Best of CCQ

Best of CCQ v.46 Awarded to David Bade

David Bade, Monographic Cataloger, Joseph Regenstein Library, University of Chicago, is the recipient of the award for the best paper in CCQ volume 46. The awards panel, Robert Holley (convener), Deirdre Kiorgaard, and Nancy Williamson, selected "The Perfect Bibliographic Record: Platonic Ideal, Rhetorical Strategy or Nonsense?" for its research on how the concept of the perfect record entered into the vocabulary of librarianship and influenced discussions of quality control. Drawing upon a wide array of resources, he argues that the perfect record is used most often "as a rhetorical strategy for reducing the complex and context-dependent issue of quality to an absurdity" that then cuts off any meaningful examination of the concept. On a positive note, he concludes by providing five cases in which the mention of "the perfect record" leads to discussions that are "responsible, informed and beyond ideology."

The awards panel specifically noted his novel approach, his bringing together materials from many different sources, his broad perspective, and the high quotability that comes from his rigorous analysis and excellent style. They also believed that others could build upon his methodology to attack other myths and straw men within the world of librarianship. "The Perfect Bibliographic Record: Platonic Ideal, Rhetorical Strategy or Nonsense?" appears in CCQ 46(1):109-133 (

Best of CCQ v.45 Awarded to Jean Weihs and Lynne Howarth

Volume 45 of CCQ had many well-written articles on a wide array of topics relevant to catalogers, making the naming of a winner a difficult task. The awards panel, consisting of Bobby Bothmann, Mary Curran and Dorothy McGarry (convener), are pleased to announce that the Best of CCQ v.45 has been awarded to Jean Weihs and Lynne Howarth for their article "Designating Materials: From ‘Germane Terms’ to Element Types" which appears in CCQ 45(4):3-24 ( The article, on the eve of the publication of RDA, is a timely examination of the history of the general material designation (GMD) from its evolution as a concept within the AACR tradition to the formal publication of a GMD list in 1978 and through the content versus carrier discussion of the nineties, and ends with a well-crafted, explanation of RDA's media type, carrier type, and content type. With the imminent publication of RDA, this article invites other scholars to join the theoretical discussion of RDA. The GMD is a good start for the RDA content discussion since it is a topic about which all cataloguers have opinions and a discussion that most of us have followed throughout the decade since the International Conference on the Principles and Future Development of AACR.

Best of CCQ for Vol. 44

Richard Smiraglia, Professor, Palmer School of Library and Information Science, Long Island University, has received the award for the best article published in volume 44 of Cataloging & Classification Quarterly. Smiraglia's paper, "The ‘Works’ Phenomenon and Best Selling Books," summarizes the results of an original piece of empirical research that has been built upon the author's earlier investigations into the types of bibliographic relationships that can be generated from progenitor works. He reviews and expands upon the nature of works in general, and relates it to the current cataloging environment. As the cataloging community inches closer to adopting a new cataloging code, founded on a more conceptual FRBR-based entity-relationship model, the author's research is particularly relevant to today's cataloging environment by further elucidating how complex the relationships are among a work and its network of instantiations (both derivations and mutations). In this study, Smiraglia applies his earlier research into bibliographic families to best-selling books to explore how the popularity of a work may affect the existence and frequency of derivative and mutated works. He also looks at how the Web environment may increase the need for more explicitly identified bibliographic relationships among progenitor works and their instantiations. The research methodology the author uses is rigorous, the writing style is exemplary, and his conclusions are thought provoking and instructional.

Honorable Mention is awarded to John Bowman, School of Library, Archive & Information Studies, University College London. Bowman's paper, "Annotation: A Lost Art in Cataloguing," explores the emergence and development of annotations in cataloging history. In his clear delineation and progression of the dilemmas surrounding early annotations added to catalog records, such as descriptive vs. subject, objective vs. evaluative, and satisfying users' need for more information vs. economy of cataloging, that started in the late 1800s and continued until 1970, Bowman provides his readers with a vivid picture of how the "pioneers" of cataloging strived to provide information about content. The author connects the past with present by relating the old annotations to the note rules in AACR2 and by discussing current trends to link information from publishers to records in catalogs. Despite its title and author's concluding pronouncement that the "old" annotation is "dead," the paper hints at a future where the art of annotation might be "rising" again, but in forms that are better suited to a digital age.

