Monday, December 29, 2008

Cataloging and Classification Mini-Courses coming soon!

The CMRLS Continuing Education catalog is now out! There are lots of great programs and a full schedule for Tech Services people.

It's CMRLS’ turn to offer the Cataloging and Classification BLT. BLT stands for Basic Library Training which is a series of mini-courses (Administration, Cataloging & Classification, Collection Development and Reference) required by all Massachusetts public library directors in towns of under 10,000 who do not have a Masters degree in Library Science.

However, many different people take these courses. Some are not currently directors, but are planning for the future. Some want training more formal than OTJ (on the job). Some have an MLS (or MLIS) and want a practical refresher. Regardless, the C&C mini-course is always overenrolled and we have to turn people away.

That’s why I’ve scheduled two sessions in slightly different formats in two different places to try to meet the needs of as many people as possible.

The first session will be held at CMRLS on Thursdays, February 5 and 12. If either of those days is snowed out, I’ve also reserved February 19. The class will run from 10:00 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. with a half-hour lunch break.

For the second session, I’ve reserved the meeting room at the Lunenburg Public Library (if you haven’t been there, it’s beautiful; be sure to visit the Children’s Room and look up at the ceiling) on Tuesdays: March 24, March 31 and April 7 from 1:00 till 4:30.

Both courses will cover the exact same topics in the same order: some history, Anglo-American Cataloging Rules (AACR2), Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH), Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC), Machine Readable Cataloging (MARC), and Resource Description and Access (RDA - the new AACR2). As we cover each topic, we’ll actually be creating bibliographic records from scratch. I’ve been a cataloger for many years, and I’ll have lots of anecdotes to share. I expect some of you do, too.

Each session is limited to 20 people so that everyone will get some personal attention. Be sure to register soon for either the February or March session. This will be THE place to talk all things cataloging.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

OLAC and Its Newsletter

Yesterday, I received my print version of the OLAC (Online Audiovisual Catalogers) Newsletter. As usual, it’s chock full of stuff that’s incredibly interesting to catalogers.

This is the first issue since OLAC’s conference in Cleveland and there are minutes of meetings plus reports of the conference programs. Conference coverage doesn’t fit into one issue, so the remainder will be included in the next Newsletter.

Fortunately, you don’t have to be an OLAC member to read all about the Conference, book reviews, and other OLAC news. The Newsletters are available to everyone on the OLAC website.

While reading the Newsletter, I learned that the OLAC website had been moved, so I updated the link on the CMRLS Catalogers’ Professional Organizations page. I also learned that CAPC (OLAC’s Cataloging Policy Committee) has just completed its Guide to Cataloging Playaway Devices, so I added a link to it on the CMRLS Catalogers Sites page.

In fact, I revised the page slightly since CAPC has produced lots of useful training materials. I included a link to their entire page.

One of the real treats of the OLAC Newsletter is the section called Cataloger’s Judgment: Questions and Answers compiled by Jay Weitz of OCLC. These are the questions that catalogers have every day as they go about their work of trying to organize the world’s output so that people can find what they're looking for. If you catalog non-book materials, Jay’s column is a “must read”.

But then, so is the entire OLAC Newsletter.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

More Technical Services Blogs

I’ve added a couple more links to the list of Technical Services Blogs on the CMRLS Cataloging pages.

Metadata Matters is a new blog created by Diane Hillmann. Diane is Director of Metadata Initiatives and the Information Institute of Syracuse and a major figure in the Metadata world. She’s a proponent of RDA and has given several presentations explaining how it is intended to work.

A few weeks ago I received an email suggesting that I add a blog called TSLL TechScans. While the primary audience of the blog is Law Librarians, the posts contain information useful to all people involved in Technical Services.

If you know of any Technical Services blogs (or sites) useful to TSers, please let me know. I want the cataloger’s pages to be “the” place to go for up-to-date information.

Monday, December 15, 2008

How Soon RDA?

A week ago Friday (was it really that long ago?) I attended a program given by Diane Hillmann at NELINET. This was a more detailed version of the one she presented at MLA in May. Diane’s handouts are available here.

Diane’s talk was entitled The Future of Catalogers and Cataloging but was really an explanation of RDA (Resource Description and Access) and how it is intended to work.

However, before you read through the handouts, I recommend reading Everything is Miscellaneous by David Weinberger. David’s book sets the stage for Diane’s talk.

It’s difficult to appreciate RDA’s potential unless you are thinking “World Wide Web”. The difference between AACR2 and RDA is similar to the difference between a book and a website. In many ways, they look the same. Both generally have text and images. Websites have “pages” and you can look at a web page and then look at another web page similar to looking at different pages of a book. However, when reading a book, if you want to follow up on a reference you’ve seen, you need to find another book, and that book may or may not be handy. With a web page, you merely click on the reference to get to its source.

RDA is meant to be used online. Like a website, its order doesn’t matter; you click to where you want to go. However, RDA is not yet in online form and is only available as several PDFs. It’s difficult to judge the usefulness of something if it’s in a different form – like looking at a two-dimensional picture of a three-dimensional object.

RDA’s shortfall, however in addition to its software not being available, it that the infrastructure on which it depends is also not available. Instead of having an author’s (or illustrator’s or composer’s) name listed in its authorized form on a bibliographic record, there is a URI (Universal Resource Identifier) that links to a database of authorized names like the Library of Congress Name Authority File. The Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names can be used for cities and countries. Both LCNAF and the TGN offer far more information than a single name (so that users could search on “Big Apple” and still find New York City, for example). But equivalent databases do not exist for much of the information in a bibliographic record. Without these databases to which to link, the new RDA bib record is almost exactly like the current AACR2 bib record.

There’s an amazing new world out there on the World Wide Web, but we don’t yet have the tools to take advantage of it.