RSS

Tag Archives: cataloging

ALA Anaheim: Manic Monday

The title for this post is meant in a good way–as all days at ALA Annual, it’s always busy and full of good stuff and great people to meet. Although many seem to be taking off day. For me, the conference really is a marathon as I’ve done all day Friday through Monday and fly out tomorrow mid-morning; though I don’t sleep on planes, there is no way that I will stay awake for that 4+ hours flight, which I need/have definitely earned!

My plan of three sessions today turned into two due to cancellation which gave me an extra long and well-enjoyed break since I’ll be meeting with friends for coffee and catching up later this afternoon and hopefully getting free tickets to The Perks of Being a Wallflower, an advanced showing tonight!

Session 1) Publisher/Vendor/Library Relations Interest Group had a panel of speakers made up of a representatives from Springer and Project MUSE, plus a couple of librarians (a cataloger and admin who used to be a cataloger) from the University of Minnesota (Go Gophers!). Being in another building likely kept the numbers down, plus being on Monday but it was still well-attended considering, with around 30 people there at 8 a.m. this morning. Since both are more publishers than vendors, it was interesting to hear about what they do to create their MARC records–usually machine generated initially then outsourced to OCLC/SLA for cataloging enhancements before going to the libraries with the e-books. The librarians obviously addressed the growing difficulty and frustration with editing and tweaking batch records that have various quality and consistency issues not only across multiple vendors but within a single vendor some times. Thankfully, the publishers said that they gather and want feedback for providing what libraries want. And the librarians, thankfully, called for action and accountability among libraries in order to share information and band together to approach vendors and publishers with their needs and demands for better MARC records as budgets, staffing, and work loads change rapidly. During the Q&A I did speak up and mention our (apparently special) department of full-time catalogers and that we do I-level records; I take it for granted because that’s where I work and my environment so it was shocking (but shouldn’t have been) to hear fro the panelists. Also, I piggybacked off of the comments about collaboration on everyone’s part to get better MARC from vendors and publishers and encouraged libraries to work together and approach them with their desires and needs. Another cataloger mentioned the BATCH List listserv that shares valuable information about record changes that are useful for all libraries.

Lesson learned: Vendors and publishers can and will provide better MARCs if it means more business for them by giving libraries what they need in an economically tight time for everyone. Just ask! We all are in it for the end users so why not collaborate and make metadata better, which is now more important than ever for discovery.

Session 2) CANCELLED Seeing is Believing: Understanding Data Visualization for Library Research didn’t end up happening but sounded very practical and would have been useful. But I won’t complain about having a longer break before my afternoon session, although now the tiredness is setting in the more I sit still and am left to my own devices rather than being stimulated by a session. Nap or upcoming session? Onto session 3 for the day, just because it will be cool and has great speakers! Sleep is for the plane tomorrow.

Lesson learned: Maybe 3 sessions plus other activities, the exhibit hall, and networking is too much. But I’m still plugging along and fitting everything in that I can to really squeeze the most out of ALA while I can!

Session 3) Riding the Publishing Roller Coaster: Practical Strategies from Research to Writing addressed the writing process through getting published. The panel had both authors and editors (who were also authors!) that gave great, practical tips and advice. It’s always refreshing to hear others talk about all the hard work and difficulty and challenges that go into writing and publishing. Too much to share but if you are interested in learning more, I could do a longer post delving into what was said. Most was common sense but needed reminding; I nodded a lot during the session, if that puts it into perspective. They all articulated their advice and tips eloquently.

Lesson learned: Reminded that writing is hard work so be humbled and respectful of your self and other’s works. Put yourself out there and be flexible when need to yet stick to your convictions but be able to explain why if you really don’t want a particular change made to your work.

