As Nina said, here at Rutgers we do encourage understanding of the
theoretical foundations and principles of information organization. Our
Organizing Information course covers a broad range of organization systems.
It is also one of our lead courses. We both try to give the students and
integrated view of IO, not only as it relates to cataloging and indexing,
but how it relates to information retrieval and database design as well.
I also teach a Cat. & Class course that combines the theoretical and the
practical, but I do emphasize the theoretical. In class we talk about
primarily the theories, principles and issues (with great discussions about
they apply to real life. The assignments are hands-on work with OCLC,
Catalogers' Desktop and Classification Web and the students have a pretty
good idea about the tools (paper & digital) and resources necessary to do
the job. Things are changing so rapidly in our field (e.g., RDA, FRBR,
metadata, XML, METS, etc) that I think we are doing our students a
disservice if we teach C & C like a workshop and focus primarily on the
"doing" in class.
Dr. Sherry L. Vellucci
School of Communication, Information and Library Studies
4 Huntington Street
New Brunswick, NJ 08901
732-932-7500 ext. 8232
[log in to unmask]
From: Discussion List for issues related to cataloging & metadata education
& training [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Nina Wacholder
Sent: Wednesday, June 14, 2006 10:48 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: On My Mind (AL, June/July issue)
At Rutgers we take the view that for students who do not intend to be
cataloguers, it is most important to understand the concepts behind
organization of information (e.g., vocabulary control, human vs.
exhaustivity and specificity, metadata standards, evaluation, ...). If
students concentrate on learning the fine details of a classification
system (understanding the fine details of a particular record format or
punctuation), they tend not to obtain this higher level understanding.
Qualified professionals should appreciate the importance of such
details and be able to learn specific classifcation schemes fairly quickly.
Rutgers University SCILS
Jim Alberts wrote:
> I haven't read the article, but given that our only required
> "information organization" course (in 1999) barely touched on the
> basics of practical cataloging (one half of one semester devoted to
> the theory behind descriptive cataloging with some training in ISBD)
> and a mention of the authority file, someone could have easily
> graduated and not known (or more likely, eagerly forgotten) what AACR
> stood for, what the authority file was, what OCLC was, etc., etc. We
> had an "advanced cataloging" elective class which was very good, but
> almost everyone who took it was already working as a cataloger.
> So yes, in my experience, it would be very easy to graduate library
> school with no practical cataloging knowledge; most of my classmates
> did just that (and an "I don't know and I don't wanna know" attitude
> towards bibliographic control was very common).
> Jim Alberts
> Asst. Music Librarian
> Cornell University
> Ithaca, NY
> At 01:23 AM 6/14/2006, you wrote:
>> Has anyone else read the "On My Mind" piece by Arthur Marx in this
>> month's American Libraries? In it, he speaks of his experience
>> learning cataloging on the job where he is the only cataloger. He's
>> certainly not the first MLS graduate to find himself unexpectedly
>> hired as a cataloger, but it's kind of surprising he was hired in a
>> world of job ads that demand "two years experience."
>> Do you think his lack of cataloging knowledge coming out of a basic
>> cataloging course is only to be expected? Are our across-the-board
>> average outcomes this low so that a student passing a basic
>> cataloging course doesn't really have the punctuation down, or
>> understand an authority record?
>> Cheryl Boettcher Tarsala
>> Adjunct Assistant Professor
>> LEEP Program, Graduate School of Library and Information Science
>> University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
>> [log in to unmask]
>> [log in to unmask]
>> The views expressed here are my own and not those of UIUC or GSLIS.