The Association's Associations: ALCTS Sets the Standards
Whittlesey, Karen, American Libraries
The work of ALCTS goes on quietly, underpinning the work of librarians in all areas of librarianship. For 40 years, as library materials have expanded from books and serials to include realia, digital files, videos, and interactive multimedia, ALCTS members have worked to improve our abilities to identify materials that should be in our libraries, acquire them cost-effectively, make them accessible through cataloging, prepare them for the shelf, and ensure they will be in usable condition as long as they are needed.
Since its founding in 1957, ALCTS has played an important role in developing standards for technical services librarians. The most widely used and best known of these standards is the Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules (AACR). Here the work of ALCTS feeds into a multinational committee with worldwide responsibility for the development of the rules.
ALCTS also prepares preliminary guides in such areas as multiple versions and interactive multimedia. Some of our committees help to shape the Dewey Decimal Classification and Library of Congress Subject Headings, as well as standards for library binding and the International Standard Book Number (ISBN). Others prepare guidelines for working with library vendors or writing collection development policies.
One key to achieving the vision of ALA Goal 2000 is continuing library education. For two decades ALCTS has been developing regional institutes and preconference workshops. …