Open Cataloging

The conversation revolving around the Open Shelves Classification project has been going for less than a week and it’s already become the best discussion on the cataloging I’ve experienced since I was in school.  But I must say my favorite piece of the conversation was when Tim Spalding brought up why he decided to start the project via the LibraryThing forum, “the people on AUTOCAT were dragging me over the coals for letting ignorant “users” do cataloging”.

Granted this has been a hugely contentious issue across the field, with many fearing the death of authority control if the system is opened up, or at least a severe drop in the quality of the work being done.  But what they keep forgetting is that whatever work we do is meant to be user driven, and thus the users must be allowed to have some input on the development of the system we use.  One of the many great things about the LibraryThing project is that Tim is actively campaigning for non-librarians to get involved with the process, and indeed when he asked for a few ringleaders to step forward the first responders were all non-catalogers, including a few non-librarians even.  So now I’m even more excited about the project.

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