Conversations with Catalogers in the 21st Century

Conversations with Catalogers in the 21st Century

Conversations with Catalogers in the 21st Century

Conversations with Catalogers in the 21st Century


Authored by cataloging librarians, educators, and information system experts, this book of essays addresses ideas and methods for tackling the modern challenges of cataloging and metadata practices.

• Contains essays authored by experienced, passionate, and articulate catalogers, metadata librarians, and other experts

• Includes original research survey results on librarians' views regarding current topics such as RDA, AACR2, FRBR, the use of upstream data, and cataloging on the Semantic Web

• Contains an introductory timeline and history of cataloging and metadata from ancient to present times

• Provides a chronological bibliography of selected works related to cataloging and libraries through 1800 and a more complete bibliography of related works

• Includes a foreword and afterword by three internationally known and respected cataloging figures, Michael Gorman, Dr. Sheila S. Intner, and Dr. Susan S. Lazinger


Michael Gorman

Civilization and learning depend, to a very great extent, on the textual and graphic part of our cultural heritage—the human record—created by human beings since the invention of writing many millennia ago. Librarianship is about many things, but none more important than the stewardship of that human record—a stewardship that consists of acquiring and giving access to subsets of the human record, of working to coordinate the millions of subsets to widen access, of organizing the records of those subsets to facilitate access, and of ensuring that the carriers of texts and images in all formats are preserved for future generations. It is, of course, the texts and images themselves, not the formats in which they are presented and preserved, that is of paramount importance; but some formats are more durable than others, and some formats are more conducive to the preservation and onward transmission of the human record that are the ultimate goals of librarianship and the prime motivation for what we do.

Library school (to use the old-fashioned term) was for me a life-changing experience, as it should be if library education is to be more than a ticketpunching exercise. I went to library school with a vague idea of a career as a reference librarian in public libraries, I emerged, two years later, committed to and fascinated by cataloguing—the enterprise that gives us the bibliographic architecture without which the tasks of facilitating access to the human record and mapping that human record for posterity are impossible. I was, as are all true cataloguers, enthralled by the details of codes, the arcana of corporate headings, uniform titles, Cutter-Sanborn numbers, descriptive abbreviations, faceted classification, the order of names in the headings for Spanish married women, and . . .

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