Cataloging and Classification: Review of the Literature 2007-8

By Chambers, Sydney; Myall, Carolynne | Library Resources & Technical Services, April 2010 | Go to article overview
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Cataloging and Classification: Review of the Literature 2007-8

Chambers, Sydney, Myall, Carolynne, Library Resources & Technical Services

This paper surveys library literature on cataloging and classification published in 2007-8, indicating its extent and range in terms of types of literature, major subject areas, and themes. The paper reviews pertinent literature in the following areas: the future of bibliographic control, general cataloging standards and texts, Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records (FRBR), cataloging varied resources, metadata and cataloging in the Web world, classification and subject access, questions of diversity and diverse perspectives, additional reports of practice and research, catalogers' education and careers, keeping current through columns and blogs, and cataloging history.


Speculations, questions, anxieties, and excitement about the roles and possible futures of cataloging and catalogers underlie much of the literature of cataloging and classification during 2007-8. While many publications focused on the future and the significant changes that emerging trends may require, other contributions addressed a variety of aspects of practice--many immediate and practical--and underlying philosophy. Topics in the history of bibliographic control and in representing diverse and global perspectives in cataloging data also were strongly in evidence. The objectives of this paper are to

* survey the extensive and varied literature of cataloging and classification during 2007-8;

* indicate the range of this literature in terms of types of publications, including scholarly works but also publications intended to aid practitioners and communicate cataloging issues to noncatalogers;

* identify major subject areas and themes; and

* recommend substantive contributions in these areas, along with more ephemeral but worthy contributions useful to catalogers struggling to keep cataloging alive and useful in a period of scrutiny, uncertainty, multiple initiatives, and change.

Research Method

Using a bibliographic management program, we began the project by creating a database of citations with folders for 2007 and 2008. To do this, we searched several online databases, including Library Literature and Information Science Full Text; Library, Information Science, and Technology Abstracts with Full Text; Online Computer Library Center (OCLC) WorldCat; and Dissertations and Theses Online. Search strategies included both keyword and subject heading searches, using many pertinent terms, such as bibliographic control, cataloging, classification, RDA: Resource Description and Access, and Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records' (FRBR). We also searched Google Books and Google itself, athough most of our Web searching followed the strategy of following links that led from one document or blog to another. We favored more stable or persistent formats of resources, since some Web drafts and documents appeared and then were removed or relocated, a problematic characteristic for long-term identification.

In an initial review, citations for news articles and reviews for each year were moved to separate folders. We used citations for reviews to identify monographic publications; citations for news articles were reviewed to identify major concerns and events. Citations for works evidently out-of-scope or in languages we could not read were moved to "holding pen" folders. Then we began a more thorough review of the remaining citations. Ultimately, we limited the scope to English-language resources, particularly those that applied to North American libraries. The approximate numbers of unique citations remaining were 444 for 2007 and 350 for 2008. (1) Next, we worked through the citations and abstracts, obtained print or online copies, assembled a file of printed resources, and attempted to cull further. With the shifting boundaries of cataloging, determining whether an article was in-scope was not always easy, even after an initial review. Acknowledging the difficulties posed by the indeterminate boundaries of the field at the moment, we agreed that for a contribution to be defined as in-scope, it must have a library cataloging or classification application or orientation, or it must represent an application of library cataloging methods to a problem in the broader universe of information (e.

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