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How to Handle Leading Articles in Foreign Language Titles
The English leading articles "the", "a" and "an" are ignored for the purposes of indexing title fields in the Minerva web OPAC. Catalogers cause this to happen by inserting the number of non-filing characters in an indicator position for a MARC field. In the case of the 245 title, the same value must also be inserted in SKIP field of the bib record as well. For example, the title "The Showboat" the 245 would look like this:
245 4The Showboat
But what if the user includes the article in the search? As it happens, the OPAC is set to automatically lop off the 3 English articles, i.e. turning the search argument "The Showboat" into "Showboat"
Foreign Language Articles
Unfortunately, the web OPAC cannot readily be set to ignore foreign articles. The French "Les " could be an article, or it could be the first name of musician "Les Paul" and used as title for a biography. So, catalogers must be careful to correctly code such articles so that users will find what they are looking for.
Treat foreign articles like English articles, inserting non-filing values in the appropriate indicator position and, if the 245 field is involved, also in the SKIP field.
If a non-foreign speaker is likely to look for the title and not recognize that the first word is a leading article, create a 246 alternate title field. For instance, the Victor Hugo class "Les Miserables", or the Broadway show based on it should have:
245 4Les Miserables
This document is updated as required, and in response to user suggestions and questions. If you have comments in this regard, send feedback.
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