I would lower the number of items to be cataloged and increase
their purposefulness. Say, about six, but either altered or
composites or fabricated to test certain things that you have
emphasized in class. For example, item one would be a very
straightforward description that simply tests whether they can follow
the ISBD model, BUT it might have a complex subject assignment problem
that illustrates the rule of three or applying scope notes for a
particular heading. Another could have straightforward subjects, but
represent CSI problems for a sound recording. Others might test for
distinguishing copyright date/publication date, choice of entry issues.
One of them should be in Spanish with no apologies (and it
shouldn't have any kind of subject heading problem of course except
maybe using a cognate word that they should look up to get the proper
English equivalent). Catalogers must be able to apply the descriptive
rules and appendices in any language. They are the ones you have to
catalog originally yourself, not the English ones!
For my final exercise I do a "find the error" record for a made-
up item, where the students have find and correct 50 problems that I
have hidden in it. This frees them from the burden of filling in a
blank page and puts the emphasis on combing the record for detail.
It's also way easier to grade than records that students make from
I'm with Keith Trickey in thinking that making up titles is a lot
of fun, too. It's not like the real world of cataloging isn't full of
fun and wacky stuff, it's just all on WorldCat now and I don't want to
University of Illinois
Graduate School of Library and Information Science
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"I teach cataloging."