Thursday, April 2, 2009

025.3 Checking Out Cataloging at TLA

There were several cataloging sessions presented at TLA this year and I decided that they would be at the top of my list as much as possible. I know you are asking why and there are several very good reasons. First off, I am the cataloger of record in my district, and although we have a very serious rule of "buy processed," I still get asked some tough questions by the librarians in my circle of influence and I have to be on top of what is what so that I can be sure the vendors "do it right" as well. I am teaching cataloging to some new librarians and I wanted to be sure I was teaching the right stuff...turns out I was/am with one small exception which I will touch on later.
Several of the topics were simply interesting...and some of the presenters are simply "rock stars" in the field and deserved my time for what they know!

As anyone who has attended TLA knows all too well, you can't see and do it all so there were some cataloging sessions I missed. One was Cataloging Reconsidered: Is LOC Still the Nation's Cataloger. The link takes you to some useful information found on the LOC site. Another session, Not the Dreaded Cart Again! A Cataloger's Nightmare is currently not active in the session handouts section. The info was presented by Scott Piepenburg who has put several books together that do help a librarian who finds herself/himself having to take care of cataloging issues. 

I did attend the session about MarcEdit. another session that currently does not have an active link on the
 TLA page  I hate to admit that I came away not totally understanding it and all that it can do for individual librarians. But the website is very comprehensive and I do plan to go thru it carefully for any assistance it can provide.

I also attended the session Cataloging 101 for School and Public Librarians presented by a true rock star of the cataloging world, Joanna Fountain. She knows everything, but has such a realistic view of what busy school librarians can and can not spend time on when it comes to cataloging materials. I have always appreciated how she takes large amounts of information and distills it down to the essential components. You can learn a lot from her sample book as to what is needed in records covering all formats.

Some her comments during the session included 
what is the catalog for
to show what the library has
and what ELSE does the library have
Users should be able to make successful choices based on the info...that is an important job of the cataloger to be sure that can happen and then also being sure that the info to find the material is properly complete.

The librarian/cataloger must understand the audience, know the system that will contain the records and understand content rules, be they AACR2 or the upcoming RDA

As far as having a classification tool, the Dewey abridged is sufficient. LC subject  authorities are available online for free at the LOC website

Fountain did explain with the change in the rules that are being worked on, the term  preferred instead of authority will be the new term of choice in RDA

Steps the librarian/cataloger must think about include:
1st what is this item?
2nd what is chief source of info for this kind of item?
3rd is there a MARC template for this type of material to guide in deciding what is needed, and needed correctly?

Fountain also brought certain things about some fields/tags and sub-headings:

245 - Keep all the diacritics in the title and author , but watch the system you use. Some systems turn them into weird characters!
And the same thing I have to remain my students...Capitalize only the first word and proper nouns in any titles...for get what you learned in English...for the moment!

260 - Why is the place of publication important? Because it can affect the version selected. And what about all those publishers and imprints...go with what appears on the title page...even if it is an imprint! And just as I have always tried to explain...there is a difference between publication date (printing) and the copyright. If you choose to use the copyright date, it always needs the "c" before it. It is best to use the newest date, but very important to be consistent. I know in our district we have that consistency. Newest date first!

When talking a little about AV, Fountain reminded all of us that when working on videos, we now have to think about VHS (on its way out), DVD, or  Blu-ray...the newest format that will need to be included in 538.

She also mentioned that the 2nd indicator in the subject fields (600, 650, 651, etc.) should be filled with a "1" indicating that the material is in a children's CATALOG, not necessarily that the material is a child's book!   

Fountain also shared information about the IFLA (International Federation of Library Associations. There is lots of info about cataloging electronic materials...useful for libraries trying to keep up with all the great stuff online!

She indicated that she would try to answer questions

Time well spent!

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