Submitted by Megan
Some days, you catalog 16th century Bibles. Some days, you catalog 1980s vintage librarian porn.
(I know it’s tumblr and the black bars aren’t really necessary, but I like to keep my tumblr, at least, slightly SFW. Your work, anyway. The uncensored versions of this are all over my desk at the moment.)
Don’t Touch My Records! - Diner (by senorrogers)
So this is a cataloging librarian’s worst nightmare (or an anal-retentive husband’s), but this is such a great scene with a young Ellen Barkin and Daniel Stern.
SHREVIE: Have you been playing my records?
BETH: Yeah, so?
SHREVIE: So didn’t I tell you the procedure?
BETH: Yeah you told me all about it Shrevie, they have to be in alphabetical order.
SHREVIE: And what else?
BETH: Ugh they have to be filed alphabetically and according to year is what, ok?
SHREVIE: And what else? What else?
BETH: I don’t know.
SHREVIE: You don’t know. Well let me give you a hint, ok? I found my James Brown record filed under the “J”s, instead of the “B”s. I don’t know who taught you to alphabetize. But to top it off he’s in the rock and roll section instead of the R&B section. How could you do that?
BETH: It’s too complicated Shrevie. See, every time I pull out a record there’s this whole procedure I have to go through. I just want to hear the music, that’s all.
Does your significant other have a special cataloging system for their music? One of my favorite “Library Journal moments” in cinema!
In my Library School Info Organization course, we had several class sessions dedicated to the racism, sexism, and other prejudices present in historical and modern day cataloging systems. It really opened my eyes to the class, gender, and racial biases inherent in the LOC system.
More to the point of your post, since men excluded women from history for centuries, the sad fact is that there is less content out there on women in history overall. Hopefully, time will change this, and our classifications as well.
radical cataloging is my favorite subject
This reminds me of a snippet of the talk Tod Honma gave at ALA about race and libraries. From LJ's write up of the talk, “Whose Table?”: On Libraries and Race:
“Race,” he explained, “is a classification system—a way of classifying human bodies. It’s dynamic, not static.” He outlined how race operates at many levels, both personal (e.g., when white people ask an American person of color “where they are from,” and are disappointed if the answer is Sacramento) and institutional (legally mandated segregation). Race also operates ideologically, for instance when it is used to explain social phenomena.“ As many people in here who are catalogers know,” Honma added, “there is a kind of power and privilege to assigning names.”
Library of Congress Classification not-so-fun-fact: we have 4 classes devoted to history:
- C: Auxiliary Sciences of History
- D: World History
- E: American History
- F: Local History of the US and Latin America
Yet books on women in history — you know — approximately half of the human population, all-time — are relegated to Subclass HQ (Family, Marriage, Women [in that order]).
The more you know!
Today’s cataloging moment! Why do I have to catalog these…the “Tell-A-Maid” series left me with a bad taste in my mouth and conflicted. It also brought back memories of my abuelita and the current employment of my tias and primas who clean houses and take care of other women’s children in order to support their families.
In a response (to my emoticon reply), Alyssa said, “I want to see the validity and purpose in cataloging these kind of items but it is hard. I guess I can see them as a historical document since they will be housed in special collections and I am hoping students will use them to question their purpose and maybe take offense in why they were created. Maybe they will miraculously disappear….hopefully!”
Look what I get to catalog today! The photos in this book are amazing!
This week, for Neat Things I Have Cataloged, we have an interesting book featuring panoramas of Chestnut Street in Philadelphia. Chestnut street was the main commercial street in Philadelphia at the time, and Julio Rae (the publisher) hit upon a novel idea: a “visual directory” of businesses on the street. The directory of Chestnut Street begins at 2nd and ends at 10th Street. In the preface, Rae states that he “felt confident that he has hit upon a system not only novel and beautiful, but exceedingly useful, and one of which he believes to be entirely unique.”
Ostensibly to make more money from his project, Rae sold subscriptions to businesses on Chestnut - a subscription gave a business an advertisement in the book (on the left) and also placed their name on the building in which they were located (and the appropriate floor as well, on the right). Folding plates accommodate the taller buildings, and the largest plate (last image above) illustrates the State House, indicating where the Declaration of Independence was signed.
