Thursday, May 3, 2007

On Competition for Catalogs & Catalogers

Karen Calhoun, Sr. Assoc. University Librarian for Information Technology and Technical Services, Cornell University, wants you to think beyond traditional cataloging. She asked:
What is cataloging and what do catalogers do?

Karen encouraged participants to view:
Vivo is Cornell's virtual life sciences library: social networking & resources: metadata, pushed to the limit!

Proactive cataloging: Recycling and reuse is what Karen advocates. Workflow analysis and quality improvement. More is on her website.

Eyes are not on the library webpages, only 2% of college students start their research on the library page. When they do land on library pages, they see fragmented pages. Printed collections are being shipped to storage, so that students can use the library for space and a cup of coffee.
Needed is "interoperability" with other websites.

Classic cataloging philosophy: "Save the time for the reader"
In the past fifty years cataloging has seen great strides:
  • MARC, AACR, and LC
  • Cooperative Cataloging
  • Affordability and scalability
  • More than descriptive metadata
  • Metadata is strategic issue for libraries

Catalog librarians present and future have the ability to share their skills to go beyond library catalogs to being resource managers. Karen used the example of the Railroad describing its mission in a limited way. If the Railroads had looked at their mission as transportation, the poor performance of that service in the past century could have been avoided.

See more:
Library Hi Tech v.25 n.2
Preprint 17 December 2004

Catalogers are well positioned to make contributions to the public they serve. Metadata is a strategic advantage and should share this with their communities. The mission is larger than cataloging, it is: knowledge, insight, action.

Her thesis: We need to rethink the catalog in light of a changed world!

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