OK, that title is a joke, just a phrase for the sake of rhyming, but it had some truth to it today. I had some textbooks to catalog that our IT instructor thought would be good to have in the library. We're trying to provide opportunities for students to learn about different versions of operating systems and software, including older versions, so that they're prepared for whatever opportunities might come their way. That's a good idea, of course, and we have had students come in sometimes looking for materials to meet just that purpose. But IT books, especially those for certification tests, tend to have many iterations. There's the textbook, the lab manual, the CD-ROMs, and then various exam numbers for each. I had three books, all of which had a differently-worded title on the cover than on the title page. I found records for two of them, but even though the ISBNs matched, one of the authors did not. There were two main authors, and then a long list of authors listed as a "team" on the cover. The catalog records were both strange, with the first author listed in the 100 field, and the 2nd author and a 3rd wrong author as added entries. But the description gave only the first author and et al. So I made a weird compromise and listed the 1st author, the 2nd, and the "team" in the description.
Two of the books had almost identical titles (and authors, publisher, and copyright date), yet the content wasn't the same. Of course the ISBNs were different, and I knew they were different books, but I spent the longest time staring at them, trying to figure out why they weren't the same, and where the differences were. I wanted to have the same subject headings (where applicable) on all three, and have the series listed, and put the cover title in the 246 field. Eventually I had to print out all three records that I had done, line them up, and make sure that I had been consistent in them. I have to say that I learned a lot in the cataloging I did, and also that I'm proud of how hard I worked to be sure they're correct. But much of the time, I was wondering -- Will anyone even read these books? The analogy of moving rocks from one pile to another in the gulag flitted through my mind more than once. I think most of that was my tiredness. Overall, I enjoyed the challenge.