L. Frank Baum s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz as illustrated by W.W. Denslow and

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1 Charlene McCormack LIS 500- December 1, 2008 The Lifecycle of Information L. Frank Baum s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz as illustrated by W.W. Denslow and originally published by George M. Hill Company 1 serves as an ideal, if complicated, example of the lifecycle of information because of its depth of reproduction and the creation of related works. Starting in the oral tradition, Baum developed the stories he had been telling children for years. 2 When looking for the The Wonderful Wizard of Oz one is likely to find copious numbers of titles of a similar nature without encountering the intended target, all sprouting from the same man s story of a little girl trying to find her way home. In examining The Wonderful Wizard of Oz I will apply the steps of the information lifecycle. The steps within the information lifecycle are; Creation & Dissemination, Gathering the Objects of Creation, Organization of Objects, Seeking & Retrieving Objects, and Using Objects. These steps describe the path that a document or work takes through an information systems 3 such as a library setting. I will also use the Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records (FRBR) model 4 and terminology in this paper to describe this work. Creation & Dissemination- As mentioned before, Baum originally conceived the idea and began spreading the stories of Oz verbally to his children and family friends. This oral story did not yet constitute a work under the definition put forth by FRBR. Then, with the intention to publish, he began to put the stories to paper while Denslow illustrated. The two were later able to find a publisher to print their work. This original work was first published in 1900, 5 but within three years the book was republished with a new title and publisher, 6 which makes tracking or finding the original work difficult. McCormack LIS 500 Page 1

2 Gathering the Objects of Creation- Popular demand for The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, both in purchases for private collections and for libraries, drove sales to over 37,672 copies in fifteen months time 2. Today one would be hard pressed to find a public collection that did not include some manifestation of Baum s original work and many private household also have copies. Organization of Objects- As these public and private collections grew they were organized in order to find items more effectively. Naturally, as the number of expressions and manifestations grow for a popular work like The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, the need increases for organizational definition and clarity. In Washington State s King County Public Library System for instance, patrons can find the same manifestation of Baum s book in both the adult and children s sections. 7 At this stage, metadata such as a call number are often attached to aid in the organization. Also libraries frequently have used basic metadata categories of author, title, publisher, subject and so forth to provide the framework for their information system. Seeking & Retrieving Objects- This step would include storage and retrieval of the item, as well as recommendation by the information specialist. This is the step where we can see obvious flaws in the current way most libraries organize items. Searching for original work, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, is very complicated. Sorting through the various forms it has taken can be overwhelming because of the many related works, expressions and manifestations that have been created over the past 108 years. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz complicates our understanding of the information lifecycle in so many ways: from the changing title, to the original publisher going out of business, and the fact that the intellectual property was no longer protected after 1956 (which means The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is no longer protected by copyright laws and can be republished by anyone). All three of these issues make finding an McCormack LIS 500 Page 2

3 item of the original manifestation very difficult. If, for instance, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz had stayed with the original name rather than switching to The Wizard of Oz and later to The New Wizard of Oz 8 in 1903 and then to L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, we would be able to find an item of the original expression with ease. The fact that the original publishing house had closed little more than two years after the book s release, and then with the copyright no longer enforceable after 1956 the work was republished by many different houses, only served to complicate later queries. These republications included abridgements, reillustrations or even just changes in typeface and style. When searching for the original expression I found the easiest method was to use the full title within quotes and look for a book written by Baum and illustrations by Denslow. In some cases the book had fewer pages than the original manifestation, which further complicate finding an item of the original. An example of the sheer bulk of material can be seen within two library systems, the University of Washington (UW) and King County Library System (KCLS). I started searching within the UW s WorldCat database; I quickly found the number of entries to sift through while looking for the original publication daunting. A simple WorldCat search showed works, without even beginning to examine individual items. I moved to the UW- specific catalogue and found more of the same thing. In looking only at items within the UW Libraries 24 10,11 manifestations were listed with a total of 40 separate items not including items that are available in an online form. I decided to try the KCLS database which had separately listed manifestations. To break down the 17 listed entries into the categories from FRBR there are a total 88 items, encompassing five related works, including two movies, the Oscar award winning The Wizard of Oz and The Wiz. Some of the other related works include an annotated version, an audiobook version and even a later book in the series. Eliminating these related works leaves the original work with seven McCormack LIS 500 Page 3

