Cataloging & Classification Quarterly

Volume 33, no. 2, 2001



Catalogs in a Small World


We hear increasingly about the internationalization of librarianship in general and cataloging in particular.  This issue of Cataloging & Classification Quarterly features an interview with Monika Münnich, an active member of IFLA who has worked diligently to achieve the harmonization of AACR2 and the German cataloging rules RAK (Regeln für die alphabetische Katalogisierung.)   The interview covers the current cataloging situation in Germany as well as international initiatives in the area of bibliographic control.


Catalogs, whether online, card, book, or other format, are made to be used.  The articles in this issue encompass descriptive cataloging, subject cataloging or, more broadly, subject access, and catalog use patterns with a focus on videos.  The first article discusses the application of XML to bibliographic description.  The following two articles explore different aspects of subject access.  First, two authors describe a research study comparing subject cataloging of monographs with keywords.  The next article reports a study of subject access vocabularies in a multi-type library consortium.  The final article in the current issue examines faculty and graduation student search patterns and their perceptions of videos in the online catalog.  Catalog News completes the column.  



As editor of CCQ I have commented several times on the globalization of catalogs and the information they contain.  The events of September 11, 2001 only reinforced the international nature of knowledge and its carriers.  Now there are initiatives in the area of international cataloging rules.  Certainly the move in Germany toward AACR2 is a significant step in that direction. 



CCQ's authors span the globe.  All continents (except Antarctica) have contributed authors to the journal.  In one sense the Internet by bringing worldwide access to most online catalogs has accelerated the trend toward common rules for description.  Although much remains to be done, it seems likely that the first decade of the twenty-first century will see at least a first draft of rules that can be termed international by intent.  The catalogs of today and in the future are indeed catalogs in a small world.



Subject access is another major issue in considering the internationalization of cataloging.  Keywords and thesauri based subject headings both have significant weaknesses as well as strengths in an international environment.  Many catalogs in different parts of the world deal with this issue.  Research is underway on what is effective.  Systems design, cataloging, classification, and user education are all factors in multilingual catalogs.  Online catalogs even though local to a particular community may serve users around the world via the Internet.  Is an eventual solution one where a base record exists in terms of description but that is then added to for subject access in multiple languages?  How are some online catalogs dealing with the issue of multilingual users and/or multilingual cataloging records?  There have been articles published in CCQ and other journals on this topic but more would be useful.  Case studies of the effectiveness of particular online catalogs and the relevant cataloging policies would be of interest to many readers.  Consider writing on this or other topics for Cataloging & Classification Quarterly or another appropriate journal.  Don't worry if you haven't written before.  In the words of Ed Koch, "I'm not an author, but before I became a mayor, I wasn't a mayor either." [1]  Everyone has to write his or her first article sometime.  Sharing expertise and experience through publication is one of the most professional things we can do.  


-- Ruth C. Carter



[1]. Edward Koch [former mayor of New York City] quoted in Publisher's Weekly, January 25, 1985, in Gorton Carruth and Eugene H. Ehrlich, The Harper Book of American Quotations. New York: Harper & Row, 1988, p. 626.

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