Librarians have always sought technological aids to facilitate and enhance services to the user. For technical services (acquiring materials, organizing them, and providing bibliographic access), automation was and is the major development in the last 40 years. Automation allows items to be processed and ready for the user quickly and efficiently. The emergence of unit-record equipment in the 1930s, offline batch processing on computers in the 1960s, and online computerization in the 1970s represent a few of the more pronounced technological events in the course of library automation. With the advent of full online automation, job responsibilities and organizational structures in technical services began changing even more rapidly than in the past. Because the bulk of technical services work is production oriented, procedures derived from industrial production experience can now be introduced into the library.
In an automated environment library managers are paying close attention to production goals. At the same time, the bibliographic records in online databases should reflect accurately the library’s holdings. As networking opens every library’s Online Public Access Catalog (OPAC) to users anywhere, it is also important to pay careful attention to cataloging so that the local database reflects generally accepted rules and procedures and is consistent with other catalogs found through networking.
Since 1902, libraries have been able to order catalog cards from the Library of Congress (LC) Card Distribution Service. In addition to supplying cataloging copy in card format this service provided a built-in authority structure for names