Changing Nature of the Catalog: One that won’t be in C&I

One trick to churning out Cites & Insights and two columns while simultaneously being lazy and holding down a job:

Never annotate a source document without using it for C&I or elsewhere.

A rule I’m breaking here.

I read through Karen Calhoun’s entire final report to LC (with the title above), even reading it in the order Calhoun suggests. I marked up a fair number of items as questionable or worth discussing further–from what seem to be overly sweeping statements to a report that aims to elicit “support” first, “dialogue” second, possible disagreement never. It’s hard to know what to make of the “literature analysis” since there’s not much of a bibliography. The business orientation and “life cycle” assumptions bother me. The “market that seems poised to move to e-books” line is a familiar one, but I sure don’t see any signs of such a move. I don’t see anything in the research or any uniform opinion among the interviewees that seems to justify the flat-out, repeated call to abandon subject cataloging (or, more precisely, eliminate LCSH). And there’s more.

I also read Thomas Mann’s critical review. I’ve known Thomas Mann for years; I like him and respect his expertise. I think he makes some excellent points, but the rhetoric of his review causes some difficulty–but then, he did write the review for LC’s union. I would caution against dismissing his criticisms because of rhetorical overkill (and reject the notion that he’s simply arguing against change).

Unfortunately, after spending more time than I’d want to on the whole thing, I find that I don’t have much useful to add to the discussion. Thus this somewhat pointless blog entry instead of a few hundred words in “The Library Stuff” in a future C&I.

I hate it when that happens.

2 Responses to “Changing Nature of the Catalog: One that won’t be in C&I”

  1. Laura says:

    I’ve noticed–and sorry, I have no references–I didn’t save them and am too lazy to go look for them now–that there have been several biblioblogosphere posts or comments of late that say, basically, “Gosh, I was going to write something about this, but you’ve beaten me to it, and now I don’t have to–thanks!” Once in a great while I feel that I have something to say that absolutely no one else (or no one else I’ve encountered–I read only a small slice of the biblioblogosphere) has said, but most of the time, I realize I can let my great ideas slide, because someone else has got them covered. I might once have found this depressing, but now I think it’s kind of nice.

  2. walt says:

    Ah, Laura, you provide wisdom. I was wise enough not to waste C&I space on something where I really couldn’t add intelligently to the discussion. I just hated to be foolish enough to do all the preparation. Which, of course, made me be foolish enough to do this post.

    Oh well, one out of three ain’t bad.