My one month working for ProQuest passed without much notice, which is delightful since it means I enjoy work and have been kept too busy to notice how long I’ve been there. Cataloging, yes, I’m a dork, gives me joy.
Why do I love cataloging? It’s technical yet artsy, rigid yet fluid, structured yet variable. Each item is unique yet patterns and combinations exist. Once you figure something out it’s likely that you can use it again, in some way. It’s much like a puzzle, though there are many ways to do a record and interpret subject headings.
So, what’s happened this month? Besides cataloging e-books and streaming videos, I posted to Auto-Cat–twice! Also, ProQuest has continued the “Summer of Service” idea annually and so I volunteered on the company’s behalf at a local library. I weeded and withdrew nonfiction children’s books, as per the librarians there, which went into the book sale pile. In fact, I’m going back tomorrow with a colleague to do a couple more hours. There are lots of volunteer opportunities and drives at ProQuest, making me even happier to work there.
One last insight, for now–from AutoCat it’s easy to see many of the flaws and shortcomings and opinions in cataloging but yesterday I came across a brilliant subject heading that I just love.
I appreciate it’s eloquence, as a writer/reader, and it’s conciseness, as a cataloger: cultural competence.
One description from the LC Authorities for the phrase is: A set of congruent behaviours, attitudes, and policies which come together in a system, agency, or among professionals and enable that system, agency, or those professionals to work effectively in cross-cultural situations.
This made my cataloging so much more fulfilling yesterday because I was searching for how to nail this idea, or post-coordinate as the case is usually. Finding this made my day, perhaps even month. When subject headings are bad, they can be very bad but when subject headings are good, they can be very good!