The Future of Cataloging

Dr Web's Domain pointed the way to a neat set of articles from Library of Congress Professional Guild.

"The Future of Cataloging," by Dr. Deanna B. Marcum, Associate Librarian of Congress.

"Will Google's Keyword Searching Eliminate the Need for LC Cataloging and Classification?" by Dr. Thomas Mann, Reference Librarian in the Library of Congress Main Reading Room.

and,

"Survey of Library User Studies" also by Dr. Thomas Mann, Reference Librarian in the Library of Congress Main Reading Room.

New essay! The Changing Nature of the Catalog and Its Integration with Other Discovery Tools. Final Report. March 17, 2006. Prepared for the Library of Congress by Karen Calhoun. A Critical Review by Thomas Mann.

Summary

According to the Calhoun report, library operations that are not digital, that do not result in
resources that are remotely accessible, that involve professional human judgement or expertise,
or that require conceptual categorization and standardization rather than relevance ranking of
keywords, do not fit into its proposed "leadership" strategy. This strategy itself, however, is
based on an inappropriate business model – and a misrepresentation of that business model to
begin with. The Calhoun report draws unjustified conclusions about the digital age, inflates
wishful thinking, fails to make critical distinctions, and disregards (as well as mischaracterizes)
an alternative "niche" strategy for research libraries, to promote scholarship (rather than increase
"market position"). Its recommendations to eliminate Library of Congress Subject Headings, and
to use "fast turnaround" time as the "gold standard" in cataloging, are particularly unjustified,
and would have serious negative consequences for the capacity of research libraries to promote
scholarly research.

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