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Friday, October 31, 2014

Critical Reflection of ETL505

ETL505 was a challenging subject. Not just because of the rules that accompany cataloguing, but because I am naturally not a “detailed” thinker. My default setting is “big picture” thinker. Up until this subject, I had been dealing with mostly the "front of house" issues in the school library. I had used the catalogue as a searcher, but had never gone into the back end.

When I did my reading about Cataloguing systems, I couldn’t help but think of Information Systems and the organising that occurs within them. Within schools there seems to be a separation of library and ICT, but really they are so very similar. The Schema's that the ICT faculty deal with are very similar to the schema for working out a RDA description or using Web Dewey to ensure that a catalogue call number is accurate.

It took me a while to embrace what the first few modules were teaching me and coming to terms with the theoretical issues around RDA was hard. I did have to go back and read, and then re-read, many of the readings but it wasn’t until I did my Professional Placement that some of the theory fell into place. I had a chance to have a chat to some of the Resource people in at ACU and realised that they too were still coming to terms with the concept.

I love the quote from Taylor (2004) that likens the 'Internet to a library where all the books have been dumped on the floor and there is no catalog'. It resonated with me as my school moves towards having everything accessible online via the school intranet with no real organisational rules or system in place or decent search engine to access the resources.

[made with]

The dilemma over an accurate cataloguing or call numbers is an interesting one. In Part B of Assignment 2, there was an instance where one of the resources could have had two different call numbers. There was no right or wrong, because it depends on what your client would be looking for. In a school, they might choose to class a resource as “costume”, but if the book was part of a larger Costume collection, it might just be regarded as “handicraft”. Once I got a rhythm up using WebDewey, SCIS and Trove things started to fall into place and I started to understand how a call number was broken up.

I did find myself thinking about RDA and how I might take some of these resources and categorise them using this system.

Resources need to be described so that they can be found, identified, selected, obtained and navigated (Hider, 2012) but we can't forget who our client is, the students and teachers of our school.

I wish I had done this subject earlier, so that I could have contributed to the discussions that my school had about a new Library Management System. I would have a completely different set of questions now given that I know a lot more about MARC records, copy cataloguing and the future of RDA.


Taylor, A. (2004). Organization of recorded information. In The organization of information 
(2nd ed.) (pp. 1-23). Westport, Conn.: Libraries Unlimited.

Hider, P. (2012) Information Resource Description: Creating and Managing Metadata. Facet Publishing, London, Great Britain.

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