After the last session, I meet up for coffee with UMich grad school friends and one of our professors to catch up! Soon after, we headed to get tickets for the advanced showing of The Perks of Being a Wallflower! Amazing movie with Emma Watson, by the way. How did I miss this book growing up? However, after the film, everyone got a free copy of the book and the author was there for q and a and book signing! It was a fun evening with good friends–a great way to wrap up ALA Annual!

image

image

Go see the movie when it comes out and read the book until this! My new favorite movie!

Look for a post tomorrow, likely while at the airport, about tips and advice about attending ALA and what to do now that we are all still a buzz from the great sessions and people here. My friend and classmate, now Learning Technologies Librarian, Emily Thompson hosts a podcast called LiTTech with another friend/classmate now School Librarian, Addie Matteson that address libraries, education, and technology. Not too long ago, I spoke as a guest about cataloging with Emily, which is also available for download on iTunes as well. They were here at ALA collecting sound bites for their next upcoming podcast, so keep an eye out for that; I’ve heard some bits already and it’ll be great and fun to listen to!

 
2 Comments

Posted by on June 26, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

ALA Anaheim: Pre-conference and kick-off!

Even though #ALA12 officially began with the Opening General Session at 4 this afternoon, I arrived late last night in order to attend a pre-conference session about Linked Data. Being an all-day session, it was jam-packed with great presenters, attenders, and information. The Twitter hash tag was #ala2012_ldpre and many of us tweeted during it, so definitely check it out if you’re interested in seeing how the day progressed.

The format helped keep the momentum going for the entire day: a key note, lightning talks, small group discussions, and reporting back to the whole group. Though the session focused on Linked Data, a whole range of aspects and depths were discussed. From theory to how to get started, global implications to SPARQL queries.

The presenters represented vendors, libraries, and even LC. Each honed in on a different part of the Linked Data topic and yet the talks fit together well because it built a larger tapestry of the topic and issues surrounding it. The fun part was hearing and seeing examples of how LD could advance libraries but also the web more generally. Yet there are many problems and concerns that get in the way, mainly time and money. However, as the keynote speaker Eric Miller pointed out, catalogers and libraries are particularly well poised to lead the way to make use of LD and have been doing so for 40 years with MARC already: think controlled subject headings and names. All controlled fields and the accompanying authority files are Linked Data.

My brain still buzzes with all the new information and ideas and hope for the future. Cataloging is changing quite rapidly with FRBR and RDA, and now Linked Data. Yet it isn’t changing, really. The theory and the purpose are the same but now technologies are advancing to allow us to create things that were never possible before. For some it’s a scary unknown but it could bring libraries back into the conversation more if we helped create and guide standards that would organize and maintain data on the web as well as in libraries.

Several people at this session today called for action. Not just holding meetings and being aware of what’s going on with Linked Data but actually creating and doing something to test and set up projects to find out what best works and begin stepping into the future today. How apt a statement with Disneyland across from my hotel. 🙂 But, as was reiterated as the day’s session wound down, there is no magic involved–it’s all hard work by smart and dedicated people working together to build off each other to make some. So let’s create Linked Data and help build better libraries and a better world with excellent data! Who’s with me?

 
3 Comments

Posted by on June 23, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

There’s a subject heading for that!?: architecture and cosmology

This subject headings is one of those gems that enamor me when I discover them–hardly believing they exist sometimes. There are days in which the best course of action is the take the best stab at a topic then scroll through the subject authority file, carefully looking for something pertaining to what’s in hand. “Architecture and …” is a very fruitful and interesting area of SAF. But the best one by far is:

“Architecture and cosmology”

Image

See!? How cool is that? Do I know what it means–no. Does the SAF tell me anything further, such as in a scope note–apparently we aren’t that lucky. I thought that scope notes were abundant and the norm; guess I just happened to find sub. head. with lots of them, which makes sense since I did catalog legal material for a while and that stuff is confusing no matter who you are and what degrees you have.

Where to now? The LC Online Catalog, of course! Let’s dive in and see what we find. Since it didn’t fit my item, I am just now searching for this as I write the post. I sure hope something turns up! Subject Browse rocks. Oooo, 12 hits and additional ones divided geographically. It always makes me sad to find a sub. head. that has only one or two uses.

