INFO 546

Resource Description and Discovery

Includes: Standards and processes used in libraries by cataloguing and metadata staff for creating or obtaining data for resource description and discovery; the relationship of cataloguing and metadata services to a library’s internal operations and to relevant external agencies and systems; and managing cataloguing operations.

Taught by the School of Information Management, part of the Faculty of Commerce

This course is not offered in 2016.

15 points

LIBR 526, INFO 526

Course Description

Please note we recommend that you complete the core course INFO 527 before taking this elective as part of the MIS or PGCert/DipIS.

INFO 546 Bibliographic Organisation examines the way information resources are described and organised for retrieval and access in libraries and information centres. We will also be spending a few weeks looking into issues involved in the practice.

We are at an interesting point in time with respect to bibliographic organisation.  More than 30 years ago, the second edition of the Anglo American Cataloguing Rules (AACR2) became the standard code for cataloguing among libraries in the English-speaking world. While there have been revised editions to AACR2 in 1988, 1998, and 2002 to accommodate things such as new formats of materials, the rules themselves have changed little. However, we are now at the cusp of a significant change -- the arrival of RDA which stands for Resource Description and Access. RDA is based on the principles of FRBR aka the Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records. RDA will be a completely online tool and it is scheduled to be available for subscription by libraries later this year. But more about that later -- in this course we will look at both the existing (AACR2) and the new (RDA) -- being at the cusp of change means that we have to understand both!

We shall commence the course by looking at the various types of bibliographic control, and at the development of library catalogues. We shall then examine the key standards that are meant to meant to make the cataloguing process efficient and effective, both for the users of library catalogues and those who create them.
One of these standards is the Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules (2nd ed., rev. 2002). Known as AACR2R, it is the standard upon which the vast majority of English-language libraries have based the description of their resources over many years. We shall spend several weeks looking at AACR2R along with RDA. In essence, the course aims to provide you with a basic understanding of how the cataloguing rules work - and their strengths and weaknesses.

In the second half of the course, we shall look briefly at two of the key English language tools for providing subject access to information resources -- the Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC) and the Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH). 

In the last part of the course, our focus will be organisational considerations, such as bibliographic networks, automated systems, and staffing. We shall wrap up the course by trying to peer into the future of cataloguing.

It is important to realise that this course is not meant to teach you how to be a crack cataloguer -- that can only be done by working in a cataloguing department and getting a chance to practise using the tools. The main function of this course is to help you understand the key concepts and important issues involved in the creation of catalogue records.

Learning Objectives

By the end of the INFO 546 course, students are expected to:

  1. Explain the major standards and processes used in libraries to create or obtain data for describing and discovering information resources.
  2. Describe the relationship of cataloguing and metadata services to a library’s internal operations and to relevant external agencies and systems.
  3. Apply at a basic level, key standards such as RDA, DDC, LCSH and MARC, for describing, discovering and representing information resources.
  4. Demonstrate an understanding of the key issues involved in managing cataloguing and metadata services in libraries.

Recommended Readings

1. Furrie, Betty. Understanding MARC: Bibliographic (8th ed), Washington, D.C.: Cataloguing Distribution Service, Library of Congress. You can access Understanding MARC: Bibliographic from the Library of Congress website.

2. Gorman, M. & Winkler, P. (eds.) (2003). Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules (2nd ed., 2003 rev.). Ottawa: Canadian Library Association. You will be provided with access to the online version of AACR2R via the RDA Toolkit.

3. Resource Description and Access (RDA) Toolkit.  This is available online and you will be provided with logon details on Blackboard.

4. Dewey, Melvil. Dewey Decimal Classification and Relative Index (23rd ed), 4 vols. Dublin, Ohio: OCLC. You will access to DDC23 via Web Dewey and logon details will be provided on Blackboard.

5. Library of Congress (2012) Library of Congress Subject Headings (34th ed), 6 vols. Washington, D.C.: Cataloging Distribution Service, Library of Congress. You will be provided with online access via Classification Web to the Web version of LCSH, Logon details will be provided on Blackboard.