This issue features articles treating several topics familiar to readers of this journal. Yet, despite familiarity each offers something new. One author suggests that library education with its dual importance of theory and practice could benefit from the active learning concept. Another article focuses on one aspect of descriptive cataloging. Not only are rules covering dates complex yet seldom discussed, but difficulties multiply for French language materials which under law must bear dates of legal deposit. Often these are additional to stated dates of publication and copyright.
Both cooperative and contract cataloging are "hot topics." In this case an author examines how academic and research libraries might use two or three-way cooperative exchanges or contractual arrangements to reduce the size of their foreign language backlogs. An in-depth discussion of the online sereies authority file at Hofstra University provides a useful model for libraries that have not taken the step of moving their authority files online. And, a study of romanization standards for Chinese language treats the issues needing consideration in order to plan for a conversion from the Wade-Giles romanization system to the Pinyin system. Although Pinyin is most easily understood by users, the United States adheres to the Wade-Giles system as its standard. Most other countries and the United Nations as well as the International Standards Organization recognize Pinyin at the standard for transliterating Chinese. A number of book reviews, all related to classification topics, plus the news column round out this current issue.
As the world gets smaller and smaller standards become even more important. Electronic mail has made possible rapid communication that even under good circumstances would take postal mail ten days or two weeks. Neither is effective telephone communication across the globe easy. Not only is making contact difficult due to meetings, lunch hours, and days out of the office, but time differences exacerbate the problem.
With the importance of standards increasing, not decreasing, I am pleased that a guest edited issue on formal and informal standards related to cataloging and classification is in process. John J. Riemer is guest editor of this timely issue. Standards setting is normally a consensus building process that needs to have wide participation. If you, your institution, or an organization to which you belong, has an opportunity to participate in standards development, I urge you to follow Theordore Roosevelt's advice and "seize the moment." Complaing after the fact is often a futile pasttime. As Roosevelt also noted, "It beehoves every man to remember that the work of the critic . . . is of altogether secondary importance, and that, in the end, progress is accomplished by the man who does . . . things." (1)
-- Ruth C. Carter
1. Theodore Roosevelt quoted in The Harper Book of American Quotations (New York: Harper & Row, 1988), p. 28.