Response to Weekly Reading: Valerie Ramshur

Coup D’Etat and Revolutions in the Stacks!!!!

This week any readings that use Gil Scott -Heron and the current state of the Library – gets my full attention.

This week the readings touched on the current state of libraries and specifically the history and future of the catalogues. Each piece asked in various ways and how the modern library they will stay relevant moving forward. How “arcane and mysterious processes and practices” (Eden 2013) have succeeded in creating an environment of confusion and little help to the general user.

Resource Description and Access (RDA), Cataloging Rules for the 20th Century- Coyle /Hillman This was helpful to me in laying out how libraries are so steeped in tradition centric thought. Drenched in 19th and 20th century methodology of cataloguing and structure. We find in this current day and age the standard technical services and user interface no longer apply. How the further depreciation of the library is bound to happen if a radical approach to change is not embraced.

“If libraries don’t change in their approach to user services. The library’s signature service, its catalog, uses rules for cataloging that are remnants of a long departed technology: the card catalog. Modifications to the rules, such as those proposed by the Resource Description and Access (RDA) development effort, can only keep us rooted firmly in the 20th, if not the 19th century.”

The New User Environment: The End of Technical Services? – Bradford Lee Eden “How do we make massive changes without creating chaos? “ I appreciated the clarity and ease of language in this piece; Eden lays out the conundrum of the modern library. In a time of digital savvy user environment of fast searches, fast data. what is the most import area to focus our attention and in turn modify. I particularly found it interesting how digitation has changed even the local library, and how best to allocate funds with an institution based on the needs of each individual library. Does a local library need to spend time cataloguing the way a research library does? Does the focus on books, journals; various media change the local level as well as the scholarly level of a library. How do we radically in the face of tradition change not only the cataloguing but also the entire way the public uses the library and its resources.

“Users are not accessing the OPAC anymore; well-known studies indicate that more than 80 percent of information seekers begin their search on a Web search engine. Libraries are investing huge resources in staffing and priorities fiddling with MARC bibliographic records in a time when they are struggling to survive…. but search engines are students and scholars’ favorite place to begin a Search. More users bypass catalogs for search engines.” … “despite heroic efforts on the part of librarians, students seldom have sufficiently sustained exposure to and practice with library skills to reach the point where they feel real ease with and mastery of library changed environment and information systems.”    

viva la revolucion


About Valerie R.

Head of Costume Design, Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University. Freelance Professional Costume Designer, and Archivist.

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