Cataloging & Classification Quarterly

Volume 30, Number 4 2000


“Cooperative Cataloging”

            Cataloging & Classification Quarterly has an international audience and by sharing through publication authors are doing their part in making cataloging cooperative.  This issue begins with a four part look at the Serials Cataloging Cooperative Training Program (SCCTP).  Under the aegis of the CONSER program, now nearly three decades old, SCCTP is meeting many of the needs for the continuing education of serials catalogers.  The goal of the four articles about SCCTP is to provide a look at this cooperative program through four diverse viewpoints.  In a deliberately personal style authors present the perspectives of an administrator who requested the training for his staff, a trainer who provided training at another institution, and a trainee who attended an SCCTP training course.  These experiences are complimented by an assessment of the program by an educator and member of the SCCTP’s planning committee. 

            Continuing the cooperative cataloging theme an article written by Library of Congress staff describes current and planned activities of the Program for Cooperative Cataloging (PCC) as it expands its international participation.  The more original cataloging that is done to accepted standards means that more work will only have to be done once although it is used many times.  Or, at least, modifications by users in a country other than the originator of the catalog record will be minimized. 

            The final article highlights the need for cooperation and standards.  Through a focus on personal names, the article describes an Internet survey examining 38 different online public access catalogs (OPACs) for forms of personal names and their cross references.  The author provides recommendations for improving retrieval and consistency.

            Three book reviews and the Cataloging News conclude the issue.  Topics of the books reviewed include serials cataloging, the principles and objectives of cataloging from an Italian viewpoint, and the collected writings of an Italian cataloging theorist and educator.

            Cooperation in cataloging is not new to libraries.  Although present in various guises during much of the 20th century, the presence of shared machine readable catalog records beginning in the late 1960’s spawned many different cooperative programs over the next three decades.  CONSER, NACO, and OCLC’s Enhance program flourished in the last quarter of the 1900’s.  Gradually they began to extend beyond the United States and Canada.  Many national libraries around the world shared their cataloging data in this same period.  The advent of the Internet accelerated the awareness and development of cooperative programs, often under, but not limited to, Library of Congress leadership.  CONSER, long a stand-alone program for serials, eventually became part of the Program for Cooperative Cataloging (PCC), a successor to the Cooperative Cataloging Council.  Now, as evidenced in the article on the PCC in this issue, cataloging cooperation is very much an international activity.  The International Federation for Library Institutions and Associations (IFLA) has long been responsible for the development of the International Standards for Bibliographic Description (ISBDs).  International cooperation in cataloging is now furthered by embracing the application of the standards in formal cooperative arrangements through the PCC and through enhancing international participation in multinational databases, especially OCLC.

            Cooperative cataloging is a subject near and dear to my heart and one in which I fervently believe.  This includes being a contributor to the collective databases of cataloging and not just a taker.  During my years in technical services at the University of Pittsburgh I had the privilege of participating in CONSER policy development and support the library’s entry into NACO and Enhance. 

            On another semi-personal note, this issue represents a small milestone for me, volume 30 being the 25th volume of Cataloging & Classification Quarterly published under my editorship.  There have been many excellent articles and theme issues among the 25 volumes published on my watch.  Among them, vol. 17(3/4), published in 1993, was a theme issue on cooperative cataloging guest edited by Barry Baker.  Readers interested in an historical perspective on cooperative cataloging can find it in Baker’s compilation also published in book form as Cooperative Cataloging: Past, Present, and Future.  We must never forget that we build on the past as we prepare for the future.  Yet as General Robert E. Lee wrote in 1866, “History is not, of course, a cookbook offering pretested recipes.  It teaches by analogy, not by maxims.”  Each generation then must do its own critical thinking in order to move forward in improving society.  Fortunately, the disciplines of cataloging and the organization of information are blessed with many strong leaders and creative, resourceful thinkers.  It bodes well for the future. 

                                                                                                Ruth C. Carter

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