This is an old (never-ending) debate - quick and (sometimes) dirty versus
complete and detailed.  Even if you make the cataloguing as complete as
possible, as we do on the Virtual Gramophone site people will complain
- there is too much detail or we didn't check all the sources for whatever
specific detail they are interested in, be it subject headings, session
information, or whatever.  (Those libraries that want to do copy cataloguing
from the Virtual Gramophone can now do so through the LACs main catalogue
AMICUS - this is a step forward.)

My experience tells me that whatever depth of cataloguing you go for it
needs to be consistent. Which means that record collectors do not always
make the best cataloguers - as consistency is not always a strong point.
You need good instructions, good training, and a patient person with a
meticulous streak in them to spot errors and inconsistencies.  Being a
little retentive helps.

The super catalogue  is a dream.  Yes there is lots of data out there in
various computer formats, but there are so many variables in that data,
nothing is really standardized, that bringing it altogether would result in
another series of Rigler Deutsch type complaints.  It should be noted that
Rigler Deutsch does what it was intended to do - provide inexpensive access
to large collections that were previously inaccessible at any level.

NAXOS itself has had a debate about cataloguing levels and is dealing with
complaints about errors, inconsistencies and omissions.   They are even
hiring librarians.  The cycle begins again.

Do the best you can with the resources at hand.

Richard Green
Acting Manager / Gestionnaire intérimaire
Music Section / Section de la musique
Library and Archives Canada / Bibliothèque et Archives Canada
395 rue Wellington St.
Ottawa, ON K1A 0N4
Telephone / Téléphone:  (613) 995-3400
Fax / télécopieur:  (613) 952-2895
E-mail / courriel: [log in to unmask]

-----Original Message-----
From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List
[mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Karl Miller
Sent: Wednesday, August 17, 2005 3:33 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] More on cataloging

On Thu, 11 Aug 2005, Steven C. Barr wrote:

> The question now becomes...will the advance of technology
> inspire an attempt at this ultimate database before the last
> of us silly old fools who actually care about its creation
> go to our final reward?!

While I don't know if you meant that as a serious question or not, I
believe it is a good question.

It is one of those thoughts that make me wonder about the costs of
cataloging versus the use of the material. Perhaps there isn't any
statistical model but I do wonder about the justification of the use of
the present encumbered modalities (ok, not everyone agrees with me on
that) to provide detailed cataloging information for materials of limited
interest...or does detailed cataloging information and ease of
availability increase the use enough to justify (assuming one can make
such a determination) the expense.

I wonder, how many potential researchers are there that would benefit from
the "super catalog" of all pre 1947 recordings...including airchecks, etc.
I don't mean we shouldn't make every effort to preserve...which I believe
should be the priority...but I just wonder how much detail is
appropriate...with Rigler Deutsch being an example of what for me, is a
workable minimum, done at a minimum of expense.

I wonder that if, in the not too distant future, the new cataloging of
the new stuff won't be done by the vendors who distribute, especially
online, not unlike that new deal Naxos has for online distribution.

Thoughts welcome.