Cataloging & Classification Quarterly

Volume 23, Number 1


EDITORIAL

This issue of Cataloging & Classification Quarterly contains a curiously interesting juxtaposition of articles. The first two articles examine issues in managing cataloging units today. One author discusses the increased amount of non-print materials needing catalog access, in particular remotely-accessible electronic information resources. This new challenge is compared with how librarians coped with similar challenges in the past. A second author looks at the potential for improving the use of support staff and librarians in cataloging units. Obstacles to the redistribution of cataloging responsibilities are reviewed. Next, one cataloger reflects on what it has meant to catalog for thirty years. One wonders about the future. Will all librarians in cataloging departments be managers? Will it be possible for someone starting today to have a career for thirty years primarily doing original cataloging? Will there be discreet cataloging departments in libraries, even the largest, thirty years from now? Of course, no one knows with certainty the answers to these questions or many others when looking ahead thirty years. Yet, the future is fascinating. Stay tuned!

While one can endlessly debate or attempt to foresee the future, there are problems to be resolved today. One article considers the possibility of using collection level cataloging as a means of processing more items with fewer resources. The project using collection-level cataloging for Cornell University's French Revolution Collection provides a case study. Meanwhile, subject cataloging continues to garner a lot of attention. This issue contains an article that describes a study that examined the question of whether academic libraries keep their catalogs up-to-date with changes in the Library of Congress subject heading system.

If subject headings are a frequent subject for debate and study, so is the concept of authorities. Using authority records pertaining to the subject area of the Catholic Church, one author reports on his analysis of the content of the 670 field of those records. The author concludes that control of headings is necessary, even in the online environment. Finally, the books reviewed treat topics related to topics covered in this issue's articles: copy cataloging, especially for support staff; the management of technical services over the past twenty-five years; and principles and applications for the Library of Congress Subject Headings.

It is fitting that this issue contains an article on authorities. Doris Hargrett Clack, who served as a member of the Editorial Board of Cataloging & Classification Quarterly, died on November 22, 1995. Dr. Clack devoted her professional life to teaching cataloging. Her personal research interests lay with authority work and subject control. Doris was always conscientious in fulfilling her responsibilities as a member of the CCQ Editorial Board. She returned her manuscript evaluations promptly even when that meant sending express mail from Africa when she taught in Nigeria term. Whenever I sought input regarding the journal, Doris responded. Doris also contributed through articles to CCQ as well as many other publications. She touched her students directly in the classroom; she touched many others through her publications and efforts in the publication process. I will miss Doris and her valued contributions. We have all benefited from her life's work.

Publications serve not only the present but the future. They have many roles and many contributions. Charles W. Eliot, noted that "Books are the quietest and most constant of friends ... and the most patient of teachers."(1) James Russell Lowell observed that "Books are the bees which carry the quickening pollen from one to another mind."(2) And Henry David Thoreau noted, "Books are the treasured wealth of the world, the fit inheritance of generations and nations."(3) As librarians we contribute to the accumulation and dispersion of knowledge in many ways including by writing, by cataloging, classifying, and organizing publications, and by preserving them into the future. As we honor the memory of Doris Clack, we should be proud of our profession and our role in society.

-- Ruth C. Carter

1)  Charles W. Eliot, The Happy Life, 1896, quoted in Gorton Carruth and Eugene Ehrlich, The Harper Book of American Quotations (New York: Harper & Row, 1988), p. 103.
2)  James Russell Lowell, "Nationality in Literature," published in the North American Review, July 1849, quoted in Carruth and Ehrlich, Harper Book of American Quotations, p. 105.
3)  Henry David Thoreau, Walden, 1854, quoted in Carruth and Ehrlich, Harper Book of American Quotations, p. 107.


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