Academic journal article Library Resources & Technical Services

Cresting toward the Sea Change: Literature Review of Cataloging and Classification 2009-10

Academic journal article Library Resources & Technical Services

Cresting toward the Sea Change: Literature Review of Cataloging and Classification 2009-10

Article excerpt

This review covers cataloging and classification literature published in 2009 and 2010, including relevant explorations of knowledge organization systems and theory. Only English-language literature is reviewed, though not all of the literature covered is U.S.-based. Overarching themes presented in the literature include the merging of library metadata into the Web environment, the continuation of cooperative cataloging in libraries, the role of both controlled and uncontrolled headings in catalog records, and reconsiderations of workflow in light of impending changes to cataloging rules. Notably, several relevant foundational documents were either completed or revised during the review period.


The literature covering cataloging and classification in 2009 and 2010 reflects the dramatic changes taking place in cataloging and shows that cataloging as a means to resource discovery is evolving. With nascent efforts to integrate bibliographic data into the Web environment, in the form of linked data and the Semantic Web, nothing less than a sea change is emerging. The literature reflects the many creative approaches being taken to adapt to this potential reality, such as experimentation with FRBR-ized catalogs, based on the Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records (FRBR). (1) The limitations inherent in the more than forty year old Machine Readable Cataloging (MARC) format have been identified and shared, paving the way for acceptance of a more interoperable format. Several foundational documents, such as the Statement of International Cataloging Principles and others, were either revised or completed during the review period, eliciting analysis and commentary. (2) The use of controlled (i.e., subject, name, and series) headings and uncontrolled headings (i.e., tags) in records has been examined at length. Traditional concerns regarding cooperative cataloging and workflow also are well-represented in the literature, but often within the context of changes in the culture at large. Additionally, some excellent forays into the history of cataloging and classification were published.


The author and an assistant identified some 450 possible publications to review that appeared in 2009 and 2010. Under the direction of the author, Anna Sophia Cotton, a recent graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Information Science and Learning, compiled citations from August through October 2010 using Library, Information Science, and Technology Abstracts, and Google. Terms searched included: cataloging, bibliographical control, information organization, AACR2, RDA, MARC, authority control, classification, DDC, subject heading, LCSH, FRBR, metadata, OCLC, WorldCat, and Semantic Web. The author scanned the tables of contents for 2009-2010 issues of highly relevant journals to ensure that especially pertinent sources were revealed. The author subsequently performed circle searches by scanning the bibliographical references found in sources. The author also scanned tables of contents for appropriate publications listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) under Social Sciences--Library and Information Science, such as Ariadne and Code4Lib Journal.

The focus of the selected sources is on the practice and theory of bibliographical cataloging and classification, including knowledge organization systems and theory. The author limited the universe considered to English language sources published as journal articles, conference papers, monographs, reports, and policy documents, electing those of greatest significant or representative of a topic. The volume of publications precluded being exhaustive. The literature review is organized into the following categories:

* Bibliographic Standards, Principles, Formats, and Codes

* Library Data in the Web World

* Workflow

* Cooperative Cataloging

* Personnel and Education

* History of Cataloging and Classification

* Classification

* Controlled and Uncontrolled Headings

* Cataloging Special Formats

Bibliographic Standards, Principles, Formats, and Codes

An internationally-constructed foundational document, built "on the great cataloguing traditions of the world," the Statement of International Cataloguing Principles (ICP), was released by the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA). …

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