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My belief is that the fault is not in the principles of bibliographic control so much as it is in the tools that we are provided with to carry these principles out. Catalogers are subject to an arcane and insular language that is alienating to other resource description communities, We use outdated standards and structures, expect other communities to adapt to our ways, spend copious amounts of time drafting rules for every exception, and have not effectively incorporated the traditional bibliographic record into the Web environment. Essentially, we have a tendency of not seeing the forest for the trees.
We cringe by the notion of ingesting non-MARC metadata into our systems, preferring instead the duplicative effort of re-keying, the practice of cut-and-paste, and largely redundant corrections and updates. Works with multiple versions require a new record that in turn creates duplicative copy and enhancements and unnecessary challenges for end users who are then forced to distinguish among particular manifestations, rather than from among an array of different expressions of works.
We tend to rely on abstracting methods for noting relationships among bibliographic records, rather than developing a system that recognizes relationships through elements recognized by URIs or other numeric identifiers that can then be incorporated as part of a
We have failed to realize the rich potential of social networking tools that can be effective in generating dialogue and meaningful contextualization to available resources.
If we can develop a networked system that preserves and strengthens the quality of library-based bibliographic control in core records through a central database, rather than through the localized silos that exist currently, we should then be able to develop and incorporate social networking strategies in extended views for our users. Currently the OPAC views we provide our users are not intuitive and needlessly complex. We need to acknowledge that user feedback, reviews, etc. that are implicit in Google, Amazon, YouTube and countless other networked resources already have established the norm. As such, we should not be ignoring this as a trend so much as we should be viewing this as an opportunity that engages our users.
Most importantly, since a hallmark of our profession is distinguished in its capacity to foster an educated citizenry, the larger implications posed by leaving information organization in the hands of commercial interests is conceding that Search is not a public good, but a commodity that adheres to the bottom line. By abandoning human intervention in the organization of information, catalogers are reduced in their role as intermediaries to ensure that people from all walks of life—not just those who can afford it—have access to knowledge as a means to improve and advance their socio-economic status.
Andrea Leigh Page 4 12/4/2007 From: McCroskey, Marilyn J MarilynMcCroskey@missouristate.edu Date: Aug 5, 2007 5:03 PM Subject: Written Testimony: Future of Bibliographic Control To: firstname.lastname@example.org
To the Working Group on the Future of Bibliographic Control:
Let us not forget about a large group of librarians that don't seem to be represented on the Working Group: the school librarians. I was a school librarian for 5 years, and for nearly 25 years I have taught them in cataloging classes. I also represent them as the AASL liaison on the CIP Advisory Group to the Library of Congress.
School librarians will always need to be able to find good MARC records to download.
Most cannot afford membership in OCLC, and many are in one-person libraries with no one to ask cataloging questions. They have little time for "real" cataloging as they try to juggle many responsibilities and serve their students and teachers. They often do not have the cataloging knowledge to spot nonstandard practices or erroneous information on cataloging records they obtain. As I did in my school back in 1976-1981, school librarians still lean heavily on CIP records. Many of them do use the CIP block in the book for cataloging, and often they teach their little patrons to look at the CIP block for a summary and for subject headings ideas. Those who are able also obtain MARC CIP records from vendors or on the LC Web site. In either cataloging format, they trust LC to give them good, reliable cataloging. They are already going to suffer consequences as a result of the LC decision not to control series titles, because there will eventually be scattering of items in the same series in their catalogs. If any other elements of the LC cataloging record go by the wayside, they will only have less and less effective access in their catalogs for their patrons.
The LC CIP Division did a survey of all kinds of libraries in 2006 to determine whether CIP cataloging was really needed in this day of access to huge databases such as OCLC, and what specific elements were of importance to respondents. Even though school librarians were off for the summer at the time, fully 35% of the total respondents to the LC survey were school librarians! I have seen the data from just the school side of the survey, as well as their written comments. Over 90% of them use CIP. They desperately need good subject headings and Dewey numbers, and summaries for all juvenile materials. They also need an easy way to download CIP records from LC (now it is difficult). I did a survey of my own a few months before LC's survey period ended, and my survey showed basically the same heavy dependence on LC for good cataloging, and the same written comments that begged for this cataloging help to continue for them.
Anything that LC decides to stop doing, or to stop verifying, will hurt the catalogs of school libraries, and will undoubtedly limit student access to their materials. As a longtime school board member, I see it as a waste of school resources if students can't find library materials in the catalog that were purchased with school money that is always stretched too thin.
I would urge the Working Group to ask the LC CIP Division for the school portion of the data from the 2006 survey (only the data from the total responses is now public). I would also be happy to send the data from my 2006 school librarians' survey if the Working Group would like to see it. The written comments will tell you at least as much as the statistics. I am in the process of writing a journal article using the statistics and comments from both surveys. If LC cataloging quality goes down, for most non-school libraries this will only mean more work for the catalogers there, and they will all get to reinvent the wheel. But for school libraries, it will mean a real deterioration of catalog access, since they may not know how to reinvent the wheel. For the patron, this is disastrous. As I tell my cataloging students, our patrons will never know they didn't find what they didn't know we had.
