Posted tagged ‘catalogers’

April 30, 2009

I twittered this yesterday, but wanted to make sure to give the post a little more prominence as well.  Why is Cataloging Hard? is a perfect summary of both the joys and frustrations of cataloging.  I definitely aproach the job from a similar perspective, loving the challenge of puzzling over where to place a particularly obtuse item, but at the same time longing to throw my computer out the window everytime I have to remember what the 2nd indicators are for a 246 field.

An excellent read.

Advertisements

Trumps

April 28, 2009

I’ve been joking about formalizing this for awhile so I might as well talk about it here.  We have a sort of unofficial subject hierarchy in my library that comes up any time a reasonable case can be made for placing an item under two different subjects.  Biographies beat professions, drug addicts beats biographies, sports beat drug addicts, pets beat everything.

But every now and again a real stumper comes along, and so I give you Crystal Clear, the memoir of hocker player/snowboarder/crystal meth addict/mountaineering accident survivor Eric Le Marque.  By our unwritten formula I think this’ll wind up in hockey (the bigger of the two sports, particularly since he played for the local team), but that’s also probably the least significant of the options.

Some people just need to lead less interesting lives, for the sake of us catalogers at least.

“Us” vs. “They”

April 15, 2009

Heidi Hoerman’s back at her blog for a week and she’s already stumbled right into some controversy.  Well done.  Yesterday she wrote a post on the openness of bibliographic data, which followed up on a great piece of RDA criticism from Diane Hillmann.  Well in the comments someone went out and accused Hillmann of wishing “to destroy cataloging”.  I haven’t seen that level of vitriol in the field since the OCLC discussions on Autocat caused all the participants with worthwhile things to say to boycot the mailing list entirely.

So of course Hoerman had to issue a rebuttal, a wonderful read.

Future4catalogers’ Blog

April 8, 2009

Heidi Hoerman’s gone back to her blog, and to make up for lost time she’s published 4 posts including the slightly incendiary “Marc was a good & loyal mule but it’s time to shoot it“.

Welcome back!

What’s So Bad About Google

January 26, 2009

The Autocat regulars have picked up the Guardian article on OCLC last week, and the direction they’ve gone with the conversation seems a little….oh what’s the word…wrong?  Complaints immediately sprang up regarding the anti-OCLC agenda held by those who were interviewed (why this is surprising, or a problem I don’t get).  And people responded even more vehemently against the suggestion that it’s wrong for catalog records to be part of the hidden web.

The arguement goes something like this, people can search for a book in either a library’s own catalog or in Worldcat, so why would you want to let Google do it?  Well let’s see, because people use Google and they don’t use Worldcat (the majority of patrons have probably never even heard of it).  Because Google is intuitive to use and our catalogs are anything but.  Because we have to meet the patrons at their level and not force them to come up to ours.

Furthermore, there’s a bit of a fear that giving search engines access to our data will make our own systems irrelevant.  That’s only true in that our systems are already bordering on decrepitude.  Our jobs are to find ways to let people discover our resources.  To do so we should use every single tool at our disposal.  There is no possible downside if a new patron finds our stuff that wouldn’t have otherwise.  Really who cares if this discovery happened through an approved channel or not?  The important thing is that it was able to occur.

Future4Catalogers

January 6, 2009

Heidi Hoerman, one of the most observent people working in tech services today has started up a new blog on the future of cataloging.  But what really makes hers a site worth watching is her view that the field is about to undergo drastic and unavoidable changes, and that the people within the profession are largely tripping over each other while trying to figure out how to confront those changes.  A view I agree with entirely.

The Current State of Tech Services on the Web

December 3, 2008

Well, it’s come at last.  Tomorrow I’ll be heading out the WMRLS for my first ever workshop, and will finally be able to put into use the links page in the right hand column.  In preparation I’ve spent a lot of time lately exploring the online technical services world, and over all it’s not very good.

There are almost no decent sites out there for the profession.  The Library of Congress’s cataloging and acquistions department is a notable exception, but besides that sites are largly poorly designed, out of date, or are just repositories for powerpoint presentations.  

The only real signs of life online are on the autocat list, the librarians for librarything forum, and across the blogosphere.  At least those resources are quite extensive and provide a great means of staying current, but they’re awful for getting up to speed.

So tomorrow should be interesting.  I’ve always thought that we need to spend more time focusing on life outside the field, which I guess is now going to become part of a theme for my talk.

But I’m still open to having people prove me wrong.  Find some more sites and let me know.