Image

Ah, ha! Now we have some answers. Yes, if you guessed that this sub. head. got at the symbolism of architecture for religious meaning and buildings then you are right! Who knew this niche existed? Now we do, and so can your users now too if you so choose to spread this knowledge! While there aren’t many titles, and some are in other languages, it still looks like an interesting topic.

It’s too nice a day to complain about bad subject headings today, although I did fill in a co-worker on the topic of “computer drawing” vs. “computer graphics”–maybe in another post of you all are dying to know my thoughts. Besides, since I don’t do authority work right now, I figure it’s best not to complain about something that I’m not working to change. Same with voting, right? If you don’t vote, don’t complain!

Enjoy your afternoon! I’m camped out on the porch for Camp today, and working on finishing this time!

 
Comments Off on There’s a subject heading for that!?: architecture and cosmology

Posted by on June 12, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , ,

Cataloging and coding: more similarities than you might realize

I’ve talked about Code Academy before and it’s a great starting point if you don’t know how to code, or need a quick refresher. However, there is no pressure since it’s not a real project so my completion level is fairly low. I’ll do a lot sometimes when I’m really in the mood but normally I can find something more interesting or pressing to do–like blogging!

At ProQuest HQ, we have a really cool Library Volunteer Program set up that does Summer of Service with local libraries and school libraries. This spring, I joined the planning committee and got asked to update the internal wiki pages with HTML. My coding nerd was very happy indeed! Cleaning up and writing HTML code, what’s not to love! At the UMich Law Library, I worked a lot on HTML websites so it was returning to something very routine for me. Since the project had a deadline and a purpose, I poured my time and effort into making it not only look good for the users but tidying the backend code with the HTML viewer. (Now that I say this, I realize that I don’t use HTML view when doing my blogs. lol Not that I ever do anything complex for posts but that’s the next time to do–hack my WordPress blogs with my own code!)

Now, in the title I promised “cataloging and coding”, so here you are: let’s talk about similarities between them. Most obviously attention to detail, for coding that entails closing all the tags that you open and pairing them up correctly, while with cataloging it’s getting MARC indicators right and finding out things like the title proper and actual date of publication. Both are an art and a science–there are rules and standards yet flexibility and interpretation are encouraged and well used. Also, for the majority you work alone but still work with others from time to time, to engage, make decisions or work together on something. I’d also wager that both require being either tech savvy or tech willing; for cataloging it’s mainly software use and online research skills, while for coding it’s programming and probably online research skills as well. Also, both have robust Internet networks–usually ListServs for catalogers, and web forums for programmers/coders/developers.

However, there are many differences. Coding requires more technological knowledge, like knowing computer programming languages (and yes “languages” is appropriate because they are like foreign languages with their own vocab, rules, and patterns). Cataloging can be and is done by paraprofessionals without Master’s degrees; more complex stuff is done by professionals usually but now with vendors such as ProQuest (like me!) creating I-Level records, shelf-ready items that are fully cataloged are appealing to a lot of libraries these days. Also, coders and catalogers are generally two very different nerd types–geeks versus bookworms; happy hours might not be very fruitful between the two, one cares about the latest Doctor Who episode and the other cares about the 50 Shades of Grey kerfuffle in Florida. Okay that’s not entirely an accurate depiction but many people see those distinctions. Lastly, coding builds something, like a website or iPhone app, and cataloging records information for an item so it can be found. The purposes are very different as well as the end products.

But at the end of the day, I believe if you can do one that you’d be good at the other. Come on you coders, leave loftily FaceBook and come work for a library! Hee hee! Or if you are a cataloger, taking a programming or web coding course; you can always start on Code Academy!

For me, the future looks exciting and bright, with the possibility of cloud cataloging. What a perfect combo of coding and cataloging! Granted that like most ILSs, the code will only be viewed by the Systems Librarian but still I can dream.

