Academic journal article Library Resources & Technical Services

Cataloging and Metadata Education in North American LIS Programs

Academic journal article Library Resources & Technical Services

Cataloging and Metadata Education in North American LIS Programs

Article excerpt

This paper presents findings of a survey on the state of cataloging arm metadata education in ALA-accredited library and itemization science programs in North America. The survey was conducted in response to Action Item 5.1 of the "Bibliographic Control of Web Resources: A Library of Congress Action Plan," which focuses on providing metadata education to new LIS professionals. (1) The study found LIS programs increased their reliance on introductory courses to cover cataloging and metadata, but fewer programs than before had a cataloging course requirement. The knowledge of cataloging delivered in introductory courses was basic, and the coverage of metadata was limited to an overview. Cataloging courses showed similarity in coverage and practice and focused on print materials. Few cataloging educators provided exercises in metadata record creation using non-AACR standards. Advanced cataloging courses provided in-depth coverage of subject cataloging and the cataloging of nonbook resources, but offered very limited coverage of metadata. Few programs offered full courses on metadata, and even fewer offered advanced metadata courses. Metadata topics" were well integrated into LIS curricula, but coverage of metadata courses varied from program to program, depending on the interests of instructors. Educators were forward-looking and agreed on the inclusion of specific knowledge and skills" in metadata instruction. A series, of actions were proposed to assist educators in providing students with competencies in cataloging and metadata.

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Organization of information in the twenty-first century has become more urgent and challenging because of the rapid increase of information on the Web, a strong interest in digital resources, and the emergence of new formats. The field has also become more competitive because many nonlibrary information professionals mad other professionals who used to be end users are getting involved in information organization, and many of them use metadata schemas developed for a specific domain or discipline. In addition, machines have played greater roles in organizing information in the networked environment. For instance, the Open Archive Initiative's Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH) is designed to harvest metadata from various sources and enable users to search distributed repositories through one single interface. (2) In the digital era, the options for information organization have expanded, and competencies in cataloging and metadata have become critical for library information professionals to be effective and competitive.

Catalogers probably experience the challenges of the digital age more directly than other library professionals do. The trend in integrating Web resources into collections means catalogers need to master the cataloging of digital and integrating resources. They also need to learn more about nonlibrary-based metadata schemas because many individuals and corporate bodies are interested in using such schemas to bring their resources onto the Web. As a result of such interests, more and more catalogers find themselves involved in digital projects. Furthermore, new developments in metadata have resulted in more interaction between online catalogs and other metadata repositories. (3) Libraries have integrated data from a variety of resources for users, and knowledge of metadata integration and management has become more important than ever. (4)

It is against this background that the Library of Congress held the Bicentennial Conference on Bibliographic Control for the New Millennium in November 2000. The intent was to investigate options and tools for controlling electronic and digital resources. Many action items emerged from the conference. Action Item 5.1 is concerned with providing students with core competencies in technical services and management skills, and with producing creative and resourceful catalogers. Library information professionals' competencies in metadata is an area of particular concern, and the action item sets out to promote "the understanding and use of metadata standards for describing and managing electronic and digital resources, with the goal of enabling greater participation of new LIS professionals in the development and refinement of metadata standards used both within and outside libraries. …

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