Subject access is at the heart of an article that examines the use of modified Library of Congress Classification and Subject Headings in the Viticulture and Enology Library at the University of California, Davis. Descriptive cataloging is center stage in the report on the International Conference held in Toronto Canada in October 1997 that explored the principles and future development of the Anglo-American Cataloging Rules. The final article examines the addition of non-traditional access points in theses cataloging and suggests possible changes in direction in cataloging practice.
The issue includes an addenda to the study in issue 25(1) on Henry Bliss, his ideas and achievements including his bibliographic classification system. Changes made to the author's style resulted in loss of information and it is important to carry this clarifying addition to the previous publication. Three book reviews add depth to the material here through looks at publication treating the diverse topics of information seeking and subject representation, the cataloging of legal literature, and the future of catalogs. The Cataloging News column completes the issue.
The same issue (25(1)) that omitted vital information in the article about Bliss and his classification scheme had an error introduced in my editorial. Maybe not many readers noticed, but it was there. Again, this was interjected during the publication process. In attempting to insert some consistency in one situation, an error was created. The attributes of two articles were incorrectly associated with two others. I apologize for this mistake. I am also aware that misleading or absent information leaves the reader of a publication or user of a catalog record without information that might have been available or, even worse, with just plain wrong information. When I took cataloging the professor pointed out that a card misfiled meant that the information was unavailable. In today's online catalogs, typographical errors may be lost in all but the most sophisticated systems; fields not added to a bibliographic description such as added entries mean that some access is lost; and inappropriate subject headings may totally misdirect the user regarding the content of a work.
The carrier of the information may be electronic and it may be accessible around the world, but inaccurate or incomplete records are still misleading. Cataloging in its broadest sense still has the same mission of connecting the information seeker with the information he or she desires. We need to strive to have our catalogs as complete and accurate as possible. Logical organization of the information is also important. While we are all pressed for time, the best chance for getting it right is the first time. There is often not time to redo and even machine based error detection programs will find only some of the errors and quite likely none of the omissions. Alternatively, some access is usually better than no access. As always, a question of finding the optimal balance comes in. But as Benjamin Franklin once observed, "Lost Time is never found again."
He also noted that "You may delay, but Time will not." We need to do the best we can with our time so that present and future information seekers will find what they need.
Quality control balanced with quantity is an important, indeed essential, component of the wise use of time.
-- Ruth C. Carter' Benjamin Franklin in Poor Richard's Almanack, 1748 and 1758, quoted in Gorton Carruth and Eugene Ehrlich, the Harper Book ofAmerican Quotations. New York: Harper & Row, 1988, p. 552.