P.S. GREAT NEWS! I’m attending ALA Annual in Anaheim after all! Woot! If you read my blog and will be there and want to meet up, drop me a line–or maybe I’ll bump into you at a cataloging or e-book session! If you do happen to sit next to be during a session, though, be warned, I’ll talk about MARC indicators, subject headings, and perhaps even the dreaded RDA. Plus, I’m signed up for a session entitled “Creating Library Linked Data: What Catalogers and Coders Can Build”! It looks so cool and I can’t wait (see, there’s that nerdy side again)! And to think, I planned this post before I knew I was going to ALA and found that killer event. Yea for serendipity!

 
Comments Off on Cataloging and coding: more similarities than you might realize

Posted by on June 7, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , ,

Famous!: At least among librarians and educators…who listen to the LiTTech podcast

My awesome friend, Emily Thompson the Learning Technologies Librarian at SUNY Oswego, invited me to speak as a guest on her podcast, LitTech. I enjoyed explaining cataloging, touching on RDA and FRBR and the  future of cataloging. She includes great podcast notes with links.

Really, there’s not much more that I can say about it…please go listen, especially if you aren’t a cataloger or librarian.

So, want to hear the inside scoop about subject headings, get an explanation of cataloging, hear some library science history, or why paraprofessional jobs in cataloging are become more prevalent, listen to LiTTech show 29 and let me know what you think!

Enjoy!

image

Note: The above screen shot is only an image, so the listen now/play buttons won’t work; click the link above that says LiTTech 29! 🙂  (This will be obvious for most of my blog readers but my mom and family does read it, too!)

 
Comments Off on Famous!: At least among librarians and educators…who listen to the LiTTech podcast

Posted by on May 9, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

There’s a subject heading for that!?: night photography

Sometimes subject headings are cool and introduce a concept or topic that otherwise wouldn’t have crossed your mind. This week, “night photography” fit that case.

When I came across it, the sub. head. made sense but got me wondering why it needed separation from simply “photography” and all the narrow terms that go along with it. But as I looked into night photography further, the need for such a sub. head. easily made a case for itself, as seen in the linked examples near the end of this post.

First, let’s look at where this sub. head. is located. In the LC Authorities for “photography”, though there is a long list of narrower terms, you won’t find this one at first glance. Oddly enough, it’s nested within a narrower term. Can you guess which one? Spoiler: it’s under “available light photography”.

Available light photography covers the idea that only the natural light and the light already there is used when taking a photo, hence night photography listed as a narrower term of this concept. The authority for it is straight-forward:

Image

As the 680 explains, “night photography” covers “works on the technique of taking photographs outdoors at night and collections of these photographs”. While the description explains the concept simply, the photos and collections are anything but mundane. Have you opened a new tab yet to search for it? Regardless, here are some of my new favorite night photographers and their awesome night photos; for the photographer’s sake, I’ve linked to their works.

A graveyard with some streaking stars. Circus Krone in Augsburg, Germany. The Red Eyed Grouper, which uses some added light from flashlights for effect. 50 exposures needed for this beautiful streaking stars photo. A large collection of 60 night photographers. And finally, a more intimate gallery.

In addition to night photography in the pure sense, many photographers use flashlights to add mood, color, and dimension to their photos. One cool phenomenon seen in some of the photos is “light painting”, which can range from adding color to the Buick in the Red Eyed Grouper photo to actually creating another image in the photo via the flashlight such as orbs or shapes or even words.

Here’s an amazing collection of light photography that range from adding emphasis to the photo, outlining, and creating the main focus/subject from added light. LC doesn’t have a “light photography” sub. head. but since this occurs in night photography itself, one isn’t needed, not yet anyway. In the LC catalog, there are 63 works with the sub. head. “night photography” and a handful more with subdivisions. From what I can tell, there are no works explicitly on “light painting” by itself but it is addressed in some night photography items.

