Cataloging Internship -- Spring 2008
Entry 1 (8-January 2008)
This morning I met with my internship supervisor, Ralph Papakhian (Head of Technical Services of the Cook Music Library) for the first time. My
brain is teeming (read, boiling over) with information, after our crash course of music cataloging resources. In addition to perusing the print reference collection (which takes up nearly
an entire wall down here and includes such "light" reading selections as the Subject Cataloging Manual and MARC21 Format for Bibliographic Data),
I have an arsenal of links to websites with similar information (though many resources do not yet have an electronic counterpart). No doubt I'll make sense of this embarassment of riches, compiled over the years by the collective wisdom
of my field. For now, I must take it one day (and one resource) at a time, as I prepare for the real work of cataloging. I must admit, I'm champing at the bit to get to that,
but patience is a virtue for now.
More later. I have some reading to do...
Entry 2 (15-January 2008)
I am now in my second week of reading. The resources I am poring over range from useful to arcane, with a full spectrum of technical writing styles. So far, I have selected
the ones most immediately helpful for inclusion in the abstracts below. I am amassing copies of some of these at my desk, in order to compile a "ready reference" (though
most of these are accessible in an online version, if not born digital). As I expected, my anticipation (read, impatience) to embark upon actual cataloging grows every day.
I recently found out that I will be doing a fair share of original cataloging, which excites me to no end. Not that I dislike copy cataloging, which is fulfilling in its own way (not to
mention efficient). There is a collection of obscure opera vocal scores I have my eye on, but I'm sure Ralph has his own ideas of what I'll work on.
I'm beginning to truly appreciate Library of Congress Rule Interpretations, as I grow weary of the Anglo-American Cataloging Rules. While LCRI speaks in
terms of MARC tags and subfields, AACR2 reads in an overly generic, somewhat stilted language of card entries ("precede this area by a full stop" -- please!). The LCRI also fill
in a lot of conceptual gaps.
I'm preparing my physical workspace for the industry to come, clearing out space and having the proper software installed. Soon enough...
Entry 3 (23-January 2008)
At last, I have begun real cataloging work. Well, kind of. Numerous software issues have cropped up, but they seem to be resolved now. I began cataloging yesterday
and today finished my first score!! I located OCLC copy, enhanced it (bringing it up to AACR2 standards), controlled the headings, generated an authority record for the
uniform title, assigned a call number and sent it off to the bindery (all with the help of Ralph, of course). I feel confident and very prepared to handle a variety of cataloging
situations, which I'm sure will be plentiful. Ralph asked me which areas I'd prefer to catalog in; I of course repsonded "all of them!", not to be a sycophant, to be sure, but
to gain as much practical experience as possible. He also intimated that I would be working primarily in copy cataloging. However, I hope that as I prove myself worthy,
I will get to tackle original cataloging as well (there is a collection of obscure French opera scores I have my eye on). We shall see...
I still have much reading to do, as the six-page bibliography Ralph gave me is a gift that just keeps on giving! In addition to that, he directed my attention today to the
PCC (Program for Cooperative Cataloging) site, which has copious documentation to examine.
Entry 4 (5-February 2008)
I am in my third week of real cataloging, and have finally started to build up some momentum. After two weeks of constant one-on-one time with Ralph, I have been left to my own devices (for now). As Ralph has been out ill yesterday and today, he instructed me to keep cataloging, doing as much as I can. What that means for me is that I can locate the OCLC copy, edit it to my satisfaction, create Authority records if needed, and save my work. I'm going to wait until he gets back to update or add any records, or to import anything into our local catalog. I have built up a nice little pile of work for him to check over (no doubt he will find some minor errors and perhaps disagree with a few of my judgment calls). I look forward to his return, lest I let my confidence get the best of me.
In the mean time, I continue my scouring of the professional literature and documentation. I have read several manuals cover-to-cover, and have become intimately familiar with several useful websites. I never knew how constantly I would be needing them simply as a matter of course, however. I'm sure that need will wane as I gain experience.
Entry 5 (2-March 2008)
It has been quite awhile since my last entry and, as expected, quite a lot has happened. I attended the Music Library Association's annual meeting last week in Newport, Rhode Island. As a library student, a budding music cataloger
, and metadata practictioner for Variations3, I had plenty of reasons to attend! The sessions were relevant and thought-provoking, especially one on RDA, the fated cataloging code which will
replace AACR2. According to reliable sources, we can expect the rules to be published in early to mid 2009, with implementation by late 2009. I am quite skeptical about this time frame,
as are most in the library world. Nonetheless, the revamped structure of the rules and some of the rule revisions look promising. I also met many, many catalogers from the Ralph Papakhian pedigree.
They hold positions throughout the country, including at the Library of Congress. Needless to say, making these connections has boosted my career confidence level quite a bit!
