decameron or 'the' Odyssey (as opposed to 'an' odyssey) and the unspoken
understanding is you are referring to the original work of that title.
There may possibly be another decameron work (I don't know and haven't
got time to check right now) but if you talk about the Decameron, the
understanding is you are referring to the Boccaccio title. (The Iliad is
a bit different because it refers to a place name, Ilium, another name
for Troy.)

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-----Original Message-----
From: AUTOCAT [mailto:AUTOCAT@...] On Behalf Of Joel Hahn
Sent: Friday, 15 October 2010 10:13 a.m.
To: AUTOCAT@...
(Continue reading)

Brent Eckert | 15 Oct 21:52 2010

Re: The Decameron

I agree that Decameron apparently is considered a proper noun.  There
are some records in OCLC (mostly older ones) that don't capitalize the
word though. (So, apparently there's not universal agreement.) Some
editions have the title: "The Decameron, or, the ten days
entertainment..." but I didn't find any records in OCLC for English
translations that had only the translated title of "The ten days" or
"The ten days entertainment."  The fact that the word Decameron isn't
translated provides evidence, I think, that it is considered a proper
noun.  I would say that the Decameron refers to the specific ten day
event described in the book (in addition to the work by Boccaccio).

Brent Eckert
Technical Services Librarian
Rock Valley College
3301 N. Mulford Rd.
Rockford, IL 61114
voice (815) 921-4604
fax (815) 921-4609

-----Original Message-----
Chris Roberts wrote:

 I think it becomes a proper noun in the sense that you refer to ''the'
Decameron or 'the' Odyssey (as opposed to 'an' odyssey) and the unspoken
understanding is you are referring to the original work of that title.
There may possibly be another decameron work (I don't know and haven't
got time to check right now) but if you talk about the Decameron, the
understanding is you are referring to the Boccaccio title. (The Iliad is
a bit different because it refers to a place name, Ilium, another name
for Troy.)
(Continue reading)

Christopher Cook | 14 Oct 23:42 2010
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Re: The Decameron

Sent from my iPhone.

On Oct 14, 2010, at 4:58 PM, Amanda Sprochi
<sprochia@...> wrote:

> But why is this different than any other title? "The road" by Colmac McCarthy is not "The Road." "The
messenger" by Daniel Silva is not "The Messenger," etc. However, apparently "The Iliad" is "The Iliad"
and "The Odyssey" is "The Odyssey." Or at least according to LC records. So why the discrepancy? I've
reread the salient parts of AACR2 and the LCRIs and can't see any reason for the difference, unless it has
something to do with either translated titles or works before a certain period, and I certainly can't find
a rule on it if that is so. I know my cataloging students are going to ask and I'd like a better answer than,
well, because apparently that's how you do it.
> aks
> 
> Amanda Sprochi
> Health Sciences Cataloger
> University of Missouri-Columbia
> 
> --
> ***********************************************************************
> 
> AUTOCAT quoting guide: http://www.cwu.edu/~dcc/Autocat/copyright.html
> E-mail AUTOCAT listowners:             autocat-request@...
> Search AUTOCAT archives:  http://listserv.syr.edu/archives/autocat.html
>  By posting messages to AUTOCAT, the author does not cede copyright
> 
> ***********************************************************************

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(Continue reading)

Christopher Cook | 14 Oct 23:54 2010
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Re: The Decameron

I apologize for my previous blank message. I believe this is an issue of proper nouns. If you had a book called
"The odyssey to places unknown" for example, the word is lowercase because it is not a proper noun in this instance.

Christopher D. Cook

On Oct 14, 2010, at 4:58 PM, Amanda Sprochi
<sprochia@...> wrote:

> But why is this different than any other title? "The road" by Colmac McCarthy is not "The Road." "The
messenger" by Daniel Silva is not "The Messenger," etc. However, apparently "The Iliad" is "The Iliad"
and "The Odyssey" is "The Odyssey." Or at least according to LC records. So why the discrepancy? I've
reread the salient parts of AACR2 and the LCRIs and can't see any reason for the difference, unless it has
something to do with either translated titles or works before a certain period, and I certainly can't find
a rule on it if that is so. I know my cataloging students are going to ask and I'd like a better answer than,
well, because apparently that's how you do it.
> aks
> 
> Amanda Sprochi
> Health Sciences Cataloger
> University of Missouri-Columbia
> 
> --
> 
> 
> 

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AUTOCAT quoting guide: http://www.cwu.edu/~dcc/Autocat/copyright.html
(Continue reading)

Sprochi, Amanda K. | 14 Oct 23:59 2010
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Re: The Decameron

I kinda thought that, but I'm wondering why, for example, the "Odyssey" in Homer's "The Odyssey" is
considered a proper noun--people have certainly had more than one trip that could be considered an
"odyssey" in human history. I'd feel weird talking about my trip to Mongolia as "My Mongolian Odyssey" in
capital letters (although it certainly was!) Decameron means ten days, literally. So in English, The ten
days. That seems more correct than The Ten Days. And then the question becomes, how do you decide something
like that IS a proper noun? Convention? 
aks

Amanda K. Sprochi
Health Sciences Cataloger
106 HSL
1 Hospital Dr.
The University of Missouri
Columbia, MO 65203
(573) 882-0461
sprochia@...

"Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Albert Einstein.

-----Original Message-----
From: Christopher Cook [mailto:cdcook2@...] 
Sent: Thursday, October 14, 2010 4:54 PM
To: AUTOCAT; Sprochi, Amanda K.
Cc: AUTOCAT@...
Subject: Re: [ACAT] The Decameron

I apologize for my previous blank message. I believe this is an issue of proper nouns. If you had a book called
"The odyssey to places unknown" for example, the word is lowercase because it is not a proper noun in this instance.

Christopher D. Cook
(Continue reading)

Joel Hahn | 15 Oct 00:10 2010

Re: The Decameron

Sprochi, Amanda K. wrote:
> I kinda thought that, but I'm wondering why, for example, the 
> "Odyssey" in Homer's "The Odyssey" is considered a proper 
> noun--people have certainly had more than one trip that could 
> be considered an "odyssey" in human history. I'd feel weird 
> talking about my trip to Mongolia as "My Mongolian Odyssey" 

After doing some more digging, I've found no *hard* evidence, but it
appears that these are indeed cases of proper nouns.  "Iliad" &
"Odyssey" sans initial articles are apparently considered to be the
actual proper titles, to the point where some style manuals specifically
instruct that any preceding the's are not capitalized if those two
titles occur in the middle of a sentence. (e.g.
<http://pods.binghamton.edu/~clas381a/writing_content.htm> )

For Decameron, the original English title appears to have been "The
Decameron of Boccacio", and even the original Italian title appears to
have been "Il Decameron di messir Giovanni Boccacci", so it would seem
to fall into a similar case-- the proper noun form would appear to be
just "Decameron" with anything else being window dressing that refers to
it.  (Aside: Even Wikipedia capitalizes it as "the Decameron" rather
than "The Decameron" when in the middle of a sentence.)

--

-- 
Joel Hahn
Lead Cataloger
Niles Public Library District
Niles, IL 

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(Continue reading)


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