Here’s a more technical description about night photography and the light needed. Plus Wikipedia has a good article for starters.

While I am not a late-night person, these photos are so inspiring that I might take up this hobby myself! Who knows, maybe I’ll give up librarianship to become a night photographer.

On second thought, what cataloger could leave this wonderful world of subject headings?

 
Comments Off on There’s a subject heading for that!?: night photography

Posted by on May 6, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , ,

MARC21 must die–according to one internet user

Aren’t life’s serendipitous moments amazing? I find it fascinating when things in my life suddenly collide. This time: cataloging and Code Academy.

First, have you heard of Code Academy? It’s a website that teaches people code in a simple yet robust manner in order to make the world more code/tech literate. Be warned, once you start it’s easy to get hooked! When I do get around to logging back in and coding again, I usually do a bunch of exercises in a sitting. The chunks are broken down really well so it’s easy to come back to and you do quite a few exercises in a whole lesson. More lessons are added to the site, especially since I started a couple of months ago and now it’s becoming a bigger website.

Today I sat down for the first time in a while and picked up the coding again. After I finally finished another segment (yes!), I stumbled upon an MARC21 lesson. In the description, the submitted says:

This is a project to build a short script to read a raw MARC record and display it in a more readable format. I hope that it gives cataloguing coders an idea of what a MARC21 record looks like under the hood and helps clarify the cataloguer’s opinions as to whether MARC must or mustn’t die. (HINT: it must). For more information about this project, MARC21, and a HTML version of the finished code, see http://www.aurochs.org/aurlog/2012/03/20/marc-viewer-codecademy-project/. However, do note that 1. This project was designed for someone who has done the first few weeks of the Code Year course. By necessity it introduces some new things and an attempt has been made to explain them and encourage the cataloguer to enter the actual lines of Javascript that make up the programme. In any case, the Hints always contain the correct code needed to proceed. 2. Output will often consist of many lines, so sometimes you will have to scroll up in the console to see what has happened. 3. Some lines (including line 1!) will always produce errors, although the script will still run. This is because MARC uses BAD and DANGEROUS characters. BAD and DANGEROUS characters are of course common in the world of cataloguing (mentioning no names…). #catcode @Orangeaurochs

Ha! The purpose of this lesson is to show catalogers just how ugly and messy MARC21 is and how it should be replaced already. I’m sure Orangeaurochs has to be an RDA supporter, since that too calls for a replacement for MARC21. On Twitter, I found his professional blog with a post that explains his Code Academy project a bit more–sweet! Also, he has more links to MARC21 information as well, for a more in-depth look, it seems. I haven’t been following the #catcode on Twitter but perhaps I will now, having gotten back into this once again.

I enjoy Code Academy and I hope you will try it out if you haven’t already. The website makes it learning code accessible to all, and there has been much refinement in the systems and interface that I’ve noticed over the months I’ve used it. Plus, the Q&A tab is very useful so check it out if the hints and tinkering still leave you stumped!

Code literacy–add that to your resume and job skills; it’s not too difficult, promise.

 
Comments Off on MARC21 must die–according to one internet user

Posted by on April 30, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , ,

There’s a Subject Heading for That!?!: ecofeminism

The Midwest went directly from a mild winter to a pleasant summer! The weather is great, even though it is abnormal. But sugar maple trees aren’t running, meaning no maple syrup this year–very sad indeed, except for the fact that we still have one unopened jar of my dad’s homemade syrup from a previous year still safely tucked in the pantry; if syrup times get really desperate, I might put it up for bids on eBay in the fall and of course provide you lucky readers the link! 🙂

While enjoying this beautiful weather on the porch in Ann Arbor, and some times the balcony in Wooster, I found an interesting heading that conveys much with just its name: ecofeminism. This came up during a search for environmental topics and though it wasn’t needed for any of my items, this sub. head. really intrigued me.

With its name, it invokes women, feminism, ecology, nature, the environment, and saving the planet. Could there be a more perfect term for Mother Nature? Very apt. There is a Wikipedia page that explains the basics of the movement.

