Branch out from Cataloging

Cliff Landis, who rocks, recently blogged about the future of cataloging and the disconnect from library school. Many schools don’t teach about recent advances in cataloging, such as FRBR or RDA, and I don’t really remember either coming up in any of my cataloging courses. If new library school graduates are expected to get a job, then they need to know about new and recent developments in the field. To me, that seems pretty obvious, but I also know it can be difficult to adapt curriculum quickly to reflect what’s really going on in the profession (though it doesn’t really have to be a snail’s pace).

I would argue the flip side to Cliff’s argument is that catalogers, and the library world in general, need to step aside from RDA and AACR2 and get involved in metadata control. For many librarians and information professionals, this is an obvious step because it’s essential the same action, just framed differently. For many though, I’ve mentioned the opportunity for librarians to integrate themselves in their organization through metadata, and it seems like it’s still a dirty word. Are MARC records the only area catalogers can manage? Why is Dublin Core a big mystery? Perhaps it is because I’m recent graduate, and because I also studied information systems, that it’s clear that the skills and expertise of librarians easily fit into other areas. I know Drexel’s introducing a class about metadata control for library students, and I hope other programs are in process of doing the same. I would also like to see some sort of continuing education to help current catalogers look outside of the box and get past the jargon of their systems.

One thought on “Branch out from Cataloging

  1. way back in 1996 when i was in library school i felt the same thing about our cataloging course. instead of arranging to show us how to do it in an automated system we turned in our MARCed up index cards that we filled out in pencil, making sure to have correct spacing. how archaic was that? i felt very unprepared for the “real world.”

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