These articles appear in v.44, no. 3/4 (2007): 179-195 and v.44, no. 1/2 (2007): 95-111, respectively, and also in Cataloger, Editor, and Scholar: Essays in Honor of Ruth C. Carter, edited by Robert P. Holley. The members of the awards panel were Daniel Joudrey, Aiping Chen-gaffey, and Arlene Taylor (Chair).

Best of CCQ for Vol. 43

"Library of Congress Controlled Vocabularies and Their Application to the Semantic Web" co-authored by Corey A. Harper and Dr. Barbara B. Tillett has been selected as the best article published in v.43 of Cataloging & Classification Quarterly. The award panel states, "We appreciate the way the authors clearly and cogently addressed the complex intersections of controlled vocabularies and semantic web concepts. The discussion spans a broad range of terminologies and encoding systems, highlighting both the advantages to be gained and the areas where caution is needed. Though the panel found much to like in many of the articles in volume 43, the Harper/Tillett article is our consensus favorite for its breadth, depth, and clarity in addressing this timely topic."

This article appears in CCQ 43(3/4): 47-68 (, and also in Knitting the Semantic Web, edited by Jane Greenberg and Eva Méndez. Members of the awards panel were Mary Curran, Stephen Hearn (Chair), and David Miller.

Best of CCQ for Vol. 42

Dr. Francis L. Miksa, Professor, School of Information, University of Texas at Austin, has received the award for the best article published in volume 42 of Cataloging & Classification Quarterly. His article, "The DDC Relative Index," is a detailed analysis of the intricacies of the various indexes to the Dewey Decimal Classification, their origin, development, structure, and their unique and complex nature. It is thorough and detailed research in which the author sets out his approach in the form of three questions to which he seeks answers. These questions focus on the fundamental aspects of the indexes - the representation of the concepts, their conceptual context in relation to both their notational location and their meaning at those locations, and the relationships between the indexes and the special auxiliary tables. The analysis is detailed and extensive and reaches across the indexes to all twenty-two editions of DDC since its first publication in 1876. The author approaches his research systematically using the three aspects; the conclusions reveal both strengths and weaknesses of the system and identify areas for further inquiry.

In the course of the research, the author exhibits a highly intelligent grasp of the intricate system he is analyzing and has a deep and theoretical understanding of the complex conceptual relationships among subjects generally. For those who create indexes of this kind, the article has much to say about their design and about the nature of concept relationships. As well, cataloging practitioners could benefit a great deal from what the author has to say, that would aid in their intelligent use of the indexes in practice. The research methodology is well designed and Miksa has a clear writing style that results in a logical and systematic presentation. Moreover, he has managed to achieve his goal of studying the important features of the indexes without becoming overwhelmed by the "sheer magnitude" of the subject. By and large the sources are the indexes themselves and there are useful examples and extensive footnotes. The research is original and, indeed, the author certainly accomplishes what he had set out to do.

This article appears in CCQ 42(3/4): 65-95 (, and also in Moving Beyond the Presentation Layer: Content and Context in the Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC) System edited by Joan S. Mitchell and Diane Vizine-Goetz. The awards panel consisted of Michael Carpenter, Nancy J. Williamson, and Brad Young (Chair).

Best of CCQ for Vol. 41

Volume 41 of CCQ differs somewhat from other volumes of the journal. It contains a number of general articles on cataloguing matters, but more than one half of the volume (470 pages) is devoted to a special topic "Education for Library Cataloging: International Perspectives." This latter section contains articles describing library and information science programs throughout the world. Some of the individual articles do not fit particularly well into the criteria set for selecting the best article. Nevertheless, together these articles provide a wide overview of cataloging education across the world which is significant in itself. Therefore, the panel has decided to recommend two awards for this volume. The titles chosen are as follows:
"A Beginner’s Guide for Subject Analysis of Theses and Dissertations in the Hard Sciences" by Lona Hoover, Assistant Professor/Monographic Cataloger at Mississippi State University Libraries

At first glance this article seems rather specialized, but it is a topic on which material is highly relevant and will appeal to cataloging audiences in general, and especially to catalogers in academic libraries who are required to meet tenure requirements. The purpose of the article is clear, depth of detail is excellent, and illustrations are very helpful. It is interesting for the help that it gives. It is well written and practical in nature while still covering subject analysis principles, tools, and standards. It could be generalized for use with other types of materials. It appears to be well researched and is well documented. The article appears in CCQ 41(1): 133-161 (

"Education and Training on the Nature and Description of Documents: Polish University Studies and Professional Librarianship Schools" by Anna Sitarska, Professor, Institute of Librarianship and Information Science, Jagiellonian University, Cracow.

