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Cataloging News



The 2013 MAGIRT Program that Susan Moore and I presented in Chicago at the ALA Annual Conference was done using PowerPoint slides along with some hands-on activities. Those PPT slides are available from the MAGIRT website: http://magirt.ala.libguides.com/trainingsandpresentations, and you have to scroll down a bit to get to it. In addition, at the top you will find that we conducted a Q&A followup session on July 22nd and it includes a Word document with questions and replies. We had approximately 80 attendees at the Program from mostly all over the United States but also a couple of individuals from Europe and Canada. Results of a post-conference survey were very positive, with the largest complaint being that we should have devoted at least a half-day to this effort! (unfortunately, the way ALA is now scheduling timeslots that is not possible)

In case you are not aware, MAGIRT leadership last year invested in and set up a LibGuide to not only help organize and maintain MAGIRT functions, organization, documentation, and publications, but also as a resource to many different map librarianship topics. It therefore is open not only to MAGIRT members but to anyone who wishes to find out what the organization is about, who is involved, the expertise and services we provide and so forth. The MAGIRT LibGuide will be continuously updated and revised and hopefully expanded. It can be found here: http://magirt.ala.libguides.com/resources and we hope all professional librarians find it useful to them in one way or another. If you have suggestions for improvement please don’t hesitate to contact myself or any of the MAGIRT leaders, and we’d love your feedback!

MAGIRT Cataloging & Classification Committee forms RDA “Best Practices” TF

At the recent ALA Annual Conference the MAGIRT CCC met as usual on Sunday morning following the MAGIRT/ALCTS CaMMS Cataloging of Cartographic Resources Interest Group meeting. It was at the Interest Group meeting that the topic of a map cataloging RDA “best practices” document, website, or publication was introduced and discussed. Resource Description and Access (RDA) is not proscriptive in many instances, leaving open interpretation by individual catalogers on how to handle doing – or not doing – something that is part of creating a description for a map or other cartographic item. Probably the most outstanding example of this is no explicit instruction on whether to begin a scale statement in a 255 field in the bibliographic record with the word “Scale” as was done under AACR2 rules. This leaves open the possibility of starting that statement with a representative fraction or even a verbal scale that doesn’t begin with “Scale…”. This has been discussed widely on MAPS-L, RDA-L, OLAC-L and between catalogers in the past year and most accept that it is best to continue the former AACR2 rule that explicitly states one must begin this data point with the word “Scale” (see AARC2R 3.3B1).

There are enough examples of this kind of open interpretation of RDA instructions that a proposal to form a RDA Best Practices Task Force was placed on the table at the Cataloging & Classification Committee meeting and it was unanimously approved. Chair Susan Moore sought out volunteers to become members at the meeting and followed this more broadly with a call for volunteers in August, formulating a Best Practices TF in September. An important first step was accomplished also in September when Marc McGee of Harvard University, and Chair of the MAGIRT/ALCTS CaMMS Cataloging of Cartographic Resources Interest Group, worked with MAGIRT member Bojana Skarich of Michigan State University to set up a listserv for this group to do its work within. It is hoped that a draft Best Practices document will be ready to roll out in time for the ALA Midwinter meeting in January 2014 in Philadelphia.

MAGIRT/ALCTS CaMMS Cataloging of Cartographic Resources Interest Group Looks to Improve Cartographic Form/Genre Headings

Similar to the discussion noted above regarding a RDA Cataloging Best Practices effort, Chair Marc McGee introduced and lead a discussion about improving digital geospatial data concepts in the Library of Congress’ Genre Form Terms for Library and Archival Materials (LCGFT) thesaurus. While terms such as “Vector data”, “Raster data”, and “Geodatabases” are a welcome step forward in an effort to describe digital geospatial data types, they lack in understanding and specificity. As noted in the August 2013 edition of MAGIRT’s newsletter baseline “Discussion centered on how best to update existing LCGFT [terms] to provide catalogers with further guidance for the application of these LCGFT [terms] with digital geospatial data materials. In some cases, disambiguation of definitions could be provided in the form of a scope note; while in other cases, perhaps, a change in terminology would be best for clarification purposes. Discussion also included whether more types of LCGFT [terms] would be useful for covering digital geospatial data concepts. The goal of any changes to LCGFT would be to enhance and/or clarify existing genre/form headings for more consistent cataloging and effective data discovery.” Marc is working with Wangyal Shawa of Princeton University to draft a proposal in this regard that will go to Janis Young, Chief of the LC Policy and Standards Division to see if we can assist in improving authority records for existing terms and work to add others to the thesaurus.

Public Hearing for Descriptive Cataloging of Rare Materials (C) Held

From the August 2013 edition of MAGIRT’s baseline newsletter:

“Nancy Kandoian, part of the editorial team for the DCRM(C), reported on the public hearing session.
Draft text is available: http://www.rbms.info/committees/bibliographic_standards/dcrm/dcrmc/dcrmc.html
Nancy will send out a link to the wiki with highlighted differences between DCRM(C) and DCRM(B).
A comment period is open until July 31, 2013. Email comments to: dcrmc-feedback@googlegroups.com
The final document will be available online only, through Cataloger’s Desktop, and also on the Web for free.”

Nancy Kandoian (NYPL), Todd Fell, Chair (Yale), Manon Théroux (U.S. Senate Library), Randal Brandt (Bancroft Library), and Laurence Crieder (New Mexico State Univ.) are the Editorial Team for the new Descriptive Cataloging of Rare Materials (Cartographic) standard, “a manual for the treatment of early and rare cartographic materials”, with this effort getting started in 2008. As you can see above, they are currently pulling together a final draft of this much-anticipated work and during the summer months held an open comments period on a first full draft. Nancy reported to several groups at the ALA Annual Conference in June/July that they hope to see this manual published early in 2014. (Former initial members of the Editorial Team included Carolyn Kadri of the Univ. of Texas at Austin and Seanna Tsung of the Library of Congress Geography & Map Division.)

Contacting Map Catalogers at the Library of Congress

If you are not aware, the Map Cataloging unit of the LC Geography & Map Division set up its own email address earlier this year. If you have questions, concerns or suggestions relating to anything about cataloging cartographic materials as it applies to the Library of Congress, feel free to send them to mapcat@loc.gov

Update on Forthcoming Book on Cataloging Cartographic Resources using RDA

I will wrap this column up with an update on progress for a book effort that Mary Larsgaard and I launched a couple of years ago with ALA Editions. Initially we started slow in large part because RDA was still in a phase where it was not known if it would be adopted in the United States or elsewhere, so we approached this project cautiously. Once that became a moot point in 2012 (because RDA was adopted) Mary and I were free to move forward. In the interim, due to a number of factors competing for my time and attention, progress has been slow. However, in August 2013 we invited a new partner to this effort, Susan Moore, Special Materials Cataloger at the University of Northern Iowa. Susan, like me, also has hands-on experience with using RDA for maps and other materials and because she and I (and also with Mary on occasion) have partnered on map cataloging programs and workshops in the past we felt this move would strengthen our effort. 

As of this writing we have contacted and lined up several volunteers from the U.S., Canada, and even Europe to review a first full draft during a mid-November to mid-December timeframe, and writing has once again begun. We also established a firm deadline with our book editor at ALA Editions to turn in a final manuscript on or before January 6, 2014. If we meet that goal it is possible that the long awaited RDA and Cartographic Resources will be published by the time ALA Annual Conference rolls around in June.

Paige G. Andrew
Maps Cataloging Librarian
Pennsylvania State University
  and Co-Editor, Journal of Map & Geography Libraries



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Last modified: October 18, 2013
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