Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Top original cataloger

This bit of news is also courtesy of Gary Price's most useful blog, ResourceShelf: Apparently the Center for Research Libraries, for the second year in a row, has contributed the most original cataloging records to the WorldCat union catalog. Read the announcement. I thought that the Library of Congress would have been #1, but I guess I was wrong!

For those entering library school, you'll soon learn about the great cataloging debates. Many libraries have eliminated cataloging librarian positions, choosing instead to outsource their cataloging to vendors (such as the jobbers they acquire books from), rely on copy cataloging, and/or cede cataloging to paraprofessionals.

I have worked in reference and my next position will be in reference and instruction. However, I admire and depend on the work of catalogers. I try to keep up with the latest cataloging developments. For example, I attended a session on the upcoming AACR3 cataloging standard at the ACRL national conference, and, in a recent paper I wrote for my Technical Services class, I wrote about the acquisition and cataloging of e-books. (See Richard Bothmann's excellent article, "Cataloging Electronic Books.")

Not only do I admire catalogers, I also admire libraries that contribute original cataloging records to biblographic utilities. If libraries continue to cut corners and depend on others for their cataloging records, soon there will be no one actually cataloging anymore! (Well, I suppose other than the vendors...) Cataloging is a professional activities of librarians. Let's continue to keep it a part of our repertoire.

1 comment:

Barbara said...

One of my big wish-lists for cataloging is that we add more subject headings. The old rule-of-thumb was to add no more than could be maintained in a card-catalog environment. (Dinosaur that I am, I filed cards as a student employee. It took a lot of work, and pulling them out when a book was lost was work, too.) But because it's quite a bit of work to capture the book in subject headings, and because we aren't devoting more resources to cataloging, we still stick to minimalist headings. I fear that with keyword searching, it's felt assigning subject headings is a lot of unnecessary work, but that ability to say "I need books that on the whole can help me understand X" and approach that question from multiple directions, is really important.