Maggie Kay Hall-Librarian, Mother, Life-Long-Learner and Literacy Advocate
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Libraries containing literature have been essential to generations stemming back to those who originally founded our great country.
Until reading the first chapter of the book “Catalog It!”, I never truly realized that cataloging has such an interesting and extensive history going back to the 7th century of B.C. Based on the assigned readings, it appears that catalogues have dramatically changed along the way, much like the rest of the technologically advancements and the ever-evolving world which we live. Throughout history, catalogues have appeared in various forms, from tablets made of clay, to scrolls, printed on cards and books, all the way to the online versions that most of us use today (Kaplan, 2016).
Today, computer based catalogue systems are very flexible, allowing for more entry points and efficient systematic changes, but are still quite costly. Keeping up with rapid advancements and changes in technology may become a financial hardship for the school library in addition to the need to provide additional trainings on how to use new programs (Kaplan, 2016).
While change is inevitable, one thing which seems to remain constant is that librarians and their cataloging systems will play a vital role in a quest for knowledge and understanding in a vast world of information and resource collections.
The second chapter of our text explained a lot about the Library of Congress, which I also found to be very interesting. The LOC contains millions of manuscripts, recordings, photographs, news article, maps, and books, making it one of the largest libraries in the world. The Library of Congress provides access to a vast and diverse wealth of knowledge that dates to the 1800s, when it once contained the personal collection of our former US present, Thomas Jefferson (Kaplan, 2016).
In the third chapter, I read about the MARC system, an acronym which stands for Machine-Readable Cataloging. This is a data-based format which was initiated by the Library of Congress about forty years ago, and provides a means by which computers can interpret, use, and exchange bibliographic information. Today, these elements make up the foundation of nearly all the library catalogs used (Kaplan, 2016).
MARC has gone through a few different names and changes over time. When first created, in was called LC MARC, then called US MARC in the 80s. Since the 2000s, it has been more recently known as MARC 21 (Wilson, 1983).
RDA (Resource Description & Access) is set of standards which explains the type of information that must be included in a library record, but should not be confused for MARC, which is the encoding standard that makes information identifiable by the cataloging software used in the library. RDA explains the what and why, while MARC explains the how information should be labeled and stored so that resources are made easily accessible to patrons (Wilson, 1983).
Kaplan, A. (2016). Catalog It! A guide to cataloging school library materials. Third Ed. Librarian Unlimited. pp 1-35.
Wilson, P. (1983). The Catalog as Access Mechanism: Background and Concepts, in Foundations of Cataloguing, ed. by M. Carpenter and E. Svenonius. Littleton: Libraries Unlimited, pp. 253-268.