Rae intended to update his Chestnut Street directory each year, showing changes in the businesses on the street. He also announced a similar panoramic advertisement work covering Market Street from the Delaware River to Broad Street. Apparently he was too ambitious, and neither project ever was published.
If you are so inclined, here’s a reference for more information:
Why, Library of Congress, why would you have me shelve these two books so far away from each other?
PZ7 is supposed to be an obsolete classification for children’s literature. Obviously the person who did the LCN for Catching Fire was working under the old system. We use PZ7, though, at HNU. Give me Mocking Jay and Hunger Games (if it also needs fixing) and I’ll put them all together. We can discuss which option is best for the books: PS or PZ.
It’s helpful being followed by your cataloger.
The Policy and Standards Division has determined that names of Indian tribes recognized by the U.S. government as legal entities will henceforth be tagged 151 (Geographic name) in name authority records rather than 110 (Corporate name), as they were previously tagged. This change in status of headings for tribal entities to 151 (Geographic name) will enable these headings to be used as jurisdictions when needed in cataloging. When a heading of this type is used to represent a government (110) the MARC 21 indicator will be set to “1” to reflect that this entity is acting as the name of a jurisdiction. These headings may also be used as geographic subdivisions, subdivided directly. This is in keeping with the guidance provided in rule 21.35 of theAnglo-American Cataloguing Rules2nd edition (AACR2) in regard to treating tribal entities as national governments.
By authority of the U.S. government, a growing number of tribal entities have been formally recognized and are federally acknowledged to have immunities and privileges by virtue of their government-to-government relationship with the United States as well as powers, limitations, responsibilities, and obligations attributed to such tribes. This means that tribes recognized by the U.S. government are independent, autonomous political entities with inherent powers of self- government; they possess sovereignty and are equivalent to national governments. To date, there are over 500 recognized tribes within the continental United States alone. Virtually all federally recognized tribes have jurisdiction over some delimited area of land, a geographic place, although land and area vary with each tribe.
I think moving American Indian tribes under geographic headings makes a lot more sense than keeping them under “corporate entities,” considering that they don’t function at all like corporations. They govern themselves apart from whatever local government is nearby, acting more like individual countries. I don’t really see how the LC’s move is racist.
Nah! What I meant was that it has taken the LoC this long to officially recognize the sovereignty of native tribes speaks to centuries of institutionalized racism. So in sum, the move is a good one, but overdue and reflective of some of the LoC’s longstanding problems.
If you spend an afternoon at a large bookstore,” Sheehan says, “you’ll see people using it in a couple of ways. The bookstore-as-destination people come in, wander around, get a stack of books, a cup of coffee, and settle in. The grab-and-go folks take a quick look around and usually hop on a computer or ask an employee, find the item they’re looking for, and leave. Dewey is great for the grab-and-goers, and we didn’t want to lose that. Dewey is not so great for the destination users. Cooking is in technology. Gardening is in arts and recreation. Don’t those two make more sense with each other?
An older, longer piece, but one I’m thinking about a lot right now. Our small, rural public library is contemplating changing to BISAC for its nonfiction organization. I’ve only done a few circ shifts so far at the library, but we definitely seem to have both kinds of patrons, especially the latter.
Does anyone have any first hand experience with BISAC or the like, either as a librarian or a user? My gut reaction is to like the idea, but I’m hesitant to jump on something trendy and new and abandon a pretty time-honored precedent.
Pretty medieval manuscript of the day depicts men playing dice. The illustration accompanies a calendar, which is the first part of a Book of Hours. According to the Walters Museum:
“Dice players make an unexpected appearance in this calendar, for gambling is a rare theme for January. They are playing “raffle,” a game won by rolling three matching numbers at once, similar to modern slot machines. There seems to be some debate over the winning throw of three 3s, for both players point at the dice, but the peddlar’s smile suggests he has the upper hand over his disgruntled wealthy opponent. Perhaps he is using weighted dice, a common trick still used today.”
I think the clothing the men wear in this scene is fascinating. There is no doubting anyone’s social status! The peddlar, hatless and mussed of hair, has torn breeches and no stockings. In short sleeves, carrying all his wordly goods on his back, he stands at the table whilst his wealthy ermine-clad opponents sit.
Image source: Walters Museum MS W449. Creative Commons licensed via Wikimedia Commons.
This Tumblr does a “Pretty medieval manuscript of the day” every day. I don’t know if I’ve ever clicked the follow button so fast.