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Michael Ayres wrote:

>         Why would anyone have a lower level cataloging assistant messing
> with the substance of a catalog record -- other than maybe something
> like copy/pasting a call number as needed?!  Those staff who would be
> doing any substantive editing of a bibliographic record should
> understand the structure, and everybody else should not be touching
> those records!  I don't see a valid case for dumbing down the system in
> this way.

There could be many valid reasons for having various levels of staff work on records in various ways--adding notes, subject headings, names, etc. for any number of reasons.  I don't understand why we want to keep it difficult for people to understand what the data in the record mean.

> > ... There should be no reason for us to require student assistants helping
> out in the Catalog Dept. to learn the MARC tags.
> 
>         Well, how about the possibility of those students actually becoming
> interested in the library profession?  I seem to recall being completely
> intrigued with such knowledge a 'few' years ago (few is relative).

So we should keep things difficult and expensive just so we have something mysterious that will capture someone's interest in a career?  That doesn't seem like very good justification to me.  Also, I have a hard time believing that having natural-language input forms for metadata will be a barrier to getting people interested in librarianship.  Moreover, there is a big difference between 1) *requiring* the use of the MARC format for everyone doing cataloging, and 2) prohibiting everyone from learning more about the underlying metadata structures.  I hope my previous posts on this topic didn't give the impression that I was espousing the latter; nothing could be further from the truth!

Kevin M. Randall
Principal Serials Cataloger
Northwestern University Library
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(847) 491-2939

Proudly wearing the sensible shoes since 1978!