Academic journal article Library Philosophy and Practice

Issues in Acquisition and Application of Conventional and Online Complementary Cataloguing Competencies in Nigerian University Libraries

Academic journal article Library Philosophy and Practice

Issues in Acquisition and Application of Conventional and Online Complementary Cataloguing Competencies in Nigerian University Libraries

Article excerpt


University libraries are academic libraries set up basically to satisfy the teaching, learning and research needs of their student population, staff and visitors with information resources. They are a hub of knowledge and information services in their institutions and are usually established along with their mother institutions as an integral part (Abubakar, 2011; Mirza and Mahmood, 2009). According to Mole (2010), university libraries are central to the universities' objective of promoting research and scholarship. As a result, they are always struggling to acquire and catalogue printed and non-printed forms of materials. (Hardesty as cited in Mole, 2010).

Cataloguing is the process of describing each of the books and information materials that a library has (Ekere and Mole, 2014). They added that it is the process of describing an item of a collection with a view to determining its bibliographical attributes. Adeyemi (2002) defined cataloguing as the correct and accurate description of the physical properties of a document, whether it is print, non print, audio-visual or both.

There are basically two cataloguing practices or modes: conventional and online. Conventional cataloguing is the traditional method of cataloguing documents. It refers to the descriptive and subject processing of information materials. It requires the mastery of a set of rules such as the AACR2 or other cataloguing rules and the use of cataloguing tools to catalogue information materials while online cataloguing deals with searching and locating cataloguing data through online cataloguing databases, which give the cataloguer access to an unlimited number of bibliographic data online (Ruteyan, 2007). In terms of competency, conventional cataloguing may require competencies in descriptive cataloguing, subject cataloguing, critical and analytical thinking, and evaluation of information while online cataloguing requires data mining competencies, computer and web navigation competencies, combined with system appreciation competencies. The advent of online cataloguing has resulted in casting the traditional library operations in new methods of work; for conventional cataloguing, it is searching the literature and asking critical questions, for online cataloguing it is data mining. Online cataloguing makes the task of finding metadata easy.

The task of cataloguing is usually done by librarians trained as cataloguers. Cataloguers in university libraries are academic librarians; they undertake the task of describing information materials for the catalogue in the Library. They organize library materials for easy storage and retrieval by determining the main entry, added entries, subject headings and call numbers (Ode and Omakaro, 2007). Accuracy and consistency are usually cited as the competencies a good cataloguer requires. Competency is synonymous with the term skill. It means ability to execute a given work, as a result of experience, formal training or practice. It is the ability to combine and apply acquired expertise on a particular job. This involves application of high levels of knowledge, standards and capacity to assigned work (Ofodu, 2015).

Complementary acquisition and application of conventional and online cataloguing competencies amongst cataloguers refers to the capacity of the cataloguer to obtain and utilize corresponding skills in conventional and online cataloguing for a dynamic and efficient practice of cataloguing in the library. Adeleke and Olorunsola (2006) noted that in developed countries of the world, conventional and online cataloguing complement each other. It is necessary that cataloguers in these countries have dynamic competencies in processing library materials with conventional or online cataloguing techniques complementing each other. However as Srider (2004) noted the reality is that there is a significant gap between these countries and developing nations such as Nigeria. …

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