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EDUCAT  January 2009

EDUCAT January 2009

Subject:

Re: incorporating RDA into a Cataloging and Classification class

From:

David Lesniaski <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Discussion List for issues related to cataloging & metadata education & training <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Sun, 11 Jan 2009 15:37:46 -0600

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I'll second the remark that this is a very valuable discussion and it's
great to have this listserv so we can share ideas.  For what it's worth--



   I do try to cover both the "usual topics" (AACR2, LCSH, DDC/LCC,
authority control, etc. etc.) with at least an introduction to metadata,
FRBR, and RDA.  (My FRBR favorite is Mozart's Don Giovanni.  Great
beginning & ending, lots of history, and many different versions of
score & performance.)  I start "backwards" by doing some work with
Dublin Core, then having students do the same items in a simplified Marc
format, and comparing the two.  This is a great time to start asking
questions about standards--from details like capitalization, spelling
variation, abbrevs.--to somewhat more sophisticated notions (e.g.
difference between creator and contributor, especially for items with
shared responsibility), what happens when 2 different people use similar
but not the same tags or forms of name, and so on.  From there it's
pretty easy to move into AACR2 and controlled vocabulary since the
reasons for content standards and consistency of entry already are
established.  By this time, students also have explored (in groups) a
few different metadata standards, so they also have a notion about
coding standards, and Marc doesn't seem so odd.  I also must admit that
while I spend a fair amount of time showing correct AACR2 descriptive
cataloging, I try to concentrate on the larger notions of
intelligibility and findability, and the bibliographic and intellectual
links between records.  Using the wrong abbreviation is one thing, but
missing an entry or omitting useful x-refs is quite another.  During
these several weeks we have time to reflect on the history behind the
standards and practices.  We do the same with subject headings, and take
a very critical look at LCSH.  Ethics and politics work their way in
here as well.  Finally, we take a look at RDA, and, as the role of RDA
becomes more clear, we'll do more than "take a look."  We do some
intensive searching of different catalogs to see what happens to the bib
record, how well authority control does or doesn't work (and by this
point, they usually know why author, title, subject searches turn out as
they do--and what to do if the results aren't good), and how different
systems (or even the same system) return(s) very different initial
displays depending on the query.  We finish up with a look at metadata
again, and briefly look at some tagging projects (in standard catalogs,
steve.museum, etc.) and some of the cloud displays a few systems have
tacked on.


In addition to the regular homework assignments, there is a final
paper/project in which students can explore pretty much any topic of
their choice related to access, org of knowledge, etc. etc.  I've seen
all sorts of projects--from a very long explanation of the headings for
"back pain" from the medical and lay perspectives, to a neo-Dante
descent into cataloging hell (arranged by DDC).



This semester we'll be using a local installation of KOHA so students
get practice working in a real system and, more importantly, see what
happens when they make changes to bib & authority records, indexes and
display options.



As with many of you, most of the students in the intro course will not
be catalogers, but, by the end of the course, I find they do understand
the need for the various types of standards we teach, what is within
their power to "tweak" for their own catalogs, and the consequences of
so doing, and they have the ability to participate intelligently in
workplace discussions related to cataloging, classification, and the
role of the catalog in the work of the library.  I think they also
understand that cataloging is a complex endeavor that requires
successful interaction among many different "systems"--and, while
current online systems leave a lot to be desired, junking them for some
Google-like search engine, or for machine-generated records with little
or no human intervention, while "workable" in certain circumstances, is
not congruent with the care we still give to other facets of a typical
library (or info repository, or whatever): a collection [set of
resources] selected with care, and interactions with users that also are
undertaken with seriousness of intent.


I'd be happy to post a current syllabus (it's been a while since I've
updated my website)--I'd especially appreciate any feedback you might have.



Oh, this is an  every-other-week course, meeting Friday eves from 5-10.


--David

David Lesniaski

Associate Professor

MLIS Program

College of St. Catherine

2004 Randolph Ave.

St. Paul, MN  55105





-----Discussion List for issues related to cataloging & metadata education
& training <[log in to unmask]> wrote: -----

To: [log in to unmask]
From: "Normore, Lorraine" <[log in to unmask]>
Sent by: Discussion List for issues related to cataloging & metadata
education & training <[log in to unmask]>
Date: 01/09/2009 02:38PM
Subject: [eduCAT] incorporating RDA into a Cataloging and Classification
class

I've been thinking about what my incoming cataloging class needs to be
told about RDA and how to incorporate RDA concepts into the class.  Last
year, I provided some small amounts of information about the history and
background for RDA but didn't try to have them explicitly explore
cataloging issues under RDA (vs. cataloging under AACR2R).  I'm trying
to figure out if I should go further, given the current state of RDA.
I'd very much appreciate finding out what others are doing.



Thanks in advance,



Lorraine Normore

Assistant Professor

School of Information Sciences

University of Tennessee


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