*Jennifer P said:  "The trouble is, that rarely happens in library
catalog land; a working OPAC simply can't be built in a timely fashion by a
single person. ..."*

There was a recent posting on AUTOCAT about the need for not just the theory
but also the practical side for new graduates coming out of schools today,
this was also true in the past.
No matter what we may all teach in a course, it is very important to let
graduate students understand also what they will be working with on their
first professional job and in what type of a working environment aka
academic or other organizational structure.

 Catalogers will not very likely be immediately responsible for "building"
an OPAC system on their own obviously, nor should they.  It just does not
happen that way in libraries either.  I agree, understanding "code" or MARC,
metadata which ever one wishes to call it, catalogers all work with varying
types of "codes" these days and are on task forces with others too usually,
and will be expected to work across these areas day to day for both short
term and long term strategies.  I have found very often many students coming
from information organization courses and "blurring" much of the "online"
idea in terms of what and how collections are "managed" in libraries.  These
include the electronic resources, digital collections/ETDs, the print
collections, etc etc it's important for me to try to clarify this as much as
possible for students getting ready to graduate and interview for positions
in the next month, six months or next year,  in academic libraries
especially the structure of work in technical services units is not all
"lumped together" in organization and also in their work.  We have a wealth
of materials available online to use in our courses in illustrating examples
of work being done, and also links and guests from cataloging depts and
online resources available from OCLC and other vendors / open source tools
etc being developed.

For some, it can be extremely overwhelming if there is "too much" structure
or "code", what is important is for new graduates to be willing to learn,
ask/collaborate with others, and know where to find what they need, and
continue to move in the right directions, no matter what "code" one wishes
to use.  :-)   I'm going to be also including RDA discussions this Winter in
my cataloging courses, and have been posting webcasts and links from RDA
news last year, students are interested in what changes are in store for

Best, Karen

Karen Weaver, MLS
Adjunct Instructor, Cataloging & Classification
The iSchool at Drexel University
College of Information Science & Technology
Philadelphia PA
email: [log in to unmask]

Electronic Resources Statistician
Duquesne University, Gumberg Library
Pittsburgh PA
email: [log in to unmask]

On Sun, Jan 11, 2009 at 9:28 AM, Jennifer Parsons <
[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> Thanks, Richard.  While it can be effective to teach code in detail, I'll
> hazard a guess that it really only works with an approach where students
> can
> see the effects of their code directly-- sort of the way I see things done
> in programming classes.  The trouble is, that rarely happens in library
> catalog land; a working OPAC simply can't be built in a timely fashion by a
> single person.  The result of this is that you need catalogers and
> technical
> services staff with a good abstract knowledge of how code fits into the
> frame work of automated library software.
> I really like Shawne and UNT's method of having students build the
> structure
> in which the code is placed, in addition to detailed code.  Not only will
> this give students a better idea of how a catalog works, it will help them
> in working with vendors, since they're already aware of how database
> applications interact with software and can be used to collate many tables
> of records.
> -Jennifer Parsons
> On Sun, Jan 11, 2009 at 12:18 AM, Richard Stewart <
> [log in to unmask]> wrote:
> > Doesn't sound so crazy to me. It's been a few years since I taught as an
> > adjunct at Dominican--I introduced a survey of the then-new FRBR in my
> last
> > few terms--but even then I was coming to the conclusion that teaching the
> > code in detail, or trying to, was impractical in Organization of
> Knowledge
> > (the introductory core course). Comparing the two codes (with reference
> to
> > FRBR) could be a good way of illuminating the underlying principles.
> >
> > Richard A. Stewart
> > Senior Cataloger
> > Indian Trails Public Library District
> > 355 South Schoenbeck Road
> > Wheeling, Illinois 60090-4499
> > USA
> >
> > Tel: 847-279-2214
> > Fax: 847-4760
> > [log in to unmask]
> > htpp://
> > >>> Jennifer Parsons <[log in to unmask]> 01/10/09 9:31 AM >>>
> > Well...I have a crazy idea, everyone.  Disclaimer: I'm a
> > wet-behind-the-ears
> > LIS school graduate; I have very little cataloging experience compared to
> > everyone else on this board.
> > Why not reverse the order when teaching coding to a Cataloging class--
> that
> > is, why not teach RDA, and then AACR2?  Or, better yet, why not start
> from
> > a
> > very general, basic concept of what coding is for, and then lead on into
> a
> > comparison of the two?  If students can grasp why these two standards
> exist
> > to begin with (i.e., to minimize differences between records and make
> them
> > easier to find across platforms), it will be easier for them to grasp
> > why changes
> > had to be made from one standard to the other.  By pointing out the
> > concepts
> > behind the change and the function of both sets, the large, contrasting
> > differences between RDA and AACR2 will help students learn how to display
> > their cataloging information, rather than providing confusion.
> >
> > -Jennifer Parsons
> >