I'm one of those MLS-only cataloging instructors working as adjunct faculty
at the School of Library and Information Studies at the U of Alabama. Before
I came on two semesters ago, there had been no cataloging teacher at SLIS
for nine years, according to the full-time faculty member assigned to
instruct me in online software, etc.
I've been a cataloger for almost thirty years now. If someone had asked me
about the theoretical underpinnings of cataloging fifteen years ago
(metadata, etc.), I would not have known what they were talking about. I've
since then educated myself, but I can't say that learning the theory has
enhanced my cataloging. It has enhanced my understanding of what's on the
horizon, i.e. RDA.
Reactions to my class are mixed. Those who want theory don't get enough; I
spend the first and second weeks of the once-a-week-for-three-hours course
discussing theory, and then I delve right into what I'm dating myself by
calling the nitty-gritty. I barely have enough time in a semester to go over
descriptive cataloging, subject analysis, classification and then books,
serials, sound recordings, videos/DVDs and web pages. (I usually don't have
time to say anything about maps.) But some of the students have remarked
that I'm the only instructor they had during their library school tenure who
actually does what he teaches on a daily basis, and they appreciate that.
If I could get a Ph. D., I think I would like doing so, and I have no doubt
it would make me a better instructor. But in the world-of -today library
schools, where cataloging is no longer a required course and it appears
there are not enough willing instructors, I think I'm better than nothing.
100 NW Quad
Davis CA 95616-5292
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