Weekly Response– Cataloguing Woes

Thomas Mann’s article “Why LC headings are more important ever” are a great follow-up to last weeks discussion since we all talked about our issue with cataloguing. It seems like all at some point we’ve discovered an issue with our research, as students and as future librarians. Since librarians rarely interact in the classroom, students aren’t taught early on about subject headings or how to use search engines in general. Even before library school, I would frequently type in my search parameters into a general search bar and come up with more frustration rather then answers. It seems to Mann this lack of education to our users is what is hurting cataloguers the most since they are an underused resource. Even Taylor’s chapter suggests the money that could be used towards cataloguers can be better put to use towards a digitization project. As an archivist, digitization of materials is still incredibly important, but since I’ve recently started a cataloguing internship, it has become quite clear its an undervalued resource.

Even cataloguing internationally is an issue. In the US (as we also discussed in the last class), are not recognized well in terms of where international books are cataloguing. For example, French books are commonly catalogued under PT (which is also the French work for toilet paper). While it may be just a coincidence, religious texts receive a a similar treatment by also being listed under BS. While the aspect of subject headings is incredibly not shown to our users, where books are cataloged also matters so as to not offend our patrons. It should be our job to teach our patrons how to use the libraries for their research, so they are educated and know how to use databases.

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