John Byrum asked me to share the results of my informal survey with the
list. The questions I asked were:
1) How many of you have paraprofessional catalogers doing some of
your BIBCO cataloging?
2) If you do have paraprofessionals doing BIBCO cataloging, do you
rely on in-house training for MARC, AACR2, subject analysis, and
classification? Or do you send staff to training sessions provided by
I received answers from 21 BIBCO institutions.
15 (71%) said that they do have paraprofessionals doing BIBCO
cataloging. People often volunteered other details: many people
stressed that the paraprofessionals have many years of experience
and many have advanced degrees. The work that these catalogers
do ranges from contributing to BIBCO records that are subsequently
completed by librarians to doing records for belles lettres to the
doing records for the full range of materials, often focusing on an
area where they have subject or language expertise.
All of these libraries indicated that most or all of the non-BIBCO
training had been done in-house. People took advantage of
outside workshops or brought trainers (for NACO or SACO) in
only occasionally. There was a plea from one respondent for more
PCC sponsored training. I will quote anonymously from that
I DO have an axe to grind and will take this opportunity to do so. We do
need more opportunities for NACO, SACO and BIBCO training. Once your
institution is trained, the assumption seems to be that you are on your own.
It is difficult to arrange training for new catalogers once you have joined.
Creating and doing the kind of intensive training that NACO and BIBCO really
require is quite time consuming and it seems like re-inventing the wheel.
Of the 6 (29%) respondents whose institutions do not have paraprofessionals
contributing to BIBCO, there were several reasons cited. Two respondents
indicated that they were a small shop; two indicated that there were union
considerations; one indicated that the paraprofessionals were in a different
administrative unit; and one expressed the desire to maintain a distinction
between what librarians and paraprofessionals did. One of these respondents
also indicated that the situation was likely to change soon.
Thanks for your interest. If anyone else would like to chime in, I'll add your
response to the survey. I am incorporating the data gained from this survey
into a white paper that Jean Hirons and I are preparing for the upcoming
PCC Policy Committee meeting. The data confirmed what I thought to be
true: that a high percentage of us have paraprofessional catalogers
contributing to our BIBCO cataloging and that most of the training for
these people is currently done in-house.
Chair, PCC Standing Committee on Training