- Trends of the Library Catalog and Training of Catalogers
- No.3, p.229-237
In the nineteenth century librarians and catalogers were almost synonymous, and librarian's most important work was to catalog and classify books. Gradually, however, in librarianship other elements have developed such as book selection, reference service and library administration, and cataloging began to occupy smaller area in the whole range of librarianship. By the middle of this century some became to consider catalogers as “grubblers in detail, dubblers in trifles, dull, obstinate people” But in reality, the responsibility imposed on them to organize library materials and make them available for the user has become more important and more complex than before, because of the larger quantities of materials to be handled, the greater variety in library materials, increased demands for information and materials, and the increase of demands on speed to process materials. Thus training of catalogers also has become very complicated. This paper tries to examine the trends of library catalogs and cataloging in relation to training of catalogers.
About a century ago most library catalogs were in book form. But since introduction of the card catalog, only the card catalog has been regarded as the library catalog. Recently the printed book catalog begins to gain popularity again as a means of curtailing the size of the catalog, and for the convenience of duplication and movility.
In addition to the printed book form, various other forms are made possible for the library catalog because of the progress of science and technology. Some of them are punched cards, edge-notched cards, roll microfilm, microtext sheets or cards, magnetic tape or wire or drums, etc.
In an age of speed, the periodical form of publication gains more popularity than the book form, and the traditional card catalog has shortcomings to make the periodical literature available for the user. So the index and abstract services must be utilized to supplement the library catalog.
The movement of centralized and cooperative technical processing influences cataloging. In the U.S. there are many successful instances and they are serving to standardize the catalogs and cataloging procedures, to raise the standard of the quality of the catalog, to reduce the cost of cataloging and to mitigate the suffering of libraries from shortage of catalogers. In Japan this movement has not been very successful yet and the development in that direction is expected.
To train catalogers above-mentioned trends should be taken into consideration, and the contents of the instruction should not be same as those covered by Mann and Akers in their textbooks which were written many years ago. More attention should be given to history and theory of cataloging and other fundamental knowledge in the field to give students the ability to adapt themselves to the local situation. Students should be introduced to all types of bibliographic control systems, not just the dictionary card catalog, and should also be instructed in the theory of indexing and abstracting. Handling of periodicals and materials other than monographs should be put more emphasis than before. Students have to know how to operate a technical processing department with economic viewpoint. To clear the cataloger's ill fame, it is worth remembering for them to develop “the creative scepticis” as Dunkin advised us some years ago.