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!