On Tue, 6 Apr 2004, Mike Richter wrote:
> 2. Librarians have many functions. Some of them are no doubt decreasing,
> but others such as cataloguing are increasing. As the mass of information
> grows, the need for effective indexing and cross-indexing grows - and those
> operations are required whether the data are in physical or digital form.
Reflecting on the situation at our University, this year will be the first
time in ten years a vacancy in our cataloging department will be filled.
I wonder what you information you have to indicate an increase in the
amount of material being cataloged. I wonder if OCLC and/or RLIN have
statistics on this.
I can only speculate that perhaps some of the decline in the cataloging
staff here at our institution is a reflection of the decline in
acquisitions. With 18 years as a bibliographer (1983-2001), I watched the
purchasing power (cost of item versus budget) of my allocation decline
about 70%. Some of those years were the "boom" years in the record
industry. As many will recall, the advent of the CD brought a substantial
increase in the number of new issues coupled with a substantive increase
in the per item cost.
As for cataloging digital information...I am not quite sure I
understand what you mean.
Some years ago we had a project to add WEB sites to our online catalog.
Needless to say, we all know the transitory nature of such things. As I
recall an automated system would regularly check on availability of those
web sites, however, I don't know if it really checked up on the content of them.
These days, it would seem like a waste of time for a library to catalog
WEB sites since google et al do it better.
Thinking about libraries...
I am reminded of something Leonard Bernstein wrote in an article in the
New York Times. The title of the article was "The Symphony is Dead," a
paraphrase of a notion being promulgated at the time, "God is Dead." He
suggested that Symphony orchestras were rapidly becoming museums. Perhaps
it depends on how one defines libraries, but it would seem that could be
said about them as well.
Sorry for rambling, but I guess I am just trying to get a sense of some
of more general issues that effect what those of us in preservation do.
Hopefully my note will inspire some of you on the list to share your