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----- Original Message -----
From: "Peter Hirsch" <[log in to unmask]>
> The response so far to my request last Friday has primarily consisted of
> requests to share whatever I found out, a few interesting accounts of
> ongoing audio cataloging projects and a link from Christine
> Crawford-Oppenheimer (of the ARCHIVES list) to a pair of NYLINK
> workshops at <> that
> have already taken place, but they presumably are likely to be repeated
> in the future. Since I started writing this earlier today, I received
> notice from Lance Watsky (ARSC list) that SOLINET is offering
> "Cataloging Sound Recordings and Scores" this June 14-15 UNC-Charlotte
> In addition, Candace Feldt notified me that next February's MLA
> conference in Memphis will have some Sound Recording cataloging content
> during its MOUG pre-conference, though not a comprehensive course of
> instruction. Tim Hawkins, the archivist at the Naropa Insitute has given
> me a very interesting account of the cataloging process including the
> organization and instruction of manpower that he oversees there. The
> Naropa Institute is heavily committed to digitizing and cataloging its
> audiotape(mostly spoken word)archives and would be worth looking into if
> you are involved in a similar endeavor. Since some of his communications
> contained information not meant for public dissemination, I am not
> pasting them into this message, but he can be contacted at
> <[log in to unmask]> if you are seriously interested in knowing more.
> I am still looking for somewhere that offers the specific package of
> instruction (thorough, limited to sound recordings and including a long
> look at archival material) that I laid out in the message below. I am
> wondering why this is such a scarce commodity. It seems that a majority
> of the seasoned catalogers I have spoken to here (NYPL) and elsewhere
> say that they learned most of what they know on the job and that they
> generally had neither formal course instruction or a written manual
> (aside from guides like AACR, APPM, DACS) for the specialized areas they
> work in. This probably works fine in departments that have experienced
> senior catalogers who can pass along their knowledge to those entering
> the area, but I have heard a number of sad stories involving lone
> catalogers having to more or less start from scratch since their
> predecessor did not leave much in the way of documentation and, in my
> case, I am the first and only overseer of cataloging for a division of
> the library that has a total history of not quite three years.
> Self help via following various links on the web is possible now and may
> be the most practical option I have, other than pestering catalogers
> outside of my own home turf. I use all sorts of online resources and
> print materials for reference to get through the day, but they are
> really not a substitute for being able to get the nuances by studying
> with and asking questions of someone who has "been there and done that".
> If you are reading this posted to MLA-L, you are probably someone who
> has studied an instrument or voice and know the difference between just
> buying the method book and reading it and taking the book with you to
> your lesson. In any case, I'm sure this analogy can be grasped even if
> you have no musical experience in your background.
> I am musing somewhat at length on this in hopes that there are reading
> this will stimulate response from those that have had to get over this
> same hump themselves or anyone who just wants to publicly brainstorm a
> bit more.
> Thanks for reading, and thanks to all that have pitched in so far,
> Peter Hirsch
> Head of Cataloging
> Wilson Processing Project
> The New York Public Library
>  > Dear list colleagues,
>  >
>  > For a number of reasons, I have been looking for a workshop/course
>  > specifically targeted at cataloging of sound recordings that is not
> just a
>  > unit  of a larger general music cataloging course, but I have not had
>  > success in this. A concentration on the area of unpublished archival
>  > recordings would be a considerable plus. I know of a number of sites
>  > are helpful in providing cataloging information and links to other
>  > resources, but I am looking for instruction from an actual live person,
>  > though an online course could be an acceptable facsimile.
>  >
>  > I am cross-posting this to the MLA, ARSC and ARCHIVES lists, so please
>  > forgive the potential duplications in advance.

I replied to Mr. Hirsch's original post off-list; I'll reply to this one
on the list.

The problem with using most library-oriented cataloguing software is the
fact that these programs were designed to catalog primarily books as
well as periodical holdings, and in some cases other paper documents...
and this makes them very much unsuited for cataloguing phonorecords,
particularly commercially-issued phonorecords!

As I recall, I was sent a copy of a MARC file (perhaps with the program
which could open it, though I'm not sure of that). To the best of my
rather dubious memory, MARC seemed to function similarly to an XML
(extended markup language) in which the used could
define the fields used as well as the "tags" which specify and bound
these fields. Apparently, there are some standard fields included,
but these are intended for paper publications, not phonorecords!
The problem is, though, that in most libraries or similar archives,
books and paper documents vastly outnumber phonorecords.

Just as an example...I am trying to create a relational-database
application in MS Access to catalog my shellac holdings. This
consists of (so far) three related tables: RECORDS, SIDES and
TRACKS (as you go down that list, each data record can be related
to any quantity of data records in the table below it, from one
to whatever!). This means that for a typical phonorecord I
have to catalog LABEL (no simple equivalent for a book); CAT_NO
(ditto); COUNTRY (likewise...note that there are Columbia discs
from many countries--there might be a LANGUAGE entry for books,
which is not the same thing); SIZE (not important for books except
in storing them)...all in the RECORDS table. However, a book needs
ISBN_NO (no equivalent for phonorecords); EDITION (ditto, at
least directly); SUBJECT (no clear equivalent for phonorecords).

I could carry this throuth the rest of my tables...but I think
readers will get the idea. Books do NOT have matrix numbers or
control numbers; the do NOT have a need for a relational
connection to the band line-up, the composer of the song(s)
on the phonorecord, or an identifying designation of the
label...and so on.

Even with instantaneous recordings, or those made by the library
for preservation purposes, there are wide differences. With a book,
there is no need to know all of the circumstances under which it
was written (there are exceptions for transcripts of conversations
and the like, of course) or what type of equipment must be used
to access it (usually two eyes, or sensitive fingertips for
braille publications!).

Steven C. Barr