4 manifestations (all issued by different publishers) with 42 items and one subtly different expression with two items (large print). With Baum s work as an example one might see how as the copyrights lapse on more classic pieces of literature, we will encounter more of these republications trying to appear as accurate manifestations of the original expression, but which in fact are actually related works instead. Using Objects- Beyond reading the book this step also includes understanding, assimilating, citing, and potential for new works to be formed, often reinventing a piece with modern creativity, which we could refer to as a sort of zombification. This was quick to happen to the original story; within two years of the book being published it had been adapted into a musical which played in Chicago and then New York. 1 While The Wonderful Wizard of Oz has never lost popularity, it has been reinvented in this manner in many fashions from musicals to graphic novels to McDonald s Happy Meal toys. One of the exceptional related works, as it is my favorite, is Gregory Maguire s novel Wicked: the Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, a retelling of the Oz story from the Wicked Witch s point of view. This adaptation elaborates on the back-story of Elphaba (the Wicked Witch); origin of her green skin, issues with water and why those ruby slippers were so important to her. None of which are addressed in the original Baum creation. This use of object shows how later works can enrich the original work. The reanimation, or zombification, of Baum s original enriches the mythology of the whole series. Metadata can also be attached at this stage in the form of reviews and awards, such as the academy award received by the related work called The Wizard of Oz. 13 This award constitutes metadata as a tool to assist patrons in locating the live-action movie as opposed to the animated children s remake of the same title. McCormack LIS 500 Page 4

5 Social Context- The social context is an interwoven factor through each of the steps explained above. The social context when The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was published is particularly interesting. There is significant controversy about Baum intending a political meaning behind his seemingly innocuous characters and plot. Entire volumes have been written on that subject alone. The issue we should examine, however, is the effect the social context had on the information lifecycle. Within the social context of when the original work was published evolved a debate about whether or not it was an allegory or metaphor of the political, economic and social events of America of the 1890s. 14 This controversy brought additional attention to the work and helped to sell more copies of the book and increased attendance to the musical productions. When I searched for The Wonderful Wizard of Oz my need for an organizational model like FRBR became painfully clear. The searches of the library catalog have presented me with a wide variety of somehow-related items, and imposing the hierarchy of FRBR allows me to see the relationships within an otherwise undifferentiated mass of items. The library catalogue makes none of these distinctions itself and relies on me, the struggling student with aspirations of someday being a librarian, to make those tenuous connections. With an understanding of FRBR I will be better be able to search and assist others in searching for the needed or desired manifestation, expression or item. McCormack LIS 500 Page 5

6 1 "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 12 Oct 2008, 04:07 UTC. 13 Oct 2008 < 2 Rogers, Karen M.. L. Frank Baum, Creator of Oz. 1st. New York: St. Martin's Press, A. Carlyle, T. Hill, and N. Gershenfeld, "The Information Lifecycle (PDF)." LIS 500: The Information Lifecycle. 07 Oct The ischool. 13 Oct 2008 < 4 Carlyle, Allyson. Understanding FRBR as a Conceptual Model: FRBR and the Bibliographic Universe. Bulletin of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, Sep. 2007: "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 12 Oct 2008, 04:07 UTC. 13 Oct 2008 < 6 Tuerk, Richard C.. Oz in Perspective: Magic and Myth in the L. Frank Baum Books. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Company, "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz." King County Libraries 13 Oct 2008 < 8 Gjovaag, Eric P.. "THE WONDERFUL WIZARD OF OZ." The Wonderful Wizard of Oz Website Oct 2008 < 9 "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz." World Cat 13 Oct 2008 < 10 "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz." University of Washington Libraries 13 Oct 2008 < sults_page>. 11 None of which were the actual work 12 "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz." King County Libraries 13 Oct 2008 < 13 "The Wizard of Oz." The Internet Movie Database. 13 Oct 2008 < 14 "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 12 Oct 2008, 04:07 UTC. 13 Oct 2008 < McCormack LIS 500 Page 6

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