Tag Archives: Patrice Landry

IFLA 2008: Session on Bibliographic Control

I’ve finally had a chance to summarize some of the sessions that I attended while at IFLA. The Bibliographic Control session is summarized below.

Biblographic Control
New challenges in bibliographic control in North America

Liz McKeen, LAC

Amount of digital materials. Traditional formats are not decreasing in production, but we have more and more digital information to organize and make accessible.
Technology. We need to create better ways to disseminate information.
Resource discovery. There is a shift away from listing (ie. An inventory of the collection) to discovery.
Cost effectiveness. Traditional cataloguing is expensive. How can items be “touched” less while still maintaining accessibility and uniformity while balancing cost?
Collaboration in description. With the amount of materials, we need to find ways to allow others to help by sharing information. Vendors? Other libraries? Businesses?
Personalization of description. We need to seek user input and contribution while adapting records to our users’ needs.
Standards, interoperability and sharing infrastructure among other libraries and institutions.

What are libraries doing to deal with these challenges?
LAC has created a description policy created to deal with cataloguing digital items. This departs from traditional cataloguing practices. A copy of this policy is available online, however, it has not been fully implemented yet.

General ideas in policy
1. Set out levels of description:
Basic, Full or Supplementary (access via metadata)
2. Define criteria for cataloguing
What to catalogue, how to catalogue, how will it be disseminated

For digital cataloguing, always look at it from the users’ perspective. Digital information has three components: Acquisitions, Cataloguing and Dissemination. The emphasis for digital is on cataloguing and dissemination as the acquisitions aspect takes the form of webcrawlers and other institutions “docking” their information or alerting system of new material.


Beacher Wiggins, LC
LC is redefining bibliographic control as broader than just cataloguing. They have merged Acquisitions and Bibliographic control. As a result, the items are handled less frequently and the cataloguing aspect can be expanded to cope with the increase of digital information and the shift away from traditional cataloguing.

Merging will result in revision of job descriptions and one librarian monitoring the workflow from receipt through cataloguing and processing.

LC can no longer handle cataloguing everything. They are leaving the field open for other libraries to become “leaders” to fill in the gaps.

What is LC doing to handle the increase in information that needs to be cataloguing, organized?
1. Streamlining processes
2. Sharing responsibilities
3. Increasing collaboration among other libraries
4. Increasing bibliographic data sharing
5. Internationalizing authority files

What about RDA?
The LC working group strongly recommened suspending work on RDA. They’ve decided to collaborate with other US National Libraries to test RDA before it moves forward. What are they looking for?
1. Ease of use for cataloguers
2. Interoperability with existing OPACs
3. Interoperability between RDA & AACR2 in the catalogues
4. Access to broader range of materials
5. User retrieval
In short – Financial/Technical/Operability

Testing participants include, but are not limited to:
1. Cooperating cataloguing libraries
3. Commercial vendors
4. Archival Institutions

Patrice Landry, Swiss National Library
With the increase in digital information, how will this effect traditional cataloguing?
Traditional publications have NOT declined. As a result, cataloguers are having to balance new & old. As a result, streamlining certain functions in this new era assists in providing more time for cataloguers to focus on the library’s priorities and the items that need to be fully catalogued.

It’s not a matter of not needing cataloguers, it’s cataloguers doing more & sharing the workflow between digital and print. This results in a need for collaboration and vendors providing us with better metadata.


Q & As:
Q: What consideration is being given to the training of praciticing cataloguers in RDA?
A: LAC – thinking of creating an RDA training group, although they are hoping RDA won’t require significant training.

Q: Education for the future of cataloguing?
A: 1. Emphasis on how to manage projects and activities.
2. Understanding the organization of knowledge is more imporant that ever.


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