~March 30-April 3~
A catalog record for any item can be disassembled into the fields, subfields, characters and codes used to represent certain information, and the information from the item itself. The structure of a record enables machines to read and present the information in a human readable format. MARC is a metadata schema that uses prescribed standards for listing bibliographic materials. This type of record allows for interoperability and sharing of library’s records. All of this information can be arranged differently by cataloging rules such as RDA and AACR2. It is interesting to determine the anomalies with these two rules. I think it can help a cataloger see how the fields have changed, but it can also be a confusing mess for neophyte catalogers.
When I began to learn rare book cataloging, I had a basic knowledge of the fields, subfields, and also their structures. What I have found to be most interesting is the meanings behind this mysterious numerical and alphabetical language. It is really satisfying to be able to describe what they mean and how to use them. I find my internship a very practical and applicable demonstration of what I have learned in library school. I still have questions for my supervisor every time I work, but that isn’t a bad thing. Each book I work with is different, even if it is the same copy of a book. I relish in the times when I can use a reference book (i.e. a bibliography or catalog) to help identify a variant copy or to confirm that our copy is the first edition. To flip through a book and see the chain lines as well as the impressions from the type is transportive.
As my internship is coming to a close in the next few weeks, I have been assigned progressively harder materials to catalog. At some points, I am still completely lost or unsure of what to do, but others I am confident and eager to implement what I have learned. For example, I have been working with authority file records. I still have questions about the workflow of and procedure required to create correct authorities. Once I am able to understand them more, I think I will be able to create beautifully linked and sound records. In response to some of my questions, I researched the 670 field in authority records. I found all the information very helpful and easily understandable. I have amended and fixed some records that I had questions about.
Another aspect of cataloging that has gived me grief is pagination. Pagination is one of the most difficult things to figure out because if it is unclear when you have the item in hand, it will rarely get better unless you ask a fellow cataloger. I do like the puzzle, but I think I will be more comfortable and knowledgeable with pagination after handling many more books.
Miscellaneous doings this week consisted of conservation issues and variant troubles. I was working with three books that presented conservation concerns. One book had tape on the title page and on two pages as a solution for mending a tear. I had a book with a cracked spine and one that had a loose board. In addition to those concerns, I was updating records. One such record required research. I looked in Alexander Pope; a Bibliography by Reginald Harvey Griffith for a copy of Miscellanea in Two Volumes. I used this source to identify which variant we had. After reading the descriptions for the entries, I concluded that we had variant A because of the collational formula and the artist of the frontispiece. I also used A Bibliography of the Writings of Jonathan Swift by Herman Teerink. It was interesting because the record I was using had two different page numbers for Teerink’s work in which had at lease one other edition thus causing the problem for me. I also found additional information about the publication date, so I included that in a 500 field.
Next week will also be filled with similarly great work!