Many of the "education" articles on this topic are quite ordinary and statements of facts about courses and curricula. This article is somewhat different. It is well researched and includes extensive documentation and explanatory footnotes along with charts to illustrate curricula. It is critical in pointing out difficulties and it looks to the future. There is evidence of extensive research and the article is carefully executed. Also it focuses on cataloging education in the broader context discussing some of the fundamental issues and their implications as opposed to the narrower concentration on courses. The article appears in CCQ 41(3/4): 227-267 (

The panel included Kathryn Luther Henderson, Janet Lee-Smeltzer, and Nancy J. Williamson (convener) and was unanimous on the choices made.

Best of CCQ for Vol. 40

Michael A. Chopey, Catalog Librarian, University of Hawaii at Manoa Libraries, author of "Planning and Implementing a Metadata-Driven Digital Repository" has received an award for the best article published in volume 40 of Cataloging & Classification Quarterly.

The article does a very thorough job of what it set out to do, namely present "a brief introduction to the purpose of metadata and how it has developed, and an overview of the steps to be taken and the functional expertise required in planning for and implementing the creation, storage, and use of metadata for resource discovery in a local repository of information objects." One of the greatest needs in the cataloging community these days is for advice on concrete steps on how practicing catalogers can make the transition to assuming an active and knowledgeable role in the non-MARC metadata world developing all around them.

The article addresses a wide audience: Though clearly developed for catalogers, this article makes for great reading for all those other players in a digital library project that need to interact with catalogers. It promotes understanding of cataloging issues among non-cataloging audience. The article also has wide applicability to both practicing librarians and researchers, since it offers concrete steps grounded in best practices for systematic planning and immediate implementation, as well as specific recommendations that may be tested in a research setting. The quality of the writing is lucid and engaging. The sources used were authoritative and appropriate.

Even though everything digital seems to be in flux, this article is and will likely remain a good summary of the basic considerations to be kept in mind when initiating and running a metadata project. The analysis of steps to be taken in developing metadata-driven repositories is sufficiently penetrating and function-oriented (as supposed to being defined by specific job titles and technologies) that it should remain relevant for some time to come. Such a helpful overview, benefiting both catalogers and non-catalogers alike, had not existed before. The members of the panel have first-hand experience benefiting from this article and recommending it to other colleagues.

The article appears in CCQ 40(3/4): 255-287 (

Members of the award panel were John Riemer (chair), Laurel Jizba, and Daniel Lovins.

Best of CCQ for Vol. 39

David Miller, Head of Technical Services, Curry College and Patrick Le Boeuf, Library Curator, Bibliothèque nationale de France, co-authors of "Such stuff as dreams are made on": How does FRBR fit performing arts?, have received an award for the best article published in volume 39 of Cataloging & Classification Quarterly. The article appears in CCQ v.39(3/4): 151-178

The award panel state, "This captivatingly crafted article brings a panoply of historiography and knowledge organization to bear on the problem of how to define and describe the records of evanescence: that is, performances. The dream metaphor, which is all mixed up with the show-biz metaphor, which reaches back to Shakespeare’s Tempest is all too apt for the nature of performances, and especially for their treatment with FRBR. The paper is timely, original, innovative, extremely well-documented, and of enduring value. It has appeared at a critical juncture for the application of the FRBR model in the bibliographic control of performances. We applaud the authors. Bravo!" The award panel consisted of Richard Smiraglia (Chair), Brad Young, and Dorothy McGarry.

Best of CCQ for Vol. 38

Barbara B. Tillett, Chief, Cataloging Policy and Support Office at the Library of Congress, has received the award for the best article published in volume 38 of Cataloging & Classification Quarterly. The article, "Authority Control: State of the Art and New Perspectives," provides a superb analysis of the transition of authority control from manual files to the Internet environment. She first examines visions for authority control in the 1970s and 80s and evaluates current successes and failures in achieving this vision. She then outlines a new strategy to put users first by enabling systems that would give them their preferred form names. Next, she moves beyond theory to suggest new models for authority control that might eventually lead to improved access to Internet resources. The panel commends her for her excellent grasp of history, her critical evaluation of current practice, and her visionary yet practical suggestions for the future.

