This did not begin as a post about cataloging

Given the size of my to-do list, and the intensity of my current headache, I’m going to keep this week’s post brief.

My favorite part of last week’s class (aside from #daveheart and Nerds [honestly, what were you thinking?  they’re like tiny little maracas!]) was learning a bit more about MARC and cataloging.  I have a soft spot for MARC, as my first ever library job was a 5-month stint as a temp cataloger for the BOCES school library system.  I learned the absolute basics of copy cataloging and spent those 5 months doing my best to wrangle semi-coherent entries out of the mess of information that librarians chose to send me (often no more than a title and author).  I definitely learned that even if you don’t expect to do cataloging as part of your job, you need to understand the basics if only to prevent a cataloger from someday killing you in your sleep. 

That said, I can absolutely see how an inflexible system like MARC is no longer adequate, particularly for virtual objects.  I’m sure that this will be another one of those issues that I find myself obsessing over.  I’m grateful for the experience with MARC, as I do think it’s been helpful in giving me a general picture of how items are currently accessed.  It’s fun to ponder the possibilities though.  On the one hand I could excuse myself from the whole debate and just say that as a school librarian it’ll be out of my hands, but I sort of wonder whether a school library is almost an ideal place to experiment with new ideas.  You have a relatively small collection, limited and tightly controlled interaction with other libraries, and a captive test population…  Could be fun!


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