Another highlight of the conference was the conferring of the MLA citation (its highest award) on our own Ralph P. This was a bittersweet moment, as Ralph could not attend the meeting
due to recent illness (and ensuing surgery). As expected, he remains humble as always, remarking that "they have never given this award to a lowly cataloger before." Back at home, his absense
is felt throughout the music library, but work churns on nonetheless. I am stuck in a bit of a holding pattern; I am still revising OCLC copy to the best of my ability, but my growing confidence in my
abilities has plateaued a bit without Ralph's approval or circumspection. I would feel better if I were doing production work, but for now I am building up a "frontlog" of my own.
Get well soon, Ralph! Onwards and upwards!
Entry 6 (6-April 2008)
First, I must explain the considerable delay in this journal entry. Well, as Ralph has been out sick for some time, I have been maintaining a
steady workflow of copy cataloging, and have not had much to report. I did (with the help of the other student employee in cataloging) deplete the production
backlog of scores and have begun "mining" the frontlog for titles whose OCLC copy has been enhanced either by DLC or a PCC-member institution. For those
who don't know what this means, I will explain: currently, the IU Music Library does not do any copy cataloging scores unless the OCLC copy has been created (or
enhanced) by the Library of Congress, or by a PCC (Program for Cooperative Cataloging) member. All other titles must be manually checked by a qualified
cataloger (i.e. Ralph) to ensure quality control of headings, authority work, etc.
The frontlog titles have been received by the Acquisitions department, but have not yet had the privilege of full cataloging. However, as many titles in there are years (or decades) old,
many OCLC records for these titles have since been enhanced to an acceptable cataloging level. With this knowledge, I have embarked upon some investigative
searching of both OCLC and IUCAT, to identify titles which are now eligible for full copy cataloging. Starting with my favorite publishers and series, I have identified and cataloged
over one hundred items from the score frontlog. Though this barely scratches the surface (the score frontlog currently has over 25,000 titles in it, and grows continually), it is
progress nonetheless. In addition to this project, I have processed added copies identified from gift collections in recent years. There is also a considerable backlog
of these items too. Suffice it to say, there is never a dearth of work in the cataloging department!
Happily, Ralph has returned!! Though he is working partial days, he is earnestly making time for us to continue our primary work: original and problem copy cataloging.
He even invited me to his home yesterday (and what a lovely home it is), where he has a remote workstation set up. Pretty cool....
Entry 7 (18-April 2008)
So, my internship is coming to a close, and I am a bit saddened by this! After cultivating these skills and building up quite a bit of momentum, I do not want to stop working. I've asked Ralph
if he will need help this summer on an hourly basis. In addition to the extra money, I would like to finish the copy revisions I spent so much time working on. There is plenty of copy cataloging
to do, in any case. So, we'll see...
One of Ralph's key points of wisdom has become all to clear to me. That is that the astute cataloger must not trust his or her intuition; when in doubt, check the rules! I have struggled
a bit with this, as my personal workflow involves a lot of quick but complex observations and decisions. Forcing myself to slow down and double- (nay, triple-) check is somewhat of a challenge;
nevertheless, it is a valuable skill. Bibliographic records require a certain amount of time to proofread, to be sure. However, the real time thief is authority work, which musn't be rushed.
Often, the cataloger must check several sources, including those that are not immediately obvious (I have learned about more reference tools in this internship than I did in a music bibliography class!).
Only after one has accounted for all possible variants and discrepancy should one proceed with creating the heading. This is especially true in the NACO Music Project, which I intend to join
once I have secured a professional position.
Despite these continuing (and wonderful) challenges, however, I grow more confident in my ability every day. I think Ralph does too. Indeed, we seem to spend less and less
time on each record. Ralph asked me today two things: have I learned enough, and have I had fun. Funny, I thought these things should go without saying; perhaps his question was rhetorical.
1. Yale University Library. (2007). Music Cataloging at Yale. Retrieved January 9, 2007, from http://www.library.yale.edu/cataloging/music/musicat.htm.
This website, though likely conceived initially for users at Yale, serves as a portal for music catalogers everywhere. It includes quick reference guides for all areas of music cataloging,
including Call Numbers, Uniform Titles, MARC tags, Subject cataloging, and more. Though many pages were created and are hosted locally, most sections include links
to other sites, including authoritative sources such as Library of Congress, OCLC and others.
Some documentation on this site reflects local practice at Yale, but this is always stated in a heading or disclaimer. Of particular interest are: guides for LCC: Class M, presented in
a format that is more digestible and navigable than the print version of the full schedule; cutter numbers for the most common composers (though these are derived from the Cutter-Sanborn Table,
which is not currently used for creating call numbers at Indiana University); a listing of thematic index numbers used in uniform titles; and, a condensed guide to constructing 670 citations
in music-specific name and name-title authority records.