Here’s the LC Authority File for ecofeminism (with a 953 cut off by the screenshot):

The 680 really says it all! This seems to be a really dynamic and fruitful subject heading for a precise topic. Yea! It’s always fun to find these types. I love it when a sub. head. is summed up in itself and conveys exactly what it is about.

“Ecofeminism” reminds me of Julia Butterfly Hill’s book The Legacy of Luna about her time spent sitting in a tall redwood nicknamed Luna in order to prevent loggers from cutting it down. The story is wonderful, if you haven’t read it. However, this one does not work as a sub. head. for that book but I made the connection because of the Search Also for it:

In the LC catalog, there are currently 94 items with the sub. head. “ecofeminism,” and several more with further qualifiers, mostly locations, if you too have become interested in this topic.

Now, to put down my laptop, slide on my sunglasses, and retreat to the porch with a book! Hope that you are enjoying the marvelous weather, too–unless you happen to be in the West, which I hear is chilly this year.

 
Comments Off on There’s a Subject Heading for That!?!: ecofeminism

Posted by on March 25, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , ,

There’s a subject heading for that!?!: telematics

Tele-what? Yes, “telematics” is the subject heading of inquiry this week.

When I stumbled across this one the other day, like Link opening a dungeon treasure chest, I knew it was exactly what I needed to finish my record, which is oddly similar to finishing a level in Zelda–on a quest to find those perfect subject headings and gather all the information needed to complete the record.

Here’s a screenshot of the LC Authority File for “telematics”:

Basically, “telematics” encompasses the use of computers for communication and the exchange of information. The book in hand at the time dealt with computer use in classes (i.e. computer-assisted instruction), email, blogs, SMS, and other information technology in education. While “internet in education” and “telecommunication in education” provide a good base, “telematics” helped bring out more detail as to what the book was about. There are 61 items in the LC catalog with the plain subject heading and many more with geographical subdivisions. And even some with the “law and legislation” subdivision that sound intriguing.

Cataloging involves lots of learning and demands curiosity and questioning in order to ensure that the most accurate and best sub. head. are used for an item. The book’s title involved the phrase “computer-mediated communication” which to me sounded like jargon so I didn’t search it in the authority file. Instead, my browsing the LC catalog allowed me to find “telematics” and discover that “computer-mediated communication” is a 450 for “telematics”!

However, this is another sub. head. that feels like it was made for librarians by fellow librarians. What patron would ever type “telematics” in the catalog or even know to click on it in a record? Do people really know what it means when they see it? I didn’t. Perhaps that is where the reference librarians enter the picture, in one aspect, to navigate the catalog and its records in order to help patrons find just what they are looking for and other related items of interest, too.

Even though catalogers hand-pick subject headings, it would be much more helpful to have headings that make sense even to us from first glance. Many already are self-explanitory but in cases such as “telematics”, clarity could improve not only the subject heading but also it’s use. But at the end of the day, we have to make do the best we can with what we have. I was just glad to find that 450 in “telematics”.

 

 
Comments Off on There’s a subject heading for that!?!: telematics

Posted by on March 11, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: ,

Cataloging is like a car: how to explain cataloging to non-catalogers

Nothing too exciting has crossed my virtual desk lately. Pretty standard stuff with subject headings that I’ve seen before, or just don’t call for any extended pause. One interesting item was title 50 jobs in 50 states in which the author traveled around the country in 50 weeks to work in every state, as a way of doing something productive with his life after not being able to land a full-time job after college. But the sub. heads weren’t earth-shattering.

I did notice an oddity with sub. heads–everything is plural. Delimiter x examinations. Delimiter v study guides, etc. Though there are exceptions such as web site development, yet it cousin is web sites. But that’s not nearly enough to write a whole post on!

How does one explain cataloging to a non-cataloger?

