Cataloging (or more broadly organizing information) is an endlessly
challenging and interesting area. This
issue of Cataloging & Classification Quarterly demonstrates once again the
field’s diversity and how it has worldwide repercussions and impact.
The current reconsideration of cataloging and its conceptual foundations
is not limited to one country or one geographic area.
Changes in information technology, the volume of information, and
globalization have combined to inspire the formulation of new approaches.
The first article proposes that the time is now for rethinking cataloging
concepts. A descriptive article of
the British Online Public Access Catalog 2, a new concept in OPAC design and
bibliographic control, follows.
As I have remarked in previous editorials, the international access and
use of catalogs, along with the international makeup of many libraries’
collections that are represented in the catalogs, has increased the need to
accommodate users of different languages. A
research project that compares controlled vocabulary searching with keyword
searching in a large catalog containing materials in Spanish and English is
reported. Another article discusses
the current status and future prospects of centralized cataloging in China.
One article examines indexing form and genre terms in the Harvard
University OPAC. The articles include with a review of alternate
classification systems in Art libraries. The
Book Review section includes a lengthy review of the proceedings of the recent
Toronto Conference and also provides a list of books recently received.
The Cataloging News column rounds out this issue.
While cataloging issues are very important, and probably more so than many realize, they are rarely matters of “life or death.” Yet many individuals spend a considerable portion of their lives dealing with cataloging and making information resources available to others. One of the people who did just that was Elaine K. Rast who for many years served on Cataloging & Classification Quarterly’s Editorial Board. My personal friendship with Elaine dated back to the 1970’s when we served on an OCLC union list committee or working group of one sort or another. Elaine was always cheerful and determined to achieve the best we could for the users of OCLC and its union lists. When I assumed editorship of CCQ in 1984, Elaine was one of the first people I invited to join the Editorial Board. She was always a source of wise counsel and timely reviews. Our fortunes were linked further when I served as President of the Association for Library Collections and Technical Services (ALCTS) during 1990-1991 and Elaine held office that year as Chair of the Serials Section. It was with great sorrow that I learned of Elaine’s death from cancer in February 1999. I will miss her as a friend and colleague. She will be remembered fondly by those of us who had the pleasure of knowing and working with her. Many others will benefit from her long and tireless efforts on behalf of CCQ, and her many professional activities in the areas of serials and cataloging. We are grateful for Elaine’s life and that she lived it in the spirit of the words of Charles A. Beard who wrote, “I am convinced that the world is not a mere bog in which men and women trample themselves in the mire and die. Something magnificent is taking place here amid the cruelties and tragedies, and the supreme challenge to intelligence is that of making the noblest and best in our curious heritage prevail."
-- Ruth C. Carter
 Charles A. Beard, quoted in Will Durant, On the Meaning of Life, 1932, in Gorton Carruth and Eugene Ehrlich, The Harper Book of American Quotations (New York: Harper & Row, 1988), p. 341.