Cataloging & Classification Quarterly

Volume 28, Number 1 2000


EDITORIAL

We are living in an incredible time. Not the first incredible time, but truly one that is awesome. Many of us are stunned (yet delighted) by the massive shift from the national to the international; from the manual to the electronic; from the slow communication represented by the postal letter of even a few years ago to the instantaneous communication by e-mail. In these days of online following of the news from any point around the globe it is difficult to imagine what was involved even two hundred years ago getting an ambassador across the oceans his instructions or even communicating with friends or relatives who lived a few hundred miles away. A trip by boat across the Atlantic, for example, took several months. By the time a message arrived, the situation could have changed dramatically. The Battle of New Orleans (1815) is one well known example of such a time lag. Andrew Jackson gained widespread fame from his victory there, but the war between the United States and Great Britain had already ended.

Cataloging as known in the late 20th century libraries did not exist when Jackson became a hero. Today it is an accepted fact of life in organizing information and it reflects development in society at large. Whether we are looking at the evolution in subject headings to accommodate new concepts, a revision in acceptable terminology or changing geographic entries, catalog subject entries in large part keep up with the times. The same applies to classification. In the area of descriptive cataloging, today’s reflection of the internationalization and instant communication from any one part of the globe to another, is seen in work taking place to revise the rules along with efforts to bring diverse rules into a compatible state. No where is this more true than in current efforts to harmonize the bibliographic control of serials. This issue’s first article treats the concurrent efforts to harmonize the revisions of ISBD(S), AACR, and the ISSN rules.

Several following articles are from the international arena as the papers were originally presented at the IFLA meeting held in Amsterdam in August 1998. One looks at the cataloging of CD-ROMS using the ISBD(ER) rules in a French public library; in the second a Finnish author examines recommendations for the ISBD for electronic records.

This issue also includes articles that present an interview with the new Superintendent of Documents in the United States; an analysis of the Library of Congress PA classification schedule for Greek Folk literature; and a practical look at whether doing name authority work for OCLC copy cataloging is worth the effort. A letter to the editor and a response to the letter along with the News Column conclude the issue. Altogether a diverse group of articles that range from the theoretical to the practical to the human interest. We have an exciting and infinitely challenging field. What fun!

Just as the times we live in are inevitably and inexorably changing so are our individual lives and circumstances changing. By the time this issue is published, I will be retired from my position at the University of Pittsburgh, but not retired from editing. One anticipates such a change with both trepidation and excitement. All things considered I am delighted to have the opportunity to spend more time on editing as that has constituted one of my most pleasurable activities during the past fifteen years. Please take note though of my new contact information which should appear in the preliminary pages of this journal. Just in case it is handier for you here, please note that my telephone number is now: (724) 940-4192 and that my FAX is: (724) 940-4193. I can be reached by e-mail at either: rcc13+@pitt.edu or rccarter@nauticom.net. Do let me hear from you. I want to make Cataloging & Classification Quarterly a journal that records for the future what is happening now and that at the same time is valuable and thought provoking today.

-- Ruth C. Carter


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