Thursday, December 11, 2003

Cross Training

The article The Renaissance Librarian: Catalogers Working in Public Services by Douglas King has been published at He discusses the benefits of working the reference desk and issues to consider before taking the plunge.

I've always found working the ref desk to be good, for many of the reasons he mentions. Basically, I believe, that cataloging has a national or even international view. We are concerned with LC subject headings and rule interpretations, OCLC and RLG conventions, IFLA ISBD's and metadata standards from ISO. Reference is concerned with the concrete and local. This change in viewpoint helps to prevent tunnel vision. I've worked the ref desk in the past at a local public library. It's been a few years and I feel the need to go back and do so again. I've sent my resume off to a local public and hope to hear back from them soon.

I've avoided calling reference "public services" because as the old OCLC button says "Cataloging is a Public Service."

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