I teach cataloging workshops, rather than a library school course, so
everything I teach has to be very practical. To get around the attendees
having to bring AACR and the MARC manuals to the workshops, I started
developing handouts tying the MARC coding and AACR rules together. This
eventually grew into my book "Cataloging with AACR2 and MARC21", soon to be
out in its 2nd ed. Attendees at my workshops must bring this book as their
required text. After going through the tags+rules with lots of examples to
show them how to find the right rules, the attendees then fill out paper MARC
workforms (of my own design) for the descriptive and access point elements for
2 or 3 practice items (for which I provide photocopies). I am careful to tell
my attendees that they must go to the original sources for the final word on
any issues when they are back at home. My book simply summarizes and pulls
together the main sources (AACR, LCRI, and MARC) to allows them to work
through the thought processes to find the appropriate instructions.

I concentrate on description and access points, leaving subject analysis and
classification for other workshops. It is, as you say, somewhat difficult to
make descriptive cataloging exciting, but I try to show them how the content
and coding both affect how patrons can search and what they can then find out
about the materials we collect. I remind them that many of our patrons are no
longer walking through our doors and going to our shelves but are logging in
from home or doing ILL to find what we have, so our catalog records have to be
detailed and accurate to allow patrons to tell from the computer records
whether we really have what they are seeking. This seems to help the students
to focus on the details rather than complaining that they can't see why we
bother with this or that piece of information. Explaining about the 'whys' of
what we do always seems to help to make the days pass more quickly :-)


[log in to unmask] wrote:

> Educatters
> A couple of questions about class practice items for cataloging and
> metadata assignments:
> In-class practice work can be fun and effective in getting across the
> theory. Brief standards like Dublin Core are fine for this purpose, but
> with AACR2, LSCH, MARC, LCC, DDC, etc. being so cumbersome, it is no longer
> practical for students to work with these tools in a classroom environment,
> especially with large size classes.  Has anyone from the group been
> successful in finding workarounds for this?
> In discussing practice homework assignments, I am noticing that many
> students seem eager for intellectual stimulation in addition to practical
> and professional relevance. Students who plan to be catalogers or who see
> some other direct practical application to the material will have a
> built-in interest, but others will be looking for content which is
> intellectually engaging in its own right. Work involving subject analysis
> is easy to make interesting on both a theoretical and practical level, but
> topics like descriptive cataloging present more of a challenge. Can anyone
> recommend ways of structuring practice work that are particularly effective
> in generating lively discussion on both a practical but a theoretical
> level?
> C. Olivia Frost
> Associate Dean and Professor
> School of Information
> University of Michigan

Deborah Fritz
MARC Database Consultant
The MARC of Quality -->
Voice/Fax: (321) 676-1904