Friday, July 28, 2006

Changes at the Library of Congress

Controversy related to proposed changes by the Library of Congress has been simmering in the academic library community for months. The controversy is now breaking into more general academic news sources. Today's article in Inside Higher Ed does a good job summarizing the issues without overwhelming readers with complicated jargon. One of the major sticking points is that "catalog records for new books will no longer indicate if they belong to a series." Anyone who has done any amount of serious library research would realize what a devastasting problem that would be. While I agree that changes are certainly needed to enable the library world to respond faster to a rapidly changing information environment, LOC's unilateral approach violates one of the field's most sacred values, collaboration. Arguably, their changes, while an attempt to increase access to library materials by making them available sooner through various streamlined processes, paradoxically hinders access, which is another library value. It will be interesting to see what the response will be from disciplines in the humanities, which especially depend on traditional print library resources.

1 comment:

Alec said...

A cataloger's reply to Thomas Mann: