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Arlene, 

I side more with you. I teach Introduction to Cataloging and
Classification and I am a head of a catalog department, and cataloging
very quickly requires some serious mentoring via both the teacher and
the supervisor. You can only do so much in the MLIS program, and then
from there the education of a new cataloger is incumbent upon the person
who supervises them. Because while cataloging has some theoretical
aspects to it, it is ultimately a skill or a craft that just bottom line
takes EXPERIENCE. You have to run into all of the myriad icky messy
things that happen in the bibliographic world and have someone show you
how to deal with them. You also have to be smart and able to think about
a lot of things at once (MARC, AACR2, LCSH, database structure etc.
etc.). It is not a job for the fainthearted. Some of this you get from
education, much of it you cannot get until you just sit down and do it
for a certain number of years.

Also, many schools no longer require cataloging!!!  :(  BAD SCHOOLS!!!

ALA-ALCTS did a mentoring thing for new catalogers a few years back that
I wish they would have kept going. It is SO SO important for those of us
who have been in the biz for a while to help those who are newly
interested (and I get a few every semester who are VERY interested).

The quality of records on OCLC is really a different issue - as long as
anyone with a password can put records on OCLC anyone will. I wonder
really if there should be some kind of licensing procedure for
catalogers (archivists have one). I have known more than my share of
folks who think it's simple and put really yucky records on OCLC.
Additionally, there are organizations who pay very poorly trained
outsourcers to do their cataloging which in turn also shows up on OCLC.

I think the real issue here is that many librarians totally
underestimate what it takes to do good cataloging and totally
underestimate the effects of bad cataloging. The schools cannot fix this
problem by themselves. To expect them to do so would be as ludicrous as
to expect any other professional to know how to do their job well
without after school training. 

Ok - nuff ranting.

Melodie Frances