When I introduce myself to non-libraians, I say that I am a catalog librarian but continue on to explain that what I create is the information you see when you search a library catalog, the record with the title and author and description of the item. Sure, this is pretty basic and perhaps still not helpful enough for some people. Maybe after hearing “librarian”, they have already tuned out anyway, or just think of people checking books out and sitting at a reference desk staring at a computer screen.

But that doesn’t get at my question still about what is cataloging.

This weekend my reference librarian husband asked me what AACR2, MARC21, and subject headings were and how they work together. Being the Emerging Technologies Librarian, he’s tech-savvy and has looked at many catalog records while helping students and faculty but he didn’t take a cataloging course nor has worked with MARC records himself. Really, he was asking about their purpose. My first instinct, for some reason, was to compare them to cars.

Cataloging is like a car. AACR2 is the idea, the concept, the form (thanks, Plato!); a car has wheels, doors, a body, a steering wheel, and so on. In general, most cars look similar because the hood goes in front, the trunk in back, wheels on the sides, a roof on top. There are choices: engines can go in front or in back, doors can be two or four or lift vertically, side airbags are optional but becoming more prevalent. AACR2 assumes certain things in a record such as main entry, statement of responsibility, and publication information. Main entry varies depending on the item, as title or author. Authors can also be added entries instead of main. But all in all, the content that goes into a record is similar to parts that make up a car.

Next, MARC21 is the details, the execution, the item itself. Car types vary but each make and model is arranged a particular way. The exterior color, the interior material, the dashboard knobs and buttons, the hub caps all form an individual item. A car can be embellished with dealer extras and upgrades, or bumper sticker, a new paint job, or even damage from an accident that make the car more unique and distinctive. Though it has a multitude of details, each person sees different aspects of that particular car; someone might notice the scratch on the door, the customized flames on the hood, or size and shape of the headlights. MARC21 holds the details of an item, whether there is a cover title that differs from the title page, a series title, or if a disc is missing. These basic and distinctive aspects of an item truly describe it and its nature. However, I might catalog it differently from someone else, which is where variation arises; someone may add a 500 note to include added information, others might decide that the classification should be different for their collection and library. Though MARC21 contains the item’s description and details, each cataloger chooses what to represent and how.

Subject headings group related items through the ideas, concepts, people, and places they represent. Cars are described in many ways: by color, size, type, purpose, shape, brand, and on. Each description can change just what is being talked about: blue cars, SUVs, supercars, cars that look like cubes, Fords. A car will have numerous descriptors, some that are more distinctive that others. Subject headings are the same. I catalog a book about how to use the iPhone and choose to use a sub. head for iPhone and smartphones and mobile computing. But another book about iPhone app development requires tweaking those sub. heads and adding more such as application software delimiter x development, and bringing out the programming aspects of the other sub. heads with a delimiter x. Though they are related items, they get different terms, some similar and some not.

This version is extended from the version I gave Steve but the gist is the same. When I asked him if it helped, he said no.  :/  Maybe the life of a cataloger is only understood by other catalogers. What do you think? Does this example work? Is there a better one?

Addition (July 11, 2012): RDA will replace AACR2, though for not it will live along side. RDA is a different set of rules and guidelines for building the same general thing: a record for an item. From my understanding, FRBR could also fit under what AACR2 currently covers as well; it works in tandem with RDA to help shape a record for an item and the relations of information within it. Yet FRBR doesn’t provide much in the way of strict rules and decisions–it’s the big picture whereas RDA digs down a bit deeper. FRBR could be the car brochure while RDA is the car manual. And now with linked data in the picture as well, MARC records may be more versatile than ever, able to switch and swap out information as need for the users, and truly trick out records to become resources. See my ALA Annual post on the all-day workshop or the general overview session for more about linked data and cataloging.

P.S. We love Top Gear, hope you enjoy the clip! I’ll have to be more than a cataloger if I every really want to own a Zonda.

 
1 Comment

Posted by on February 28, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

 
%d bloggers like this: