We would appreciate receiving items having to do with
Research and Opinion
Abstracts or reports of on-going or unpublished
Bibliographies of materials available on specific
Questions that you would like to have answered by this
Analysis or description of new technologies
Call for papers
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Notes, minutes or summaries of meetings, etc., of
interest to catalogers
Description of grants
Description of projects
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* Announcements of honors, offices, etc.
The following report was submitted from the XLIV Annual Seminar
on the Acquisition of Latin American Library Materials, May 29 through June
3, Nashville, Tennessee.
A chance for librarians to share ideas, solutions to problems, and plans,
the annual conference, hosted by Vanderbilt University has expanded beyond
simply acquisitions to include the processing of materials and bibliographic
access and services. The conference
theme, "Documenting Movements, Identity and Popular Culture in Latin
America" led to a great variety of panels--however only issues relating to
cataloging are reported here.
The Subcommittee on Cataloging and Bibliographic Technology, with
catalogers and other representatives from several countries, met to discuss
issues pending from previous years and to talk about ideas for new and continued
cooperation. Micaela Chavez, from
the Colegio de Mexico presented an authority control project which would target
Mexican personal and corporate names and create authority records which would be
added to the NACO authority files.
Again this year, participants questioned the need for continuing the
Program for Latin American Cataloging (PLAC).
The ability of libraries to fulfill cooperative agreements varies greatly
and keeping statistics of participation is difficult since there are about as
many ways of recording production as there are participants. Those present agreed that when libraries were able to target
their designated cataloging priorities, everyone benefitted.
John Wright of Brigham Young
University agreed to coordinate the efforts.
Laura Shedenhelm, University of Georgia, and Bartley
Burk, University of Notre Dame, described their efforts to study the impact
of vendor acquisition records in the OCLC database.
Variations and errors in records keep the system algorithms from
eliminating duplicate records. Of
concern were descriptions not in english and discrepancies in the 100 fields.
When duplicate records are in the database, it is necessary to do
additional searching, and to call up records in order to catalog.
Financial considerations are an issue, both for members and OCLC.
They were also tracking records to get a feel for how long it takes for
these records to receive full cataloging.
A panel was fully devoted to technical services issues. Claire-Lise Benaud, University of New Mexico, in
"Considerations for Outsourcing Cataloging," discussed the following:
a shift from selective outsourcing to total outsourcing; how the level of
editing performed may define what is a core cataloging activity for a particular
library; the economic, ideological, and political considerations prompting a
library to outsource; the several problems associated with outsourcing, such as
loss of control and expertise and a decrease in the editing of records resulting
in a "cookie-cutter" approach to cataloging; and how outsourcing
affects national cooperative programs. She concluded by presenting a snapshot of
outsourcing in academic libraries.
In "New (and Hot) Issues in Technical Services," Cecilia Sercan,
Cornell University, gave an overview of current issues in cataloging. She
covered a wide range of topics, many reflecting the situation at Cornell: core
records are becoming the standard and replacing full records; there is an
increasing presence of vendor records in bibliographic utilities; catalogers are
less specialized than in the past and now perform monographic and serials
cataloging; collection-level cataloging is increasingly performed; cataloging of
electronic resources including aggregator databases is in full swing;
participation in national cooperative programs through various PCC programs such
as NACO, BIBCO, and CONSER continues to be important; the digitization of
resources and the refreshing of digitized records is continuing; outsourcing of
cataloging is increasing; the revision of cataloging rules is upcoming; and,
paraprofessional catalogers are increasingly cataloging what used to be the
prerogative of professional catalogers. The
last item generated heated discussion. Members of the audience commented that staff in such
positions were not getting paid adequately and that this trend further increased
the deprofessionalization of cataloging.
Throughout the conference catalogers had ample opportunities to discuss
issues concerning Iberian and Latin American area studies.
They are looking forward to next year's SALALM conference which will be
held in Long Beach, California, hosted by the University of California at Los
Claire-Lise Benaud and Sharon A. Moynahan
University of New Mexico
Lowell Ashley receives the MLA
Special Achievement Award.
Lowell Ashley receives the MLA
Special Achievement Award.
The Music Library Association awarded the MLA Special Achievement Award
to Lowell Ashley at its 1999 annual meeting.
This award was made in recognition of his work on the bibliographic
control of music video materials.
In 1996, MLA published the MLA Technical Report, "Cataloging Musical
Moving Image Material: A Guide to the bibliographic Control of Videorecordings
and Films of Musical Performances and Other Music-Related Moving Image
Material," edited by Mr.Ashley. This
is the first monograph ever published on cataloging musical performances on
videorecordings and motion pictures, and has filled a pressing need for national
leadership on this subject. Mr.
Ashley's work in this area, including the MLA Technical Report, chairing the MLA
Working Group on Bibliographic Control of Music Video Materials and serving as
instructor at the MLA Preconference workshop on cataloging music materials on
videorecordings, has been invaluable.
Lowell Ashley approached the controversial main entry issue in musical
video recordings with tact, perseverance and diplomacy. His work and vision strengthened MLA's relationship with
colleagues in other professional arenas, specifically the American Library
Association's Association for Library Collections & Technical Services
Audiovisual Committee and the Online Audiovisual Catalogers, Inc. Cataloging
Lowell Ashley is Catalog/Authorities Librarian at the Smithsonian
Institution Libraries in Washington, D.C. As
the NACO Coordinator, he oversees the libraries' contributions to the National
Name Authority File. Before coming
to Smithsonian Institution Libraries in August, 1997, Mr. Ashley was Principal
Cataloger at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.
He received an M.L.S. from George Peabody College, now part of Vanderbilt
University), and a B.A. in music and English from Emory and Henry College
Alan Karass, Publicity Officer
Music Library Association
The Music Library Association recently appointed Jean
Morrow as Coordinator of the Editorial Board for its "Basic Manual
Series," a new publication that will deal with all aspects of the
organization, administration and use of a music library.
As Coordinator, she will be responsible for the selection of topics and
appointment of authors as well as overseeing all other editorial activity for
Educated at MacMurray College, Smith College and New York University, Ms.
Morrow currently holds the position of Director of Libraries at the New England
Conservatory of Music in Boston, Mass., and also teaches Music Librarianship at
the Simmons College Graduate School of Library and Information Science.
In addition to heading the Editorial Board for the "Basic Manual
Series," Ms. serves as Chair of the Music Library association's Library
School Liaison Subcommittee and is a member of its Education and Publication
Committees. Previously she has
chaired its Publication Awards Committee and its Local Arrangements Fundraising
Committee. Ms. Morrow also has been
President of the New England Chapter of the Music Library Association and of
Fenway Libraries Online in Boston.
Among her publications, Ms. Morrow recently co-authored "Guide to
Writing Collection Development Policies for Music" published in summer 1999
by Scarecrow Press. She contributed
to the "Basic Music Library," published by the American Library
Association in 1997 and to "Measure by Measure: A History of the New
England Conservatory of Music," published in 1996.
Ms. Morrow has written book reviews for "Notes," contributed to
the "MLA Newsletter," and the "DRA Newsletter," and
delivered papers at the MLA Annual Conference and the Data Research Users'
Alan Karass, Publicity Officer
Music Library Association
and WLN are pleased to announce the
availability of a WLN-OCLC control number converter program.
The program was written to assist WLN libraries in locating the correct
OCLC record in WorldCat to which their holdings have been attached.
Users can take the WLN record ID number (RID) or the WLN internal
sequence number (ISN), plug it into the application, and the converter will
return the control number of the corresponding OCLC WorldCat record to which
their holdings have been merged. The
converter will work in reverse as well, i.e., users can input an OCLC control
number and retrieve the corresponding WLN RID.
The converter is located on the OCLC Cataloging page, under
It can also be downloaded from the OCLC/WLN website at: http://www.wln.org/convert.htm.
The program is large, approx. 44 mg, so it will take some time to
download for libraries with slower internet connections.
For any questions, contact the OCLC/WLN Help Desk at 1-800-638-9956.
Greg McKinney, Director, Conversion
The following report was received from the
American Library Association 118th
Annual Conference, New Orleans, LA, June 24-30, 1999.
"Publish! Information, Networking,
and Motivation for Cataloging Research," was the title of the program
sponsored by the ALCTS Cataloging and Classification Section, Policy and
A panel of educators, authors, and a journal editor spoke about the
research process, in a program that was meant to provide support, advice and
motivation for catalog librarians involved in research.
Francis Miksa, of UT-Austin GSLIS, spoke about the approaches to
research and, especially, to finding appropriate topics.
She stated that there is a commonness of research as a human activity, as
our curiosity leads us to research. We
all do research every day in practical or impractical things, just to
understand. The only difference
between our everyday research and a more scientific research is one of degree,
not in kind. The core of research
is the picking up of a topic, as a mental state of inquiry, an expression of our
curiosity. Research in cataloging,
by the same token, is the result of curiosity about certain aspects of it, and
through the use of methodology, we can come up with answers, after pondering the
matter. Thus, the heart of research
is our curiosity about a phenomenon, which leads us to raise questions and look
into answers, using some methodology.
According to Miksa, finding research topics is a very personal activity
resulting from questions about users and how they use the records we create, or
questions about information-bearing entities, or other areas of cataloging, such
as on concepts and how they relate to one another.
Dilys Morris, of Iowa State University, has been researching staff
costs in technical services for a number of years.
She stated that cataloging and classification are the basis of all other
library work and that research is needed to improve the efficiency of these
operations. By using technology, the latter has increased and costs per
title cataloged have dropped, while production
has increased. Thus research is
needed, especially in the use of technology to continue and improve on our
performance. But, how does one get
started? Coming up with a
topic is fairly easy, when thinking about ways to evaluate effectiveness and to
explore new ways to use technology; of course, one must have interest,
curiosity, and some knowledge about the area, in addition to the ability to ask
the right questions. One could look
at the value of cataloging records for different users and at how our work is
being used; one could also examine how people are profiting from our cataloging
records, or from our authority work. One
can look into the role of catalogers in electronic resources, or the
consequences of committee work or faculty status on catalogers. Questions to ask before starting include areas such as, what
new aspects will the results bring to the profession; is it truly creative work
and will it be respected and, last but not least, how much time and resources
will be needed to complete it. Since
it is research that moves our profession forward, an effective researcher must
achieve synergy between work and research.
Next Carlen Ruschoff, of
Georgetown University and on the editorial board of Journal of Academic
Librarianship, and Library Resources and Technical Services, spoke
from an editor's perspective. She
mentioned that most boards look for current topics and clear writing. Thus, the topic must be of interest to the writer, so it can
make a contribution to the literature on that topic. Prior to writing, one should make a thorough literature
search and ask whether or not one can shed new light on a given topic, or if
previous studies can be updated. The
paper, once written, must be readable, well-organized, logical, systematic and
have smooth flow. Furthermore, it
must begin with a clearly-stated problem statement and a hypothesis, which is
usually an assumption proved or disproved later.
The research strategy employed must fit the topic, whether basic or
applied. The chosen strategy must
measure the problem, must produce findings and must be duplicable by others.
If using a survey, the questions must first be tested on a small group
for accuracy. Traditionally, the
findings are reported separately, and the implications of results analyzed
completely and honestly, as they must be relevant to the hypothesis.
The writing style can be challenge, but should consist of simple
statements, using active verbs. Some
jargon can be used, but terms must be explained. For submitting a manuscript, reading the guidelines of the
journal is a must as they normally gives instructions on the format, on the
references used, on abstracts.
Sarah Thomas of Cornell University spoke about the benefits and the
value of research. She emphasized
that it leads us to the tools to help us move forward.
Librarianship is not a dying profession and research is an important part
of gaining respect, and it also helps provide us satisfaction, in addition to
the practical aspects of helping us save money or to make money in our
libraries. She spoke of the need to
demistify research to help us overcome our inhibitions.
As operations are becoming more complex, results of sound research can
become an important tool for decision-making, for timely availability of
information to help guide decision-makers.
In view of the rapidly changing environment in libraries, there is no
shortage of topics, and some institutions give time off for research, or
internal grants. Research can be
hard and tedious, or when the doing is easy, the writing can be hard.
However, doing research increases our critical thinking and our writing
skills. Regarding the methodology
of writing and of style, Thomas also had some sound advice.
She counseled against the "robot" style, and emphasized the
importance of analysis and interpretation of results, as the most valuable
component; also, opinion is important, and taking a stand essential.
Other questions had to do with a progression of research.
Starting with small, practical things, one can also progress to opinion
pieces, and to "think" papers, which are usually based on years of
solid research in a particular area.
Going directly to a current important topic, Karen
Calhoun, also of Cornell University spoke about the need for research on the
core record standard. Since many
large libraries, all PCC members, such as Cornell, and the Library of Congress,
have implemented the core record as their standard, there is enormous interest
in evaluating these records and their usefulness. Several questions need to be answered about them, such as
their cost-effectiveness as an alternative to creating original cataloging,
their impact on copy cataloging operations, and their usefulness for library
users. There are o guidelines at
present to evaluate them and we need to know how to ask the questions.
At the completion of the program, Gregory
Leazer, of the UCLA Department of Information Studies gave the audience an
update on the PECASE award (Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and
Engineers) and on his research on the creation of a next-generation cataloging
model that integrates digital formats with more traditional formats.
He received the award for the creation of software to detect
relationships between the cataloging record for the book and the cataloging
record for the web site. His
current research is on textual materials on how works relate to each other.
Elizabeth N. Steinhagen
University of New Mexico Library