Thursday, December 22, 2011

Re: Cataloging issue of journal as monograph

Posting to Autocat

On 21/12/2011 17:05, J. McRee Elrod wrote:
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Jim said:
Although there is a theoretical difference between a series/analysed serial, and we see it in the usage of either the 490/830 or 730, the final product for the searcher is precisely the same level of access.
No. A series tracing in 730 does not appear in the series index of our software. I assume the same is true of other ILS with a series search. Practices need to be adopted with basic cataloguing principles and the end result in mind, not done for convenience on the fly. The LCRI and OCLC guideline are counterproductive.

It's not rocket science as they say.
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Unfortunately, I cannot agree with this. Maybe your software does not allow a 730 to appear in the series index, but there are lots of different kinds of software in the world with lots of different types of capabilities. As an open source developer, I would probably decide to change the indexing. The average person *cannot* be expected to know the difference between a regular series and an analysed serial. In this sense, for a layperson it may as well be rocket science. For an experienced cataloger, it may not be, but it is not fair to the users and ultimately, is counterproductive for everyone, including us. The public barely understands what a title is, but a series title? Or an analysed serial? This doesn't mean they are stupid, but they neither specialize nor have any interest in these matters, and probably never will.

The vast majority of people I have met have tremendous problems searching library catalogs--I don't think I'm the only one who have dealt with these types of people. After all, if catalogers have problems with something, how in the world can we expect the average person to understand? I discovered that many younger people have trouble understanding the very concept of a catalog record (what I always called a "summary record") since 95%+ of their experience is with Google and Yahoo.

The practices that we choose should be based on the needs of the *searchers*, that is, the people who will actually be using our records, and cataloging principles should take a back seat. In addition, I have seen many "mistakes" of putting the title of a serial issue they are analysing into the 830 instead of the 730.

So, what is the lesson from all of this? For an ordinary searcher, they should be very careful of searching series titles since they don't really understand them. For a cataloger, if you have anything that even looks like a series/serial title, you had better search both 730 and 830, otherwise you may be missing something.

Can this situation be improved and perhaps even become simplified? I think it can.

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