Wednesday, August 13, 2003

Misinformation

Yesterday I read The Creation and Persistence of Misinformation in Shared Library Catalogs by David Bade. Lots to consider. He contends that cost-saving measures and increased bibliographic control have lead to a lack of language and subject knowledge in cataloging departments. This has led to serious mistakes, such as the TOC heading being treated as a series, a page of advertising being used as a title page and other misinformation entering the cataloging record. Mistakes in coding, typos, punctuation do limit access but many are amenable to machine detection and correction. Intellectual errors in assigning subject headings and linguistic errors are much less likely to be so easy to fix. These errors are the kind that can only be corrected by a knowledgeable cataloger with the item in hand.

The short pamphlet is well written, with some humor (abstract and introduction) as well as ire directed at unprofessional cataloging. We should all read this and then take some time to reflect on our cataloging standards.

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