Cataloging & Classification Quarterly

Volume 33, no. 1, 2001

EDITORIAL   Teachers


There is always something significant happening in the world of bibliographic control.  Usually there are simultaneous initiatives that advance the discipline on many fronts.  They may range from innovative methods of presenting data in local online catalogs that help local users yet adhere to standards or that help clarify where standards and agreed upon rules are needed to wide-scale international efforts at reaching common understanding on the purpose of bibliographic records and their functional requirements.



Whether small local efforts or large national or international ones, catalogers are not alone in putting the theoretical into practice.  Teachers are essential in transmitting to the next generation of catalogers the philosophical and also practical context of the profession.  Current practitioners also require education in new rules and an evolving conceptual framework in light of online and globally accessed catalogs.  Teachers include educators in the library and information science schools, on the job supervisors and even co-workers, mentors through professional organizations, and many others along the way.  I am delighted that this issue of Cataloging & Classification Quarterly includes an interview with Kathryn Luther Henderson, my cataloging teacher and an inspiration throughout my career. 



The ERC column focuses on metadata standards for library catalogers and provides a number of helpful links.  Articles treat a variety of subjects beginning with an updated look at the utility of the cataloger's workstation concept utilizing the Cataloger's Desktop.  The global aspect of sharing bibliographic data is represented in an article that examines issues connected with the conversion of Common Communication Format (CCF) to MARC21. 



The world view and the assignment of subject headings to works about other cultures and civilizations are featured in an article looking at works from classical literature and ancient history as examples.  The author argues for evaluating the headings assigned to these works in terms of the world view of ancient Greece and Rome in order to give more expression to the thoughts and themes characterizing these ancient civilizations.



An opinion piece looks at the topic of indexing.  Machine indexing is considered too prolific in indexing terms and neither librarians nor computer programmers have made much progress in improving it.  Alternatively, human indexing has had the same problems for over fifty years.  The author suggests that the art of indexing lacks a theoretical foundation.



Book reviews cover the proceedings of the Library of Congress sponsored Bicentennial Conference on Bibliographic Control for the New Millennium; the proceedings of an international seminar on Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records (FRBR); and a work that provides an introduction to the FRBR.  The Cataloging News column completes the issue.



With all the new developments in bibliographic control and the need to prepare for the future, teachers are essential for both the student in library and information science schools and the practitioner.  Teachers whether they are educators or practitioners themselves not only may give guidance in interpreting the rules we catalog by but they help us learn through providing conceptual foundations that enable us to interpret new cases and situations on our own.  In this case the old Chinese proverb "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day.  Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime" [1] is apt.



Education and training for catalogers and classifiers is at least as important now as at any past time.  Therefore, I am delighted that a theme issue on education is in preparation for Cataloging and Classification Quarterly.  Other theme issues in progress include thesauri, metadata, historical aspects of bibliographic control, works, authority control, and classification in the online environment.  Bibliographic control is a very rich and evolving field indeed!

-- Ruth C. Carter


[1]. Chinese proverb quoted in Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations, edited by Suzy Platt.  New York: Dorset Press, 1992, p. 484.


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