Mr. Marx's comments are indeed disturbing. One cataloging course will not
give birth to a cataloger totally prepared for all of the challenges in our
specialty. There is not enough time in a 14-15 week semester.
I tell my students that if the library was likened to a body, cataloging
would be the brain. The brain is the most complex organ in our bodies.
Developing skills, knowledges, and abilities should be a primary focus in
cataloging courses. Knowledge of theory and concepts are important, but the
crucial aspect is the ability to apply them in the information age. I sense
that Mr. Marx's course of study lacked this essential element.
Robert O. Ellett, Jr., Ph.D.
Joint Forces Staff College
From: Discussion List for issues related to cataloging & metadata education
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: 6/14/06 3:51 PM
Subject: Re: On My Mind (AL, June/July issue)
This article in the latest issue of American Libraries distressed and
upset me. The teaching of cataloging and classification is fundamental
to our profession. I have decided that a formal, written response is
appropriate and necessary. Those of us who really understand the
significant issues we face and the challenges of an insufficient number
of LIS faculty who teach these (and related) courses by choice need to
I have been teaching cataloging courses and conducting research
initiatives focused on the knowledge, skills, and competencies for
catalogers (especially entry-level positions) for several years. After
the ALA Conference in New Orleans I will become the ALCTS Committee for
the Education, Recruitment and Training of Catalogers chair. Please
continue to share your comments and perspectives. The stereotypical
cataloger of Dewey's days is gone -- we have arrived and need to be
Sylvia D. Hall-Ellis, Ph.D.
Library and Information Science Program
University of Denver
2135 E. Wesley Ave., #100
Denver, Colorado 80208-4709
303-871-7881 - voice
303-871-3422 - FAX