Monday, June 30, 2008

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Last week, I received an announcement from the Cataloging Distribution Service News and Announcements list. It read


Due to production problems, the 31st edition of the five-volume printed edition of the Library of Congress Subject Headings, commonly referred to as the Red Books, will not be available until the spring of 2009. The data cutoff date for the 31st edition will now be December 31, 2008.

Customers who have already placed a paid order for the 31st edition have the option of leaving their payments in their deposit accounts or requesting a refund.”

When the Red Books became available online back in 2001 or 2002, I began to use them in that format. I was a contract cataloger at the time, working at a variety of different libraries, and I didn’t always have access to the (then) 4-volume print edition. It is often easier to scan the printed version and one gets a different perspective of the subject headings on paper than from the digital version, but I’ve grown accustomed to searching for subject headings with my computer and that is my preferred method of access.

For one thing, there are now 5 – count ‘em 5 – Red Books to browse through looking for that authorized word or phrase. If I want to keep the books close enough that I don’t have to leave my computer, I’d have to get an additional desk! And like the electronic version of anything, the list is easy to revise and is updated nightly. While the print version saves paper and ink by using Pattern Headings, the electronic version can include all subdivisions for every topic. It also includes names and free-floating subdivisions which the print version cannot do without turning into a 10-volume set.

Newcomers to cataloging can benefit from the print version, though, because it includes a very valuable introduction – definitely worth reading – with instructions for how to navigate the Red Books plus the history and background of subject headings. The explanation on the Authorities web site focuses on how to search effectively. That’s important, but it assumes the cataloger already knows all about LCSH and needs only information about what’s different on the web site from the Red Books.

If you haven’t used the online version of LCSH, it’s available at the Library of Congress web site. LC has lots of interesting things on their site, so it’s worth a trip regardless of Subject Headings.

If you’d like to sign up for News and Announcements from the LC’s Cataloging Distribution Service, you can do that here.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

More Technical Services Blogs

I’ve had to update the Blogs page in the Cataloging section of the CMRLS website because I recently discovered two more Blogs that address Technical Services issues.

Metalogue, with the tag line “new directions in cataloging and metadata from around the world”, is hosted by Karen Calhoun, Vice President, WorldCat and Metadata Services for OCLC. In the box labeled “About this Blog” is written: “Metalogue is a forum for sharing thoughts on all things related to knowledge organization by and for libraries”. It appears that others will be joining Karen periodically to “contribute perspectives and experiences about the current and future state of cataloguing and metadata.”

On Descript is a Blog I gladly recommend to new catalogers. So far, the posts consist of basic descriptions of Folksonomy, Metadata, and the Cataloging process with sources cited for more detailed information. The content is not surprising given that the writer is a student at the University of South Florida working towards his Masters in Library and Information Science. Good luck to you, Ken Matthews. I look forward to your joining the ranks of professional Catalogers.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Tech Services Video

There aren't many (any?) videos about Technical Services, but this one is a beauty.

It's a parody of a hospital emergency room (ER), using library Technical Services (TS). While accuracy sometimes suffers for the sake of the performance (as in the scene of two people rushing to repair a book so that it can get back into circulation) the video is a quick, fun look at what goes on in the library that not many know about.

"Thanks" to Illinois' Arlington Heights Memorial Library for producing this little gem.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Rocking the Metaverse with OLAC

Registration for the OLAC-MOUG 2008 Conference is now open!

Online Audiovisual Catalogers (OLAC) and Music OCLC Users Group (MOUG) are holding a joint conference. The conference, called Rocking the Metaverse:A/V Cataloging in a Web X.0 Environment, will be held Friday, September 26 through Sunday, September 28, 2008 in Cleveland, Ohio.

This is my favorite conference. Imagine 200 people talking in MARC codes! It’s the perfect place for a cataloger to be.

In addition to plenary sessions with Lynne Howarth (former Dean of the Faculty of Information Studies at the University of Toronto), Janet Swan Hill (Associate Director for Technical Services, University of Colorado), and another on RDA, there are also four breakout workshops on cataloging various non-book materials.

The conference is not all work. Tours of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame and University Circle are planned for Thursday afternoon and there will be a Friday evening reception at the Cleveland Museum of Art.

There is a Map Cataloging preconference on Thursday September 25 given by Paige Andrew, Faculty Maps Cataloging Librarian at the Pennsylvania State University Libraries.

Detailed information as well as the conference registration form is available, so register now.

I’ll be there. Will you?

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Call for NETSL officers for next year

The following was just posted by the NETSL Corresponding Secretary Barry Hennessey on the NETSL discussion list. Please consider running for the NETSL Executive Board. It's a great educational and professional experience. Additional perks are that you get to meet wonderful people and attend the NETSL Spring Conference for no charge.

If you want to talk about the benefits and responsibilities before making a commitment, feel free to contact me via email or telephone 508-757-4110 x307.


We are looking for a few enthusiastic individuals to run for positions on NETSL’s 2008-2009 Executive Board. Participating on the Board will allow you to have direct input into the conference programs that NETSL sponsors throughout the year as well as into the direction of NETSL as an organization.

We are seeking candidates for the following positions:

· Vice President/President-Elect (a three-year commitment: the VP succeeds to the office of President, and remains a third year on the Board as Past President. The VP must be—or become—a member of the ALCTS division of the American Library Association.)
· Recording Secretary
· Corresponding Secretary
· Treasurer

You can find out more about the duties of the officers from NETSL’s bylaws at Terms begin at the end of NETSL’s fall meeting, held during the NELA annual conference (October 19-21, 2008). With the exception of the Vice President/President-Elect, officers serve one-year terms with the possibility of re-election for a second term.

If you are interested in running or would like more information, please contact Dodie Gaudet at; 508-757-4110 x307.

Ballots will go out by the first week in August, so we will need to hear from you by July 11, 2008 to prepare the slate.