Cataloging & Classification Quarterly

Volume 40, no. 1, 2005

 


 

Editorial / by Ruth C. Carter



“Interdependence”


This issue of Cataloging & Classification Quarterly opens with an interview with Lynne Howarth, an educator now and practicing cataloger earlier. Her view of both exciting trends and somewhat discouraging developments are discussed in this interview conducted by Jean Weihs.


Three articles discuss aspects of retrieval. One examines the United Nations Classification Scheme, a notational system in use since 1946. A separate article looks at major problems in retrieval systems and suggests methods to improve retrieval satisfaction. A third author reports on the results of a pilot study on the use of word association testing and the derivation of user-derived descriptors, descriptor hierarchies, and categories of inter-term relationships in constructing thesauri.

An annotated bibliography of resources for catalogers provides a valuable reference for practitioners. Cataloging managers will find useful information in the report of a study concerning quality control issues in outsourcing cataloging in United States and Canadian libraries. Two authors present further practical information for in-library decision makers who may be weighing participation in NACO, the name authority component of the Program for Cooperative Cataloging. And, as in most general issues, Cataloging News concludes this publication.

Like many other issues of Cataloging & Classification Quarterly, this current one includes both research and in-practice articles; theory and applied topics. Research and theory inform practice; practice can suggest new avenues for research and theory. They are, indeed, interdependent. Interdependence is further experienced between the cataloger or information organizer and the user. The cataloger (whether practitioner, educator, or theorist) works for the user; the user’s needs, expectations, and methods of access influence the cataloger. They are mutually dependent and to some degree each is dependent on technology. New technologies do not change the end goal of connecting users with information, but they enable new ways of reaching desired ends. The interdependence of catalogers, theorists, and users makes for an exciting environment with the possibility of achieving real satisfaction for all. As Katherine Graham noted in 1974, “To love what you do and feel that it matters—how could anything be more fun?”[1] Cataloging, whether in practice or through research and theory is important and, as reflected in its interdependencies, often a labor of love, and not infrequently fun!

 

[1] Katharine Graham, quoted by Jane Howard in Ms. Magazine, October, 1974 in The Harper Book of American Quotations by Gorton Carruth and Eugene Ehrlich, New York: Harper & Row, 1988, p.614.


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