Weekly response post #9: Controlled Vocabularies, Rachel Skinner-O’Neill

Myers and Myers’ paper Opening Artists’ Books to the User made me think again of Jenna Freedman’s approach to cataloging Zines; after checking a document for all signs of authorship, title, publication, and intent, the cataloger must then make (subjective) comments as to content and decide how best to describe an Artist’s book in order that the user is able to hit upon key words in a search for these one-of-a-kind items. The Myers’ raise the need for specific training and national standards for cataloging Artists Books but at the same time acknowledge any set of standards will never really succeed in covering all of the meaning and intention of the content of an Artist’s Book. One of their recommendations is to develop local, controlled vocabularies for cataloging rare / unique items and while this level of customization might be costly to implement, from Leise, Fast and Steckel’s piece for Boxes and Arrows, it became a lot clearer what a controlled vocabulary has to offer to the cataloging process. Developing a CV and creating site specific CVs as finding tools is one of the “behind the scenes” activities of the digital age that any entity, libraries included, need to invest in in order for them and their collections to stay discoverable.

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