Weekly Response Post 1: Cataloging – Rachel Skinner-O’Neill

“Cataloging appears to be routine work so long as one believes that the materials just have a regular structure which can be trivially read off.” cited in David M. Levy’s 1995 paper Cataloging in the Digital Order reminds us, as do all of the readings, of how easy it is to take for granted the highly structured, intricate and detailed art that is modern cataloging, and by modern, I mean the type of cataloging librarians and information professionals have been engaged in since the start of the last century.

While all three readings make it clear how vital cataloging is to the organization and order of library materials, the Chowdhurys’ account of the purpose of cataloging: as a retrieval aid, a way of quickly ascertaining what is in any library’s collection, what format is available, and in what location, paved the way for their discussion as to the way cataloging has developed and the purpose of codes such as the AACR2, and to the ongoing challenges of making the public catalog easily usable by patrons, was very much appreciated!


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