Thanks for your post. The evidence I have to support that assertion is my
own experience (27+ years at a large academic research library) and
anecdotal evidence from colleagues (mostly here and at peer
institutions--large university libraries).
When I began here in 1989 the Cataloging department had ~50 faculty and
staff. Today we're down to ~30. What's more, many of those 30 (myself
included) no longer actively catalog--as academic libraries have been spread
ever thinner by new initiatives, many folks in all departments have been
called upon to do other things (Web work, or managing e-resources, to cite
but two examples).
Declining collections budgets have convinced some administrators that fewer
catalogers are needed. We've lost positions to assessment and other newer
areas as libraries struggle to redefine themselves when the go-to source for
information remains Google and Wikipedia. We'll be losing two positions this
year--one a senior cataloger with an international reputation--and we'll
only be able to rehire one. The unfillable position is an original cataloger
who catalogs materials for our Engineering and Mathematical and Physical
Sciences Libraries--both of which support huge colleges at our university.
In the next 18 months, as a result of a voluntary retirement incentive
program, my library will be hiring almost 3 dozen positions (student
engagement, open education, etc.); only one will be coming to Cataloging.
Ironically, in the Internet age, libraries have more, not fewer, collections
to manage. The need for quality metadata has never been greater. Which
brings me back to my original point: one reason RDA and BIBFRAME will not
enjoy the success or widespread adoption that AACR2 and MARC did is simply
because they are unwieldy.
P.S. I have a close friend who has two children currently attending Hillsdale.
>This has been a highly informative thread for those of us not terribly
well-versed in the BIBFRAME specifics as they currently stand. Thanks for
getting it started, Jeff! I was hoping to see one point of clarification to
your initial post, though, that I haven’t seen yet. Could you cite some of
the evidence that supports your statement that “The most likely allies of
LC in moving BIBFRAME forward--large academic or public libraries with
experienced cataloging staff--are shifting resources AWAY from cataloging
and into other areas (digital humanities, assessment, student engagement,
open access, etc.).”? I would not be surprised if that is the case, but
I’m not sure I’ve seen anything proving it.
Maurine McCourry, Ph.D.
Technical Services Librarian
Hillsdale College, Mossey Library
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