Cataloging & Classification Quarterly

Volume 36, no. 3-4, 2003

 


 

ELECTRONIC CATALOGING : AACR2 AND METADATA FOR SERIALS AND MONOGRAPHS

 

Sheila S. Intner, Sally C. Tseng, and Mary Larsgaard

special issue guest editors

 

INTRODUCTION

There used to be a time-honored process for publishing the proceedings of scholarly conferences, seminars, and institutes.  It was almost automatic, since scholars recognized that the papers delivered in person at the event often were the first opportunities for the results of important research efforts to be revealed, and because the wheels of monographic book publishing ground very slowly.  Those results might not reach their desks for years without the publication of the events' proceedings.  No matter how large the conference audience might be, many more interested parties either could not make it to the event in person or, if they attended, might not be able to hear all the papers.  Without some kind of publication in hand, they could not follow up their first impressions with second or third re-readings and leisurely reflection.  Thus, the published proceedings were able to satisfy the needs of colleagues who were unable to attend a seminar or institute, those who attended but did not hear all the papers, and those who heard the papers but wished to review and mull over their contents.

 

Today, times have changed.  The automatic publication of proceedings of important scholarly events is no longer automatic.  For one thing, the plethora of conferences in any one field makes it difficult for publishers to keep up with the flow of material, particularly if the material is likely to be of interest to small circles of readers.  The smaller the circle of readers, the less likely the costs of issuing a publication can be recouped.  The possibility of failing to cover costs and make something toward profits simply is not good business.  For another thing, readers are already being bombarded with ever-larger numbers of materials in their subject areas, causing the more dedicated of them no end of grief over the lack of time to read it all.  Thus, readers hesitate to demand more publications from publishers.

 

Given this state of affairs, we editors were both gratified and grateful when Cataloging & Classification Quarterly editor Ruth Carter asked us to prepare this record of the papers delivered at the 2001-2002 Association for Library Collections & Technical Services Regional Institutes on the Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules, 2nd Edition, 2002 Revision and Metadata-its proceedings.  It was evidence of the intensity of the interest in the subject as well as the dedication of Haworth Press to bringing important scholarly material to readers.

 

We approached our task with no small amount of trepidation, in part, because we knew other publications had covered earlier presentations by some of the same experts and we did not wish to duplicate their work; and, in part, because some of the speakers worked solely from notes and outlines, not from full scripts of their presentations.  Each of these matters was addressed in turn and, we hope, readers of this publication will find the solutions satisfactory.

 

Regarding the problem of overlap with earlier publications, most notably with Scarecrow Press's excellent monograph, Cataloging the Web,  a proceedings based on the ALCTS Preconference on Metadata and AACR2 held in Chicago in July, 2000, and ably edited by Wayne Jones, Judith Ahronheim, and Josephine Crawford, we were aided in finding a solution in two ways.  First, the roster of speakers at the ALCTS preconference and subsequent regional institutes was not identical, although several individuals were invited to make presentations at both, and did so.  Second, the speakers at the 2000 preconference were given somewhere between fifteen and twenty minutes in which to give their remarks, while speakers at the 2001-2002 regional institutes were asked to provide in-depth information for ninety-minute slots.  Not only did the conscientious speakers among the institute faculty endeavor to update their presentations by including new material as soon as it became available, but even those speakers who covered topical areas that had experienced little change in the time between the events found themselves having to make extensive additions to their papers to satisfy the new schedule.

 

Six speakers whose papers were among those included in Cataloging the Web are also represented here by greatly revised offerings.  They are Murtha Baca, Michael Gorman, Jean Hirons, Sheila Intner, Regina Reynolds, and Brian Schottlaender.  Six speakers and their papers are entirely new to this volume.  They are Grace Agnew, Ann Huthwaite, Erik Jul, Yuan-liang Ma, Wei Liu, and Barbara Tillett.  Yuanliang Ma and Wei Liu co-authored a paper and shared its presentation, thus five papers appear here for the first time in print.

 

Regarding the problem of translating speakers' notes or outlines into papers suitable for publication, the strategy was to ask colleagues who would not be daunted by the task to record their remarks during the presentations and prepare drafts of the papers.  The following recorders labored to take down the presenters' remarks faithfully, while bringing a writer's voice to what they said:  David C. Van Hoy (for Jean Hirons), Steven Miller (for Ann Huthwaite), Birdie McLennon (for Regina Reynolds), and Larry Heiman (for Brian Schottlaender).  In this way, these four speakers were not required to rewrite their papers, yet the readers of this volume will find material in this volume that differs from their earlier work.  The speakers and their recorders worked hard together to make their papers reflect not just the words heard by the audience, but the speakers' intended meanings, as well.

 

We have divided the issue into three parts.  Part 1 begins with two introductory papers:  Michael Gorman's "Cataloging in an Electronic Age" and Brian Schottlaender's "Why Metadata?  Why Me?  Why Now?"  These papers explore, in the broadest manner, the whole topical area of libraries and metadata-why metadata should interest librarians, what role metadata might play in the larger matter of library services to individuals, and what contributions librarians might make to the development of metadata systems and their implementation in libraries.

 

Part 2 follows with four papers focusing on how libraries can employ metadata:  Grace Agnew's "Developing a Metadata Strategy," Murtha Baca's "Practical Issues in Applying Metadata Schemas and Controlled Vocabularies to Cultural Heritage Information," Yuan-liang and Wei Liu's "Digital Resources and Metadata Applications in the Shanghai Library," and Sheila Intner's "Struggling toward Retrieval."  The first three of these papers furnish general explanatory information about metadata systems and the principles that govern them and describe some specific projects in which metadata was used in practice.  The fourth paper takes a step back from currently accepted practices and asks whether nonstandard approaches to access for electronic resources might be more productive for the library users seeking them.

 

The five papers in Part 3 cover still more specific topics and include:  "AACR2 and Other Metadata Standards," by Ann Huthwaite; "AACR2 and Metadata:  Library Opportunities in the Global Semantic Web," by Barbara Tillett, "Seriality," by Jean Hirons; "MARC and Mark-up," by Erik Jul; and "ISBN," by Regina Reynolds.  This group of papers deals with individual library and/or metadata standards, elements within the standards, and policies in effect at the Library of Congress.  Readers should bear in mind that just as time waits for no person, some of the information discussed in the papers as "new" or "not yet accomplished" may well no longer be quite so new or may have occurred since this volume went to press.  At the time the information was presented, however, the authors were correct, and efforts have been made to edit these remarks so as not to mislead anyone.

 

The intention of this volume is to explain, describe, and illustrate the brave new world libraries are creating through the use of metadata.  It is a highly complex and dynamic world in which some things seem to shift and change constantly, and none seem to stand completely still.  Still, as editors, we have made every effort to make its contents clear and accurate.  If errors appear here, we bear the full responsibility.  We offer profound apologies in advance to readers of this volume as well as to the authors whose work might be affected by our mistakes.  We also wish to acknowledge and applaud the incredibly hard work done by Charles Wilt, Julie Reese, and many other members of the ALCTS staff, without which the regional institutes would not have happened and this volume would not have been completed.

 

Sheila S. Intner, Sally C. Tseng, and Mary Larsgaard

 


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