Managing cataloging has a place in LIS curricula, but I do not think it
is in the introductory cataloging/organization of information course.
Not all students will be managing cataloging operations, but they
should have a fundamental knowledge of how information is organized,
both generally and in libraries specifically. While some aspects of
production-line cataloging inevitably come up in any discussion of
cataloging, this topic has more to do with management theory than
cataloging theory. I like the idea of treating it fully in a management
course, preferably one focused on technical and access services.
Clarion University of Pennsylvania
Cheryl Boettcher Tarsala wrote:
> I tell my students that cataloging is like shop class where they
>are making a beautiful paper towel holder for their moms as a way to
>learn how to safely use cataloging tools (without accidentally
>sticking a MARC indicator in an eye), but that real life cataloging
>today is more like an industrial process than the craft of previous
>Beyond the things one learns by actually wielding the tools, do you
>think that the industrial aspects of cataloging should have a more
>prominent place in the standard cataloging course? They are certainly
>less amenable to workshop learning and more in the
>managerial/theoretical mode that has been proposed as the proper
>level for master's courses.
>Does anyone think that someone like Arthus Marx would have come out
>of the one cataloging course less overwhelmed if there were more
>emphasis on catalog management or database-level decision-making? Or
>is that the province of an IR or DL or web design course and
>cataloging shouldn't touch it?
>(Note that I am asking this question fully aware of Arlene Taylor's
>comments about the overstuffed cataloging course. I have no idea what
>could be jettisoned to make any new aspect of cataloging fit.)
>Diane Hillman wrote:
>>I think the other important reason for this kind of shift is that
>>increasingly cataloging is not being done by professional
>>librarians, but by staff trained in the mechanics, not the theory.
>>The materials developed by the PCC and others are not necessarily
>>designed just for librarians and don't generally rely on a good
>>theoretical background to be useful--more a "rules and tools"
>>What I see happening is that even well-trained and experienced
>>cataloging professionals are doing less cataloging, and more
>>training, reviewing and management of increasingly complex
>>cataloging operations, where "handmade" cataloging must play well
>>with "industrial" cataloging from vendors and others. The people
>>with the understanding of I and retrieval gradually seem to get
>>involved in project planning, web design, and other activities for
>>which cataloging training is amazingly useful, but it cuts into the
>>portion of their time when they're actually cataloging.
>Cheryl Boettcher Tarsala
>Adjunct Assistant Professor
>LEEP Program, Graduate School of Library and Information Science
>University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
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>The views expressed here are my own and not those of UIUC or GSLIS.