To end the year – the top five

December 21st, 2005 by Jim

My colleagues, Bruce Washburn and Joe Zeeman, just produced a ranked list of the books in the RLG Union Catalog and shared the top five titles. They are:

1. Dante Alighieri. The divine comedy: The inferno, The purgatorio, and The paradiso. New York: New American Library, 2003.
2. Cervantes Saavedra, Miguel de. Don Quixote. London: Secker & Warburg, 2004.
3. Wagner, Richard. The twilight of the gods. Opera in English. Colchester, Essex, England: Chandos, n.d.
4. Shakespeare, William. William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. A Longman cultural edition. New York: Longman, 2004.
5. Church of England. The Book of Common Prayer with musical notes: the first office book of the Reformation. 2d ed., rev. and corr. [London]: Novello, Ewer and co., n.d.

We’ve already begun to speculate about why these turn up as the top five most widely-held – as Joe says it might be a tribute to the power of the Uniform Title concept. Perhaps you’d like to speculate.

Here’s a new year greeting from all of us at RLG.

P.S. In case you want to compare this list with the top five in that other big union catalog – OCLC Top 1000

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2 Responses to “To end the year – the top five”

  1. Lorcan Dempsey Says:

    Jim, you have used that word ‘book’ which covers a multitude ..

    In FRBR terms, the OCLC list is a list of ‘works’. We applied our FRBR algorithm to cluster ‘manifestations’ into works.

    If we had not done this, we would have had a list of ‘manifestations’ (in FRBR terms). This would have been rather a different list.

    Curious to know what the ‘entity’ is here that underlies the ranking.

    (And acknowledging the lack of clear boundaries between the FRBR entities.)

  2. Jim Says:

    Lorcan, I did indeed use that word. Sloppy given the folks who are likely to read the posts here.

    The analysis came from the RedLightGreen database which only includes bibliographic records for ‘books’. The RedLightGreen database collapses FRBR’s four levels into just two, displaying a work and various manifestations of that work. So it’s a ranked list of ‘works’.

    Thanks for noticing.