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Archives/Library cataloging confusion Patricia Thompson 10 Jan 2007 21:40 UTC

[Please excuse duplication, as I am sending this to multiple lists to
get different perspectives.]

We are attempting to organize our University Archives and Special
Collections that have been somewhat neglected for a long time. My
department, which does traditional library cataloging and processing
functions, is doing this work. In November, one of the other
librarians and I attended some classes to learn about the standards
for Describing Archival Collections (DACS) and how to create a DACS
Description and a MARC record based on that DACS description.

We haven't actually started to work on collections of personal papers
yet, or even the records of the various offices on campus. To get our
feet wet and improve organization and become familiar with where to
find things and just to get started, the staff have been pulling the
regular monographs and serials and cataloging them, according to
normal bibliographic standards (AACR2, LC)

The Serials team have started on the university publications,
treating them as serials. They are locating all the copies that are
stored in various places, collocating them, getting consensus on how
many copies we need to keep, attempting to get complete runs in each
location, and figuring out what to do with extra copies that turn up.
At least one copy will be left unmarked and protected to be in as
pristine a state as possible. As we started pulling issues of things
like the yearbook and the catalog, we have run into strange
bibliographic problems, which is to be expected, since our school
first opened in 1868.  As I start to work on creating bib records
that are the most complete and least confusing as possible, I have
begun to wonder whether we should NOT have cataloged them
bibliographically. Maybe we should create an archival record instead
of an AACR2 record.

I know that if I did this they would need to stay with the records of
whichever office they emanated from, or at least be linked to a
description of that record collection (not yet created.)  I would not
have to worry about the title changes that are going to force me to
have to create multiple records. But, will I be able to use an LC
classification number? Will this confuse everyone? These are
published items, after all.

I have gotten myself all confused trying to wrap my head around the
archival vs. cataloging approach and whether we are doing the right
thing. Then I tell myself that it doesn't really matter, as long as
we are providing some kind of access and keeping the materials
preserved and safe and organized.

I'm not sure exactly what my question is, but I know there must be
other catalogers out there who are "bridging" the library and
archives worlds who might be able to offer some perspective on this.

Thanks in advance.

Pat Thompson

Patricia Thompson
Assistant University Librarian for Resource Management Services
Jessie Ball duPont Library
The University of the South
Sewanee, TN 37383
Phone: 931-598-1657