Bernhard Eversberg <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

>And for the cataloging rules, card layout was eminently important
>because the card was at once the product of cataloging *and* the user

The cataloguer did much more than created the display embodied in the
unit card.  The cataloguer took those card and constructed a
catalogue, with multiple entries, cross references, and in some places
during its later year,s experimented with innovations such as divided
catalogues, guide carded ticked tracing catalogues, and inverse
chronological order in subject catalogues.

Nicholson Baker has written a loving memorial:

Those days are long gone for most libraries (we cease card production the
end of this year). 
>RDA does not ignore ISBD altogether, but it assumes that catalogers
>have no direct business any more with the user interface.
That is a *very* bad assumption.  With automation, cataloguers
abandoned catalogue construction to the programmers, with terrible
results: fragmented displays, misleading and space consuming labels,
illogical hitlists (e.g., inverse chronological display under subject
not being the default), failure to take full advantage of classed
subject searching,  failure to utilize the wealth if information in
MARC fixed fields, and ISBD deconstruction making nonsense of
punctuation based on following field (in part a fault of ISBD for not
prescribing ending punctuation as such, as opposed to "introducing"
the next field).

Perhaps one of the most startling failures of both card and automated
catalogues is failure to take advantage of classification as a mode of
subject search.  I wrote an article on the few classed card

Elrod, J. McRee. "The Classed Catalog in the Fifties," 142-156. LRTS
Vol. 5, 1961.

There have been few fully functional automated classed catalogues (at
least in North America), including multiple class number entry for
single works (UTLAs did have a field for it), and alphabetical
indexes, despite their advantages in a multilingual situation where
multiple indexes in different languages could be used to access a
single classed catalogue.

Our legacy records may not be all we might wish, but we have hardly
scratched the surface in utilizing their data.  The classification
numbers they contain is at the top of that list.

>And yet, for all the new qualities and functionality our data are
>supposed to have, the end products will have to satisfy the needs of
>humans - 


>Around 2003, IFLA ran a Task Force on Guidelines for OPAC displays, and
>Martha Yee came up with a still recommendable report.
Yes.  Yee's work is excellent, but IFLA subsequently dropped the ball.

>It should still serve libraries well to have a recognizable standard 
>for bibliographic data display, applied and understood the world over.

Yes!!.  The loss of catalogue use skill transfer among libraries is one
of the major effects of the end if the card catalogue era.

Robert Fulghum said that he learned all he really needed to know in

It was not until later in primary school that I learned to use (and as
a library assistant to file) a card catalogue.  That skill served me
through three master's degrees.  No more.  The OPACs of most libraries
I enter are a mystery to me.  The last library I visited (a tax
supported institution), required an ID number to sign on to the OPAC.  
I could no longer just pull open a drawer, or even click a mouse.

Thinkers from Occam to Einstein have praised simplicity.  We seem to be 
descending into ever greater complexity.

   __       __   J. McRee (Mac) Elrod ([log in to unmask])
  {__  |   /     Special Libraries Cataloguing   HTTP://
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