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This book the 4th of the 5 preparatory reading books for my course, is it turns out, about cataloguing. This makes me happy as it means that the course I have to take term 2 which also has the rather ambiguous “organising information” title is also about cataloguing. The book is a great introduction. It’s written by the same people as the Digital Libraries book that I just said and I have to say I really appreciate their straightforward style and their frequent use of examples. I wish I’d read this book back in December when I started cataloguing properly as I think it would have explained a great deal to me, now it made the differences between the different levels of cataloguing that much clearer. It starts out with the basis premise of Cataloguing (which led to the rant below), then goes into detail about the traditional library methods for cataloguing, such as bibliographic formats, library classification schemes (I now understand Dewey much better but am kinda glad I don’t have to use it – though I did agree with all the authors’ complaints about LCC), and subject headings. The authors give a good solid overview of the methods, and the reasons behind this type of classification without going into the tiny punctuation details of the fiddly bits of MARC 21 and the ACCR2 (thankfully!). The “traditional” side of things takes up over half the book, then they look at cataloguing internet information resources and the new methods of cataloguing digital information that have arisen in the past decade or so. This starts with Metadata and mark-up languages, which seem fairly straight forward, and then go on to Ontonology, information architecture and the semantic web, which seemed increasingly more complicated. The book ends with looking at issues and trends within the field. Useful and practical, I was able to sit down and read the whole thing in one go without my head exploding, but I’m sure there are some parts I’ll need to go back and re-reference to properly understand them in terms of my course. But I found it to be very useful and would definitely recommend it as a good place to start to understand about cataloguing, whether traditional or digital. (Which seems to me to make a nice cross over between trad and cyber Goths! Lols!) Before I got very far in this book I had to ask myself about why library catalogue records are so useless, and why no one, well no one in the information profession that I’ve come across so far, will admit to this. For years now if I want to find out about a book I will without question go to Amazon first, look at the full description of the book and if it’s common enough be able to look inside, see the table of contents and read reviews. How different can library catalogues be? The information on the standard opac tells you NOTHING about a book, besides where to find it in the library. The subject terms are often obscure, (and speaking as someone who gets her best guesses removed finds the whole system rather archaic – particularly when perfectly good terms are no longer used). I remember at SOAS spending ages trying to figure out their classification scene, coming up with all the different key words to the books I might want, going through EVERY single reprocution of Taoist, just in case I missed something, religious books would get classified in with literature and religious history in with social history. Interestingly enough when I told the head cataloguer at the Maughan when she was training me that I actually used the subject areas to browse and try and find books she was really surprised! And asked if that was because I’d been working in libraries, but she didn’t expect students to actually be using them. To me the subject terms and especially the classification seem rather random. (A good example of this is Tim Barrett’s new book about Empress Wu which under Library of Congress classification is neither in Chinese history Tang dynasty or the section on religion, but under Z for information/printing side of things). Perhaps you need a librarianship degree to be able to figure out where an item should go and why it is there, but surely this is missing the point as the vast amount of readers don’t hold those qualifications and they are the ones trying to find the books, not the librarians. (Unless of course it’s closed access). But I digress, why is it that you can’t get information about a book from an OPAC? And why is it that no one is trying to include this information? Why is it that people don’t seem to care? Surely if libraries are under risk form online booksellers then you don’t want your users going to Amazon first to find out about a book, and then going to the library catalogue to check the library holdings to see if it’s there. More than likely they’ll go to Amazon realise it’s affordable and just buy it directly from them, bypassing the library altogether. As nearly all bibliographic records, at least for new books, are simply copied from existing records how hard would it be to include information useful to the readers in the library catalogue? Something to help them decide whether or not they actually wanted to read the book, and if it was on a topic that would interest them. I really hope this point gets mentioned on my course!

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نوشته شده در : چهارشنبه 8 آذر 1396  توسط : Julie Wever.    نظرات() .

 
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