July 17, 2014 1:45-3:45pm
Cataloging doesn’t sound fun or interesting; it sounds boring and repetitive. But, for those of us who like organization, detail, and rules, it can sound fantastically interesting! I left my time with Leigh feeling super excited and ready to tackle some hands on cataloging work! Our time was cut short today, so I will be going in tomorrow from 9-10am for one hour of cataloging work. I can’t wait, which tells me that I think I have found my “ah ha!” discipline!
Moving forward, I will do my best to explain cataloging in a way that sounds interesting.
Leigh printed off several examples of bibliographic records in MARC. A catalog record consists of three records: bibliographic, holding, and item. All three of these records are part of the MARC record. The bibliographic record (bib record) is the meat of a catalog record. Information found within the bib record is author, title, year it was published, number of pages, where it was published, bib id number, language it was written in, any notes, among various other pieces of information that is only needed depending on what type of catalog record it is (CD, DVD, book, dissertation, map, etc.). The holding record is where you would find the location and call number. Finally, the item record consists of circulation information (available/unavailable) and the barcode. All of these records are shown in the OPAC (Online Public Access Catalog) record, but not all of the information is made available to patrons simply because patrons would not be interested in seeing the information.
We mainly went through the bib record today since it holds the most pertinent information. Bib records, and therefore MARC records, have a very defined and rule oriented nature to them. Each tag (which can be thought of like a row in an excel spreadsheet) in a bib record has a specific number that tells a cataloger what input is needed. For example, input number 100 is where the author’s name is entered; no other information is allowed to be written on that line. Input number 856 is for entering a link to a digitized version of an item. For example, Boatwright Library houses all master’s and honor’s theses that student’s have written; these theses are physically kept at the library and digitized so that patrons can view the theses online. There are many different tag numbers, all of which have different rules for what can be written on that specific line. Tag numbers also differ depending upon what the catalog record is for, such as a DVD, map, book, etc. Here is a link for MARC21 if you are interested in perusing the various tag numbers and learning what is entered in each one: http://loc.gov/marc/bibliographic/.
In addition to tag numbers, there are also subfields that must be entered for various things. Let’s take the example of tag number 856 (where a url link is added): a subfield of “u” must be entered on this line before the url is typed in. The reason for this is that the subfield “u” tells the computer that the following information is a clickable link. Url links are not very pretty to look at, so if a cataloger wants to make the link field look pretty for patrons they enter a subfield of “y” in addition to subfield “u”. After an entry for subfield “y” the pretty version of what the patron sees is written , such as “Full text url” or “Document link”. The subfield “y” always goes before subfield “u” because it tells the computer that only the “pretty” version of the url link should be shown.
Cataloging is essentially rules, organization, details, and more rules, organization, and details. Each tag has its own metadata rules. Each subfield has its own metadata rules. All of this is done so that library patrons can search OPAC’s, find the location of what they are looking for, and learn the author’s name and year of publication. Catalog records also list subject(s) that the searched for item fall under. These subjects are extremely important for students and researchers. Subjects can also help an everyday library patron search for a new recreational book to read.
I will have a new cataloging post up tomorrow evening…