Though the main page of this site constitutes a topical index (or "table of contents" if you will), an alphabetical index would render the site even more usable.
The frequent references to other institution's music cataloging sites instills a sense of cooperation and collegiality. Thus, this site must be seen as a portal rather than
a monolithic storehouse of information.
2. Weidow, J. (2000). The Music OCLC Users Group presents the best of MOUG: A list of Library of Congress name authority records for music titles of major composers.
(7th ed.). Austin, Tex.: Music OCLC Users Group.
This listing is a compilation of authorized uniform titles (along with the Authority Record Number) by thirteen major composers, in alphabetical order. It also contains listings for six of these composers by thematic index number.
Though the search and browse capabilities in OCLC Connexion can produce the alphabetical listing, the numerical listing is not possible. Thus, if cataloging a work for which
only the thematic index number is known, the associated uniform title can be retrieved quickly.
Additionally, this manual contains listings of distinctive work titles by seventeen Slavic composers, along with their English translations. In most cases, the authority record
will contain "see from" references with all variant forms of the work title (thus a search in Connexion by English title will yield the proper result). However, this guide provides a secondary
reference should the automated search be fruitless. Furthermore, the ability to retrieve an authority record by ARN alone is an invaluable time-saving measure.
Indeed, the fact that this tool now exists in its seventh edition is a testament to its endurance and usefulness.
3. Deutsch, O.F. (1946). Music publishers' numbers: A selection of 40 dated lists. London: Aslib.
Deutsch is best known to music scholars for his definitive catalog of the works of Franz Schubert. This work, though more limited in scope and audience,
is no less useful in its own right. In it, Deutsch has arranged the publisher numbers of forty well-known European publishers of music, placing them into a chronological matrix.
Though not every number is assigned a precise year, one can be inferred from the matrix. Each listing is preceded by a brief narrative, describing when the publisher was founded,
whether it acquired (or was acquired by) other houses and when.
This listing helps mitigate the music cataloger's difficulty in dating early published music, which usually does not bear dates.
Since copyright procedures became more standardized in the twentieth century, and imprints published after 1900 do bear publication dates,
Deutsch limits these lists to those imprints published before 1900.
The body of publishers contained in this book surely betrays a German bent; the majority included operated in German-speaking cities, with a smaller number from other cities,
such as Paris, London, Amsterdam and New York. This does not likely reflect a xenophobia on the part of the author, but rather the geographical distribution of major
publishing houses of the period.
A revised edition of this work was released in 1961, though only in the German language.
4. Hartsock, R. (1994). Notes for music catalogers: Examples illustrating AACR2 in the online bibliographic record. Lake Crystal, Minn.: Soldier Creek Press.
Hartsock's compendium of cataloging examples addresses the issue of note creation, a hoary but arcane endeavor by music catalogers through the ages. Printed music, more often than books, requires copious
note documentation in order to create a full bibliographic description. Such details include: form and medium of performance, language, additional statements of responsibility, audience, and more.
Unfortunately, the Anglo American Cataloging Rules do not provide specific instruction for composing such notes; many decisions are left to the individual cataloger (which notes to include, how to word them, etc.)
Hartsock bridges this gap with this healthy-sized volume. He addresses each type of note which can occur in bibliographic records for printed music and sound recordings, citing AACR2, Library of Congress Rule Interpretations,
and the LC Music Division's own decisions about format. He subsequently includes dozens of examples, in MARC format, of actual bibliographic records created by LC during the years 1984-1988. Richard P. Smiraglia provides an
interesting foreword in which he traces the history of cataloging rules for music (as he is wont to do).
The examples contained herein comprise a crucial tool for those catalogers who learn best by example, and who take solace in concordance with LC's practice. Nonetheless, note creation remains a practice
requiring scrupulous attention and awareness of subtle variations between seemingly identical editions of printed music.
5. Glennan, K. (2003). Music cataloging bulletin: Index/supplement to volumes 21-30, 1990-1999. Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow Press.
In this bountiful tome, Glennan has compiled two listings which are of highest importance to music catalogers: changes and additions to the Library of Congress Classification Schedule,
and changes and additions to Library of Congress Subject Headings. The former is presented in numberical order (by LC Class number) and the latter is presented in alphabetical order, including
cross-referenced entries for all changed headings. A comprehensive subject index begins the work.
Glennan's compilation is the most recent of its kind to be released in print form. Indexes by year (from 2003) are available on the MCB website, in HTML format. It is uncertain if future
print indices will appear, what with the increased reliance on the internet for conveying current information. Nevertheless, a browsable compendium like this remains an invaluable resource.
