From the catalogs of babes

{February 18, 2010}   can a hotel have a biography?

Bib record for "Just Kids" by Patti Smith

Just wondering. Hotels seem like inanimate buildings to me, but what do I know?


Duck says:

Well, I anthropomorphize everything, so yes it can!

Caroline says:

Merriam-Webster thinks so. The third definition describes biography as “an account of the life of something (as an animal, a coin, or a building)”

robin says:

I don’t know the Chelsea personally, but from what I’ve heard from other people it’s a very different sort of hotel. I think that heading would make perfect sense to people like Arthur, who personify the Chelsea and seem to have a personal relationship with it. But it’s still surprising to see it in a cataloging record, where I think “history” would make a bit more sense to librarian-types. So I guess once again it comes down to following the rules vs. serving your patrons. I think people who know the Chelsea would understand the use of “biography” here.

How do you feel about the 651 “New York (N.Y.)–Biography”? That may or may not look unusual to a patron but it’s implicitly a biography of New Yorkers, not of New York.

Tom says:

According to LC Authorities (, “Biography” should be used “as a form subdivision under names of countries, cities, etc., names of individual corporate bodies, uniform titles of sacred works, and under classes of persons, ethnic groups, individual and groups of animals, and historic events for works of collective or individual biography.”

Not under names of individual people then…

“Uniform titles of sacred works” seems especially surprising, but I guess it must be appropriate in the right context.

Ivy says:

Okay, but if I start seeing “Hotels–Autobiography,” we’re gonna have a problem!

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