Tuesday, April 7, 2009
Respect the catalogers.
I have an assignment for my cataloging class due on Sunday and it has been tough. We're collecting bibliographic records for Doris Lessing-- 20 books by her and 20 books about her. Then we have to use the Library of Congress rules to make a shelflist with the items in the proper order. Sounds simple, yes? Not quite. The Library of Congress has these rules, but not a lot of information on how to apply them. It's like an ancient society where the traditions are passed down orally but never actually written down or explained. I've been struggling with it for awhile now, but today I made a breakthrough. I have seen a pinpoint of light at the end of the tunnel. I still have to check my formatting and dates and I need to find out if we're supposed to include subject headings. Then I have to write my commentary on why shelflisting table is tricky to use. Hmm. Because it is totally arbitrary? And there is no explanation? What if the last person who knows how to catalog properly dies? There needs to be a backup person. This could all end in tragedy and misshelved books.