Thanks Diane, this is great - and, I'm going to share it with my advanced cataloging students this term.
Allyson (who is still working on how to approach her advanced cataloging class these days and has to decide by Sunday!!)
From: Discussion List for issues related to cataloging & metadata education & training [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Diane Hillmann
Sent: Friday, January 04, 2013 9:10 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [eduCAT] Seeking input for upcoming ALCTS CAMMS talk
Allyson, et al.:
These are really important issues, and while not really daunted by the variety of opinion, I find myself most in agreement with Buzz's point of view, most likely because my teaching tends to be of the adjunct variety. I have to say that I think the practical stuff is overrated as appropriate content for a graduate level course. Yes, people want to be able to hit the ground running, but IMHO, those folks should be encouraged to work as a copy cataloger for a while or in conjunction with their coursework.
What can't be learned on the job and IS appropriate for teaching at the master's level is 1) how cataloging as practiced both fits in and violates the theories of information organization; 2) how cataloging is changing and MUST change to be useful in the world we live in now; 3) what is metadata and how is it the same/different from cataloging.
The people in programs working towards a master's degree today are very unlikely to be working in a cubicle surrounded by trucks of books and other materials with the job of fitting it all into an already existing catalog based on MARC and the shared cataloging of yesterday. If we train them for those jobs we are doing them a huge disservice, because it is unlikely that those jobs will be done by MLS librarians after the current crop retires.
This is not to question the relevance of knowing about how current cataloging practice evolved, what problems it was designed to solve, and why those problems are no longer relevant--but it doesn't require knowing how to create a catalog record. If you don't think that cataloging experience can be both a help and a hindrance to understanding where our world is going, please take a look at Autocat and some of the other discussion lists packed with catalogers protesting the inexorable changes coming by insisting that the world still needs the kind of cataloging they've been doing for decades.
If you're not convinced of this, take a look at the job ads that come out looking for cataloging and metadata librarians. These are the people who will manage change--and lots of it--in all kinds of libraries for as much of the near future that we can articulate. They will not be closely supervising hordes of professional catalogers, much less copy catalogers.
Professional catalogers who are looking for help in making this leap are everywhere, and frankly, they're not getting the continuing education they need to manage the changes they're already seeing where they work. I see them in conferences and workshops, mostly, and few of them need convincing that they need help. I think it would be great if the library schools were looking more at meeting their needs as well, but so far I've seen little evidence of interest.
I find it discouraging that so many of the justifications I see for continuing to teach the practicalities of cataloging come from students trying as best they can to articulate what they think they need. I'm not sure that was ever enough to build a useful curriculum, and it certainly isn't now. I'm sure I'll make many on this list uncomfortable by saying that in my opinion, most library school (or iSchool, if you prefer) faculty that I've met are not able to adequately prepare their students for these changes because their own learning and experience has not kept up. I'd like to see that change, but nothing I've suggested so far has taken hold.
Time to take a few deep breaths and get back to work ...
"For many years a cataloger, but now a professional troublemaker"