Cataloging & Classification Quarterly

Volume 28, Number3 1999


EDITORIAL

              With this issue Cataloging & Classification Quarterly introduces an interview feature that will appear in general issues.  In the inaugural interview Tom Delsey from the National Library of Canada discusses his logical model of the cataloging code, AACR, and MARC.  Carolynne Myall serves as Editor for CCQ Interviews.  If you have suggestions for someone you would like to see featured in an interview, please get in touch with her.  We hope that you will like this new feature as much as we do. 

            Three authors describe their research study that examined subject heading understanding; in particular its findings about changes in meanings for subdivided subject headings.  A second article examines the cataloging of microreproductions and digitized texts and concludes with the author’s proposal to adopt the Library of Congress microform model for the cataloging of digitizations.  In another article the author proposes an approach for managing vocabulary for reference databases on the Web.  The approach is intended for domain specific databases that have much of the reference material remaining in non-digital form.

            Two very practical articles follow.  The retrospective conversion experiences and lessons learned at the University of Botswana Libraries provide important points to remember in planning conversion of manual catalogs to online.  The author allows us to follow steps in automating a library in a country in Africa where such basics as a dependable power supply cannot be taken for granted.  Nonetheless, lessons that the author wants to convey to others in parts of the world still facing retrospective conversion of catalog records and automation of their catalogs include the importance of planning, standards, quality of records, and taking the time to do things right the first time.

            Many of us have been, are, or will become supervisors at some time.  One new catalog department head shares a survey that she used in getting to know her staff’s perception of work related issues and considerations.  The author initially presented these remarks at the ALCTS/CCS Heads of Cataloging Discussion Group at ALA Midwinter 1999. 

            Three book reviews are included in this issue of CCQ.  Two treat second editions of now classic books, one on technical services and the other covering the theory and practice of indexing and abstracting.  The management of serials in libraries is the topic of the third book reviewed here.  The Cataloging News column concludes the issue.

Once again, this CCQ issue provides insight into just how broad a field cataloging and classification and the organization of information really is.  With information a fundamental part of knowledge and today’s society information-rich, those with the ability to organize the “information tiger” and provide access to it are very important players in the world today.  That those based in libraries engaged in these activities want to do it so that everyone has access is a noble value and should never be under-rated.  But, lest we think that the explosion of information is a new phenomena that makes finding what one wants difficult, Edgar Allan Poe suffered from similar frustrations. In the 1840’s Poe wrote, “The enormous multiplication of books in every branch of knowledge is one of the greatest evils of this age; since it presents one of the most serious obstacles to the acquisition of correct information, by throwing in the reader’s way piles of lumber in which he must painfully grope for the scraps of useful matter, peradventure interspersed.”[1]  Edgar Allan Poe presumably would have appreciated the enormous contributions of the cataloging profession in organizing today’s massive amounts of information in a myriad of formats even if, at the same time, he deplored the information explosion that has become a basic fact of life.

 --     Ruth C. Carter


[1] Edgar Allan Poe, Marginalia, 1840-1849, quoted in Gorton Carruth and Eugene Ehrlich, The Harper Book of American Quotations (New York:  Harper & Row, 1988), p.35.


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