This article was published in CCQ 38(3/4) and also in Authority Control in Organizing and Accessing Information: Definition and International Experience, edited by Arlene G. Taylor and Barbara B. Tillett. The award panel consisted of Bobby Ferguson, Stephen Hearn, and Robert Holley (Chair).

Best of CCQ for Vol. 37

Maria Inês Cordeiro, Library Information System Manager at the Art Library of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Lisbon, Portugal, has received the award for the best article published in volume 37 of Cataloging & Classification Quarterly. Her article, "Knowledge Organization from Libraries to the Web: Strong Demands on the Weakest Side of International Librarianship," provides an excellent theoretical basis on library subject access systems, is backed up by good sources, and reads as if it were a view from outside the field, thus providing an excellent summary and unique perspective. The article offers a comprehensive yet pragmatic analysis of subject access in an international perspective. It is published in CCQ 37(1/2): 65-79 and also in Knowledge Organization and Classification in International Information Retrieval, edited by Nancy J. Williamson and Clare Beghtol.

Honorable mention was awarded to Melissa A. Riesland for her article, "Tools of the Trade: Vocabulary Management Software." Reisland's article provides a good overview of the 'tools of the trade' for vocabulary management software. It is written in a clear and highly readable style. The article's introduction provides a clear analysis of the current state of controlled vocabularies. Even readers not working with vocabulary management software will find this paper interesting and informative. It is published in CCQ 37(3/4):155-171 and also in The Thesaurus: Review, Renaissance, and Revision edited by Sandra K. Roe and Alan R. Thomas. The award panel consisted of Deirdre Kiorgaard and Jeffrey Beall.

Best of CCQ for Vol. 36

Brian E. C. Schottlaender, University Librarian at University of California-San Diego, has received the award for the best article published in volume 36 of Cataloging & Classification Quarterly. His article, "Why Metadata? Why Me? Why Now?", was published in CCQ 36(3/4). It also appears in Electronic Cataloging: AACR2 and Metadata for Serials and Monographs, edited by Sheila S. Intner, Sally C. Tseng, and Mary Lynette Larsgaard and published by Haworth Press.

The award panel (Sherry L. Vellucci, Alan R. Thomas, and Sandy Roe) stated: "The straightforward structure of "Why Metadata? Why Me? Why Now?" immediately grabs the reader; Schottlaender carries the content forward with energy and pace. He does a masterful job of defining the vocabulary of metadata and describing the important components of the metadata environment in a clear and articulate manner. His depth and breadth of understanding of the issues and challenges presented by the confluence of cataloging and metadata is impressive. He promotes a holistic approach to cataloging and metadata that is long overdue in the cataloging community and skillfully explains why catalogers should become actively involved in this joint venture by bringing their organizational knowledge and skills to the metadata table."

Best of CCQ for Vol. 35

The panel that was formed for the purpose of selecting the best article from Cataloging & Classification Quarterly, Volume 35 has chosen "Principle Issues: Catalog Paradigms, Old and New" by Elisabeth de Rijk Spanhoff, State Library of Louisiana. Ms. Spanhoff analyzes both old and new attempts to isolate the fundamental principles underlying AACR. She does this in part to evaluate the adequacy of AACR as a descriptive cataloging code for the online environment. Ms. Spanhoff points out that in addition to the lack of agreement in identifying AACR's principles, the word "principle" itself has been used in several different senses in these debates. The panel selected this article by Ms. Spanhoff for her ability to combine a historical analysis of cataloging principles with commentary on how the various theoreticians and standard setting bodies are working on creating new principles for the online environment. Members of the panel were Robert P. Holley (chair), Lyn Condron, and Carolynne Myall.

The article can be found in Cataloging & Classification Quarterly v.35, no. 1/2, pp. 37-59 (, and also appears in Historical Aspects of Cataloging and Classification (edited by Martin D. Joachim).
Congratulations, Ms. Spanhoff!

