Recommended Reading

I’ve been waiting for the arrival of our newest professional collection title The Power to Name by Hope A. Olson. Hope was my cataloguing professor in graduate school. I have read other books by Hope, including Subject Analysis in Online Catalogs, and I find her writing comprehensive and interesting.

The summary reads as follows:

The names we give things colour the ways we perceive them. Those in a position to name hold the power to construct others’ perceptions and realities. This book looks at the pervasive naming of information that libraries undertake as a matter of course through representation of subjects. It examines the 19th century foundations, current standards and canonical application of internationally-used classification (Melvill Dewey and his decimal scheme) and subject headings (Charles Cutter and the Library of Congress Subject Headings). A feminist poststructural critique is used to reveal the presumption that these standards are universally applicable even though their marginalizations and exclusions are well-documented. The book will be of interest to librarians, information scholars and professionals, researchers interested in representation and the construction of meaning, and anyone who uses a library.

I can’t wait to start reading this and, given the topic, recommend it to all cataloguing and information professionals. As many of you are aware from reading this blog, I believe our role in libraries is key to access of information and we must understand the influence we have over communities when “labelling” items for access.



Filed under Access Issues, Our Profession, Subject Headings

2 responses to “Recommended Reading

  1. Jeff Beder

    Hope Olson was my instructor in graduate school also.
    She also helped write the DOIT grant that allowed me to go to school.
    I will forever be grateful to her.
    She is a most wonderful teacher (not just) a talented academic.

  2. Laurel Tarulli

    Hope is an amazing professor and cataloguer. She not only taught me cataloguing skills, but the knowledge and practices of cataloguing that go beyond the tools, to the core of cataloguing and why it is essential.

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