Another very important cataloging issue is the lack of training for catalogers in library schools and library science programs. For the future, this means that catalogers out there—especially in schools—will be even less qualified to edit cataloging records they get from LC, OCLC, and other sources. It then becomes even more important for LC to continue to create high quality catalog records for libraries to use. This is especially crucial for school librarians. It is a myth that school librarians really don't need to know how to catalog, because they buy all their MARC records. Their written survey comments indicate that they do make an attempt to doublecheck the MARC records they get, and perhaps enhance them, and they have many library materials for which they cannot find MARC records and must try to create them. So aside from the need to be able to find high-quality catalog records to use with little editing, they also need cataloging workshops provided within easy driving distance.
Let me know if you would like me to send my 2006 school librarians' survey data electronically. It is not long and complicated. And again, if at all possible, I would urge you to look at the school responses to the 2006 LC CIP survey as well.
Thank you for allowing me to share my thoughts.
-- Marilyn McCroskey Marilyn McCroskey Professor of Library Science Head of Cataloging, Meyer Library Missouri State University 901 S. National Springfield, MO 65897 Ph. 417-836-4541 Fax 417-836-4764 Frances McNamara Director, Integrated Library Systems and Administrative and Desktop Systems University of Chicago Library email@example.com 773-702-8465 Comments for Working Group on the Future of Bibliographic Control I found the information on the sessions useful. I have two suggestions I would like to submit.
I was not sure from the presentations whether LC is eliminating duplicate effort by using the OCLC system to do their cataloging. I thought Beecher Wiggins presentation was very cogent and helpful and LC’s plans are reasonable. Concentrating the professional staff on the subject and classification and authority control issues sounds like a good idea.
My only suggestion is that they use OCLC and make and maintain records there as an economy. This is a duplication of effort issue. It should be cheaper for LC to just use OCLC instead of doing it locally and we should all benefit from LC’s savings in that. I think LC and large libraries need to get over any early concerns about the “master record” in OCLC. Wouldn’t it be better for them to work with OCLC to make sure the most efficient method is being used to get things cataloged once with copy used by all?
OCLC is already loading Onix records, why should LC figure out how to do that with their own system then output them to load to OCLC or whatever? Isn’t it time to say LC and other large libraries should manage the manual part of the cataloging effort but all should let OCLC manage the system/distribution part? OCLC isn’t good at doing manual cataloging for you, and LC shouldn’t waste effort maintaining systems if they can use OCLC.
Perhaps this committee could advise libraries to use it or fix it when it comes to OCLC.
Fix the pricing so that LC can sustain cataloging. This is preferable to depending on publishers to provide metadata and then jack up the price for it. OCLC Users Council needs to look at what the libraries should be reimbursing LC or other libraries for the cataloging data. Lorcan Dempsey made a very good point about the fact that the LC records are used more than others. LC ought to be recompensed. And perhaps other large contributors should be recompensed. I think the libraries need to keep cooperatively providing cataloging for books. Unfortunately if we tried to rely on publishers for this data, it would really become too expensive for too many libraries. For newer materials we should aim at automatic metadata extraction as OCLC is currently showing in Connexion. But books are not going away and libraries need to provide that cataloging, control and maintenance.
Perhaps the committee could remind OCLC it needs to support cataloging. OCLC should not set itself up in competition with Amazon, it’s not a book store. It’s not an acquisitions system. Libraries are more likely to move Acq from their ILS to their institution’s purchasing system, not to buy books through OCLC. OCLC has already been there, done that and then moved the Acq stuff to ACQ350 because such local information does not belong in the big shared database. It’s a waste of time for OCLC to go off in this direction. They should support metadata creation. OCLC needs to provide more tools to make subject cataloging and classification and Name Authority control as efficient as possible.
OCLC should support cataloging so the member libraries can extract and use the records in local catalogs or digital websites or whatever. OCLC SHOULD NOT assume that every library will use their worldcat local or whatever. I’m sorry, I disagree with the assumption that scholars looking for something in the University of Chicago Library are going to be happy to wade through the 80 million OCLC records to find it. Sometimes they may find that a very helpful approach, but not always. All the novels and cookbooks, etc. collected by public libraries are not needed in the type of research done here. There will continue to be a need to pull sets of records to be used in other systems of various kinds. OCLC should make this easier, not design their services on the assumption that everybody has to use worldcat local. I think it would be helpful if the working group encouraged OCLC to work with LC to make it cheaper than $130 to catalog a CIP book.
The Working Group would do us all a favor if they would invent a catchy new name for library catalog records. It confuses things when people discuss “MARC” records.
MARC records are a very specific type of record that is sort of awkward to process in some newer systems, although there are plenty of crosswalks to other forms so it’s not really a problem. Librarians tend to talk about MARC records when they are really intending to talk about the bibliographic records they create using AACR2, the LC RIs and other library conventions.
Also, these library catalog records have been and remain very helpful to scholars and others. Perhaps the question needs to be asked, however, whether “MARC” records and the rules used to produce library catalog entries for books and serials, really need to be expanded to shoehorn in every other type of material out there. Maybe they should just cover books and serials and for other stuff make sure the most commonly used type of record for that material is acquired, don’t insist it gets made a “MARC” record. For instance, the assumption by OCLC that they need separate “MARC” records for every file or type of file into which a printed copy of the work has been scanned is questionable.
Maybe you really just need a pointer to the bibliographic record for the printed copy and a record that contains helpful information about the scanned copy. Somebody needs to be asking the question, not proceeding on the assumption that you need a “MARC” record for everything under the sun.
I think if LC and OCLC and other PCC libraries worked together and eliminated duplication of effort that would help to not just continue to provide cataloging but to improve authority control and creation of subject access points and classification, as well as information on where copies of works really reside, print, electronic, or other forms.