6. Smiraglia, R. (1997). Describing music materials: a manual fo rdescriptive cataloging of printed and recorded music, music videos, and archival music collections. 3rd ed. Lake Crystal, Minn.: Soldier Creek Press.
This manual is perhaps the most quintessential of Richard P. Smiraglia's myriad offerings to the literature on music cataloging. Intended to supplement standard manuals such as AACR2 and LCRI, this book
is a distillation of those sources, supplemented with copious cataloging examples with commentary. The design of the manual follows the order of chapters in AACR2, beginning with instructions specific to the description
of all music formats (printed, sound recordings, video recordings,etc.), then including instructions for formulating access points and uniform titles. The volume concludes with a selected bibliography of supplemental reference sources.
However, given the age of the book, many of those sources have since been superseded. Finally, a glossary of bibliographic terms frequently encountered by catalogers concludes the work.
Together with Jay Weitz's manual on MARC coding and tagging (see below), Smiraglia's book constitutes the most crucial of ready-reference materials for the music cataloger's daily use. Indeed, they complement each other
perfectly, as Smiraglia's book does not address MARC formats at all.
7. Weitz, J. (2001). Music coding and tagging: MARC 21 content designation for scores and sound recordings. 2nd ed. Lake Crystal, Minn.: Soldier Creek Press.
Weitz's manual, analogous to Smiraglia's work (described above), provides a useful condensation of the MARC21 Bibliographic Format. Many of the quotidinal issues faced by music catalogers is how to properly enter
bibliographic data into MARC21 format. Whereas AACR2 does not address MARC at all, and the LCRI's do so only minimally, this manual fills in an important gap in the music cataloger's bookshelf. Though
the manual is not intended to be comprehensive (see Preface), it covers thoroughly those fields encountered in the cataloging of music materials most often. Unlike Smiraglia's manual, the order of material does
not mimic the order of rules in AACR2, but rather describes the different MARC tags in roughly the order they appear in bibliographic records. In-text examples are bountiful, as are full records (which comprise
a robust appendix).
This Second Edition incorporates recent changes in MARC format, most notably Format Integration, which consolidated practices of all English-speaking nations. Additionally, Jay Weitz's Q & A column in the Music OCLC Users Group
newsletter has contributed to various enhancements and modifications in this edition.
There is a clear intended audience for this manual: music catalogers inputting records into (and copying records from) the OCLC and RLIN databases. As such, industry practices peculiar to these utilities are
emphasized. As RLIN's union catalog has folded into OCLC's, documentation for use in RLIN is summarily obselete.
8. Weitz, J. (2004). Cataloger's judgment: Music cataloging questions and answers from the Music OCLC Users Group Newsletter. Westport, Conn.: Libraries Unlimited.
Weitz is a figurehead in the cataloging community, not only for his years of work in the profession, but more recently as a database specialist at OCLC. As the compiler of the Q & A column featured
in the MOUG Newsletter, he picks up where the (voluminous) rules and procedures manuals leave off. Cataloging, especially music materials, is an imprecise art, not a science, and the title
of the present volume is evidence to that fact. "Judgment" refers to the intuition and savvy required of catalogers to interpret the vague and often contradictory rules. Furthermore, the arcane and ever-changing
MARC tagging procedures are a continual barrier to the cataloger's confidence.
Organized into chapters based on topical content of the questions, Weitz addresses each issue with competence and compassion; though a recognized expert, he never fails to cite
the rule(s) pertaining to the question, whether supporting the answer or simply illuminating the ambiguity which exacerbates the cataloger's frustrations. Weitz's mantra "don't agonize" constantly
comes into play; after all, perfect and by-the-book"description are not worth delaying users' access to resources.
9. De Lerma, D.R. (1969). Philosophy and practice of phonorecord classification at Indiana University. Library Resources and Technical Services, 13(1), 86-92.
The assigning of call numbers to sound recordings is an issue of widespread disagreement among libraries. Among academic music libraries, many options exist: a modified LC classification, shelving by record label name and number,
shelving by accession number, the ANSCR Classification system, and other. De Lerma, former Music Librarian of Indiana University, went his own course and developed the unique system which is still
in use by Indiana University's Music Library. Through his eloquent account (as befits a musicologist) of the problems of classification sound recordings, De Lerma explains his rationale for this method.
Rather than classing by medium of performance, as is the practice with LC Classification, De Lerma's system classes by main entry (e.g. composer, performer), with a highly faceted "cutter" number, reflecting
genre, form, instrumentation, opus number, and other criteria as need be. This system facilitates browsing for the user who seeks a recording of a specific musical work; ironically, all sound recording
collections at the IU Music Library are shelved in closed-stacks. Thus, this arcane method could be viewed as frivolous, especially in the age of the online catalog, which allows for multi-faceted access. It is no wonder
this system has not been employed at other institutions.