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EDUCAT  December 2009

EDUCAT December 2009

Subject:

Re: PhDs for cataloging instructors, or not?

From:

Suzanne Stauffer <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

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

Date:

Wed, 9 Dec 2009 07:44:12 -0600

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"I suppose my major concern is about the relevance of the subject of the Ph D to teaching cataloguing. How many mainstream research topics - builit round the major tools used in cataloguing are there?"
 
And there's the rub for those just wanting to teach in a professional program. The Ph.D. is not a subject degree. It is a Doctorate of Philosophy, not a Doctorate of [insert subject name here]. It is a doctorate in examining and exploring and questioning and knowledge-creation in any area. All (or the vast majority) universities in the U.S. require an outside member on the dissertation committee, to bring in specific subject knowledge, but primarily to provide a different research perspective. At LSU, we have what are known as "Dean's representatives" to doctoral committees. These are faculty from outside the discipline who are charged to ensure that the process is legitimate, and that the research is sound. I've sat on committees in education, history, and organizational behavior. 
 
Research topics in the area of cataloging are not limited to specific cataloging tools. Research in cataloging looks at the principles and concepts that underly cataloging tools. A current, important area is cultural and social biases -- I am thinking of the work of Hope Olson. I am especially interested in the cognitive aspects of classification and categorization. FRBR, of course, is the result of research in cataloging -- the functional requirements of bibliographic records is not a cataloging tool; it is a conceptual view of the bibliographic universe. A question which arises out of FRBR is whether that view really reflects the view of the average public library patron, especially in regard to "expression." In fact, some question whether "expression" really represents anything, or if Work, Manifestation, and Item are enough.
 
I absolutely agree that quality cataloging is the key to knowledge discovery. From that, I derive such research questions as What defines "quality cataloging?" "What is "knowledge?"  How is it related to "data" and "information?" What is the process of "knowledge discovery?" What are the characteristics of those who are engaged in "knowledge discovery?"  Is there a single model of knowledge, or does that model vary with subject area/academic discipline? Are there different models of knowledge and knowledge-seeking among academic knowledge seekers, professional knowledge seekers, every-day knowledge seekers? That is, do I conceive of and look for knowledge differently when I am working on a research project than I do when I am looking for a recipe for dinner tonight? And if so, how does that relate to quality cataloging? Are there different models of cataloging? Different models of the bibliographic universe?
 
Ultimately, the answer to these questions will affect the structure of cataloging tools, which will affect education and training in cataloging, but none of them has a direct effect.  
 
Suzanne M. Stauffer, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
School of Library and Information Science
Louisiana State University
275 Coates Hall
Baton Rouge, LA 70803
(225)578-1461
Fax: (225)578-4581
[log in to unmask]

________________________________

From: Discussion List for issues related to cataloging & metadata education & training on behalf of Trickey, Keith
Sent: Wed 12/9/2009 2:15 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [eduCAT] PhDs for cataloging instructors, or not?



Just a thought
As one of the few remaining teachers of a core cataloguing module in a UK postgraduate LIS degrees. i would make a few comments:
I have been teaching cataloguing for over 20 years
I have  an MA
I spend more time delivering cataloguing training to professional groups than delivering cataloguing as a part of th ecurriculum (as a result of this I changed from full time to part time staff at the university)
My teaching has evoloved in response to the changes in the training requirements and information gathered from training particpants
I have been a part time Ph D student for too many years - research time being squeezed by the day job and now having no allowance  and more teaching

I suppose my major concern is about the relevance of the subject of the Ph D to teaching cataloguing. How many mainstream research topics - builit round the major tools used in cataloguing are there?

Quality cataloguing is the key to knowledge discovery - which as a sudent of 19th century American cataloging  practice - was seen as a key concern in a democratic socieity - and for me that is still the case.

Best wishes

Keith

Keith V. Trickey
Senior Lecturer
Liverpool Business School
Liverpool John Moores University

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