Conversations with Catalogers in the 21st Century

By Elaine R. Sanchez | Go to book overview

11    JUDGMENT AND IMAGINATION:
CARRYING CATALOGING THROUGH
TIMES OF CHANGE

Jay Weitz

Most catalogers working in the United States today have labored under one or both of the editions of the Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules. Published in 1967, the first edition, AACR1, gave way to the second edition, AACR2, in 1978. The longevity of the AACR canon over more than forty years offers an illusion of stasis and stability. But any cataloger familiar with the evolution of AACR through that period knows that those rules never stopped changing, any more than the world of things to catalog stopped changing.

This whole notion of dealing with inevitable change was actually built into the rules, thanks to the foresight of the rule makers. AACR2 in particular not merely allows, but actually forces itself to evolve constantly, pushed both from within and without.

The rules changed from within thanks in part to the concept of “cataloger’s judgment” built into AACR2’s foundation and given fullest voice in Rules 0.7 and 0.9.

0.7: Some rules are designated as alternative rules or as optional additions,
and some other rules or parts of rules are introduced by optionally. These
provisions arise from the recognition that different solutions to a problem
and differing levels of detail and specificity are appropriate in different
contexts. Decide some alternatives and options as a matter of cataloguing
policy for a particular catalogue or bibliographic agency and, therefore,
exercise them either always or never. Exercise other alternatives and
options case by case. All cataloguing agencies should distinguish between
these two types of option and keep a record of their policy decisions and
of the circumstances in which a particular option may be applied.1

-169-

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