Best of CCQ for vol. 33 and vol. 34

August 1, 2003
Here are the winning papers for the Best of CCQ volumes 33 and 34:

Volume 33: Modeling Videos as Works / by James M. Turner and Abby A. Goodrum.
Honorable mention: Lucy is "Enciente": the Power of Action in Defining a Work / by Andrea Leigh

Volume 34: What Else Do You Need to Know? / by Janet Swan Hill

Congratulations to the winners and my appreciation to all the authors in both volumes. Also thanks to those who served on the "Best of" Panels: volume 33, Jeffrey Beall, Laurel Jizba, and Dorothy McGarry; volume 34, Felipe Martinez, John Sluk and Elizabeth Steinhagen.

Best of CCQ for vol. 31 and vol. 32

September 20, 2002

I am delighted to announce the following winners for the Best of Cataloging & Classification Quarterly for vol. 31 and vol. 32.

The Best of CCQ vol. 31 award goes to Terry Simpkins at Middlebury College for his article "Cataloging Popular Music Records." The award panel consisting of John Riemer, Alva Stone, and Dajin Sun described Simpkins article in CCQ 31(2)as: "This systematic, easy-to-follow tutorial on the specific challenges of cataloging popular music sound recordings fills a gap. Readers in both public and academic libraries will find the paper useful, now and the future. It identifies the cataloging challenges posed by this material and fully cites the sources. The writing style is of a high quality and sets a good example for contributors to the library literature."

The panel also selected an honorable mention: "A Somewhat Personal History of Nonbook Catalogy" by Jean Weihs. "This is a fascinating "behind the scenes" look at how cataloging rules for special formats are developed and evolve over time, especially for these media, which have had such rapid technological changes. It is a well-written, comprehensive, and useful historical record. The personal touch is remarkable, and yet it is balanced with the viewpoints of Others. The article therefore serves as a model for other writers of historical pieces to follow." This article was in CCQ 31(3/4). Both articles also appear in The Audio-Visual Current edited by Sandra K. Roe which is the book version of CCQ issues 31(2) and 31(3/4).

The Best of CCQ vol. 32 award goes to Clement Arsenault at the University of Montréal for his article, "Word Division in the Transcription of Chinese Script in the Title Fields of Bibliographic Records." The panel (consisting of Richard Smiraglia, Roger Brisson, and Dick Miller described Arsenault's study as a "stimulating article that even for non Asian-language specialists provides a clear and eminently understandable overview of the challenges in providing access to Chinese-language materials in library catalogs. ... Bestowing the Best of CCQ Award to Arsenault's article acknowledges the author's writing and scholarly abilities in presenting a complex, multi-faceted topic in a fresh and interesting narrative that is well-organized and logically presented. Librarians curious to know more on the Pinyin conversion of library catalogs will find their time well-spent in reading Arsenault's most interesting article." Arsenault's article is in CCQ 32(3).

As editor of CCQ the selection of the Best of CCQ articles for volumes 31 and 32 show that cataloging and classification are broad fields with a large range of significant topics and significant articles. It is a pleasure to be part of such a dynamic and interesting field.

Ruth Carter, Editor CCQ

Best of CCQ for Vol. 26

July 18, 1999.

Mavis Molto and Elaine Svenonius are the winners of the first "Best of CCQ award" for their article "An Electronic Interface to ACCR2" which appeared in CCQ 26(1).The panel making the selection was CCQ Editorial Board members Kathryn Luther Henderson, Martin Joachim, and J. Bradford Young. They described the winning article as "The research is well-designed and of both enduring value and broad interest because of its applicability for practical use. The article is clearly written and well documented. The reasons for the research are clear and straightforward, and they accomplish their objectives. It recommends an important departure from book-based to electronic access to the rules. The article also identifies many of the problems to be overcome as well as suggests topics for additional research. Because many technical and public services librarians are closely tied to AACR2, this is not an isolated or specialized type of article of interest to only a few. This paper persuasively takes librarians from where we are now and points us in an important new direction." Molto and Svenonius will share the $500 cash award for having the best article in CCQ volume 26.

Ruth Carter, Editor of Cataloging & Classification Quarterly, is pleased to announce that the committee also named two honorable mentions. Virginia M. Scheschy’s "Cataloging Procedures on the Web: the Greatest Thing Since MARC" was cited for its value to practitioners. Beth Russell, author of "Hidden Wisdom and Unseen Treasure: Revisiting Cataloging in Medieval Libraries" received a special honorable mention for her historical article with its engaging look at part of our collective past. Carter notes that in addition to research articles that CCQ continues to value practical articles that provide guidance and help in every day work and teaching situations as well as those articles of an historical nature.

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