Whoa!!  An Organization of Information course is hardly "watered down"!! 
It covers a great many very difficult concepts and many ways of organizing 
information.  Whether it teaches "how to catalog at all" depends upon the 
instructor, of course.  My students are required to create an original 
record in ISBD/AACR2 format and to enter that record into an OCLC 
workform.  They also must perform authority control for the names in that 
record.  One record does not a cataloger make, however, and the course 
must move on to the remaining concepts to be covered.

In order to survive in todays academic environment Schools of Library and 
Information Science must prepare students for a number of different 
specialties in a number of different settings in addition to libraries. 
At least this is true in the larger research institutions.  In all the 
settings being prepared for, however, there will be some kind of 
requirement to organize information.  Thus, a required course in 
organizing information is needed.  And basing that course upon the 
principles of organization developed in libraries, the place that has 
organized information for the longest time, is of benefit to everyone.

There is not time in a 1-year program to teach all that is needed to 
prepare today's students.  This was true even 28 years ago when I wrote:
"The Two-Year Master's: Perspectives and Prospects." Journal of Education 
for Librarianship (Spring 1978): 324-335, in which I named many reasons 
why we could not teach "how to catalog" even then, before the need to also 
teach metadata, ontologies, taxonomies, etc.

It is depressing that I have been trying to get these points across for 30 
years without success.


On Wed, 14 Jun 2006, Julie Su wrote:

> I absolutely agree with everyone, that the one basic course has been watered 
> down to a general organization of information which hardly teach how to 
> catalog at all.  In fact, a curriculum that aims to train students to catalog 
> is usually viewed as unfavorable, untrendy, and suitable for graduate level 
> course by the library school administration,
> Julie
> At 07:16 AM 6/14/2006, Jim Alberts wrote:
>> I haven't read the article, but given that our only required "information 
>> organization" course (in 1999) barely touched on the basics of practical 
>> cataloging (one half of one semester devoted to the theory behind 
>> descriptive cataloging with some training in ISBD) and a mention of the 
>> authority file, someone could have easily graduated and not known (or more 
>> likely, eagerly forgotten) what AACR stood for, what the authority file 
>> was, what OCLC was, etc., etc.  We had an "advanced cataloging" elective 
>> class which was very good, but almost everyone who took it was already 
>> working as a cataloger.
>> So yes, in my experience, it would be very easy to graduate library school 
>> with no practical cataloging knowledge; most of my classmates did just that 
>> (and an "I don't know and I don't wanna know" attitude towards 
>> bibliographic control was very common).
>> Best,
>> Jim Alberts
>> Asst. Music Librarian
>> Cornell University
>> Ithaca, NY
>> At 01:23 AM 6/14/2006, you wrote:
>>> Has anyone else read the "On My Mind" piece by Arthur Marx in this month's 
>>> American Libraries?  In it, he speaks of his experience learning 
>>> cataloging on the job where he is the only cataloger. He's certainly not 
>>> the first MLS graduate to find himself unexpectedly hired as a cataloger, 
>>> but it's kind of surprising he was hired in a world of job ads that demand 
>>> "two years experience."
>>> Do you think his lack of cataloging knowledge coming out of a basic 
>>> cataloging course is only to be expected? Are our across-the-board average 
>>> outcomes this low so that a student passing a basic cataloging course 
>>> doesn't really have the punctuation down, or understand an authority 
>>> record?
>>> --
>>> Cheryl Boettcher Tarsala
>>> Adjunct Assistant Professor
>>> LEEP Program, Graduate School of Library and Information Science
>>> University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
>>> [log in to unmask]
>>> [log in to unmask]
>>> The views expressed here are my own and not those of UIUC or GSLIS.
>> Julie Su
>> Head, Serials
>> Digital Resources/Serials Librarian
>> Library and Information Services
>> San Diego State University
>> 5500 Campanile Drive
>> San Diego, CA 92182-8050
>> 619 594-0904 (work)   619 594-4093 (fax)
>> email: [log in to unmask]
Arlene G. Taylor  **  Professor Emerita
Department of Library and Information Science
School of Information Sciences
University of Pittsburgh  **  Pittsburgh, PA  15260
e-mail: [log in to unmask]  **  voice: 412-624-9452
fax: 412-648-7001  **