Cheat Sheets

Graphic Novels


Graphic Novel Cheat Sheet

William T. Fee

10 November 2011

Okay, let's deal with staff knowledge first. I'll get the library sin
out of the way first, and just state that Wikipedia is your friend.
The folks who deal in comic book entries know their stuff, and comics
aren't known for the types of arguments that lead to bad info being
posted to support a point of view. For example, check the Justice
League of America entry. If you check section 5: Collected editions,
you'll note that it tells you in what order the reprints are numbered,
and what issues are reproduced


Now, as for the information in the item itself. Most have a credits
page, which gives the roles of most everyone involved and their names,
down to the mail guy. It's usually the t.p. verso and possibly
following page or pages. Also on that page is a tiny block of 6 point
text, the indicia. This also gives information on the original issues,
when they were produced, the title at the time, publisher name at the
time, and publisher addresses at the time of original publication.
Some volumes don't have this, but they're a special case you probably
won't run into often (the Big 2, Marvel and DC, almost always include
these pages).

Stuff your patrons will need/fewest changes possible:

Point one: remember that you can make any changes you want in your
local catalog if they help you patrons find the items they need.

hat said, comic book/manga fans such as m'self will likely look for
particular writers, artists (including cover artists) and
characters/teams. Manga, from the few titles I have read, are more
likely to have a single human who writes and draws. If you are
cataloging with the item beside you it is usually pretty easy to tell
if an item is manga or not- the style is quite distinctive. I am not,
however, convinced that noting this in the record is useful to a
patron unless they are shelved separately. Most manga fans will
probably not do a vague search for all manga, but will instead look
for a title, character or creator (just an assumption- I could be
wrong, but I'm basing this on the Euro-American comic book fan).

So, who should you note? Main writer/scripter/plotter in the 100 (or
700 if main entry for a serial bothers you or is too much work), i.e.
who wrote most of the stories in the volume. Main artist/volume cover
artist in the 700s. This info is available on the credits page. I
would also add series editor and editor-in-chief, both of whom affect
the flavor of the work, but it's not really necessary.

In the 600s/650s, note the main characters or team (in RDA
persons/teams change to 600/610 respectively, but there's still some
debate on this point ;-), with the $v comic books, strips, etc. Manga
would also be appropriate, in your local system (for example, the
manga Wolverine title that was recently done).

The 655 of "graphic novel" drives me nuts, but I'm sure that's my
personal OCD. I would instead use either of the $v headings from the
6xx. That is, however, a local decision. I would use only the LC/gsafd
headings, unless you want the children's headings for a juvenile
specific collection. [655 4 $aManga is a possiblilty. Mac]

n the subject of records, my suggestion would be to download both the
serial record (on which you can hang your holdings) and the individual
volume monograph record. Due to differences in how libraries catalog
these items, you can usually find both in OCLC. Doing it this way
allows a patron to see that you have Justice League of America volumes
1-6, but also allows them to both find the individual volume if that
what they are looking for, and to see information (such as characters)
specific to the volume. They can be linked, locally , through a
490/830 (individual volume)/776 (serial) pairing. 776 will fill itself
on OCLC with a right-click insert from cited and an OCLC # for the
individual volume.

Classification at the serial record level allows easy collocation.
Instead of having 6 GYAF XMEN ULTIMATE, with differentiation in the
order they arrived, you can use GYAF XMEN ULTIMATE v.1-6. Again, this
information is easily available through the indicia, Amazon and

This sounds like it would take forever, but it actually will save time
in the end, and requires only knowledge of where to look, rather than
knowledge of comics and manga as a form. Here's the breakdown:

Serial/volume records from OCLC
Add 100/700s for main Writer/Artist/Cover artist
add 650 for character/team locally
Classify at serial level for collocation
Shelve and allow patrons to enjoy.

William T. Fee
Digital Collections & Authority Control Librarian
Graphical Materials Librarian
State Library of Pennsylvania