Monday, May 05, 2003

Cataloging

One of the sites linking to Catalogablog has the description "A cataloging Web log. Not as boring as it sounds" Well, cataloging does not sound boring to me. I think it is a fascinating profession. To take an item and craft a bibliographic description that will both distinguish the item from all others and establish how it is connected to other items is interesting work. I used the word craft, because I do believe cataloging to be one. No two catalogers will arrive at the exact same record, yet often both will be correct. Just as cabinetmakers will each have a different vision, so too with cataloging. That personal approach within the constraints of standards makes for such interesting work.

Another reason the field is so interesting is that currently, it is changing at the theoretical level. Metadata, FRBR, and automation are some of the topics of discussion in the cataloging community. People other than catalogers are discussing subject access, controlled vocabularies, and classification. While they could often benefit from listening to the library community, some do bring a unique perspective to the discussion. Cataloging boring? I think not.

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