September 7, 2007
Carry on Cataloguing
In a post below I pointed out that we spend fifteen million pounds in the public library service recataloguing books which have already been catalogued. It is all a waste of money - but jolly good fun
Neilsen Bookdata catalogue all the output of UK publishers, and then both they and BDS (Bibiliographic data services) recatalogue books from the perspective of libraries. That's fine-- but then almost every single library authority in the UK (200 of them) -recatalogue the whole lot to suit their own individual catalogue style. For academic libraries that is ok, but for public libraries that is a complete waste of money and shows total lack of management discipline
Here is Essex county council (which is pathetically short of books and where book lending is falling like apples in the autumn) organising a cataloguing fun weekend at which to waste even more public money
Who grants permission for all this?
Next year’s conference of the CILIP Cataloguing and Indexing group (CIG) will be in Glasgow in September 2008. The exact venue and dates are to be confirmed but this is a chance to consider giving a paper/ presentation.
The plan for the conference is to explore current developments in classification and subject retrieval. We hope to cover both the longstanding methods – such as traditional classification schemes - right up to social networking and ‘bleeding edge’ ideas. We would like to have contributions from all parts of the spectrum – how you are helping your users to access the catalogue and your collections using whatever tools are at your disposal or a more academic look at the theory that might enable us to improve subject access.
If you think you might have something to contribute let me know. There will be a formal call for papers when the venue and dates are confirmed.
Acquisitions & Cataloguing Manager
Essex CC Libraries
Posted by Perkins at September 7, 2007 10:44 AM
This conference will be organised by the CILIP Cataloguing & Indexing Group of which I am the Chair - hence I posted the preliminary announcement. We hope that cataloguers, librarians and others from all library sectors, including public libraries will attend.
It is true that Neilsen/ BDS and others provide catalogue records and I doubt that many public libraries spend as much time reworking them as you seem to think. That is not the point of the coference (or this message) however. What those agencies do is the basic cataloguing and if libraries want to help their users make the best of the information there are people across the globe improving the usefulness, not always or often by changing the catalogue record but by using software solutions to allow different types of search or retrieval of more information. The conference will allow us to spread the word about some of these things.
Posted by: Andrew Coburn at September 7, 2007 11:18 AM
From my experience in Acquisitions within HE, a lot of the data from book suppliers is pretty poor, and even when good it is basic.
Also there is no individual catalogue style- all cataloguing is done to standards.
However, the work that can be done by cataloguers in improving this work and adding locally useful information is a service that is of use to the public.
Please break down the fifteen million pounds figure Tim. As this is a figure you propose, I cannot go and find it on the CIPFA site.
Posted by: Pete at September 7, 2007 1:02 PM
Andrew-- how many fte's are involved in checking the catlogue entries for the public libraries in Essex?
Pete-- if the catalogue entries were so poor why didn't you either get them put right or stop paying for them? The cataloguing agencies use experienced professional staff working 'book in hand'-- is their work so awful that somebody has to check every entry? and who checks the checkers? It doesn't take much of this to add upto 15m over 200 councils
Posted by: tim at September 7, 2007 2:50 PM
From a more expansive piece over on the Panlibus blog [http://blogs.talis.com/panlibus/archives/2007/09/a_cataloging_ca.php]-- Coming from an organisation which has its roots in cooperative cataloguing, I am bound to say that library cataloguers do add value to records that come from the book suppliers, but like Andrew I fail to see the need for 200+ local variations in this. I also fail to see why similar duplication is OK for academia - wasting money is not a good thing, regardless of who's budget it comes out of. .... So why recataloguging is such an apparently common process is a matter of amazement to me - doubly so when there is a facility such as Talis Base on hand to share cataloguing effort and practice between the professionals. ---
Posted by: Richard Wallis at September 7, 2007 5:56 PM
I would guess recataloguing is common as there is still such a variation in the quality of catalogue records- even in TalisBase. There is a need to focus on that, and if that meant very good records at the 'front end' then yes you could get rid of 'recataloguing'- although that's a bit of a misnomer. As noted in another thread, it is disappointing that this has not been sorted before.
In academia you also have books which don't get catalogued by any central services- theses, overseas books- so there's still a need for some original cataloguing. This may also be the case for public libraries.
Posted by: Pete at September 10, 2007 9:07 AM