In my latest ALCTS post I talk about the future role of catalogers and the gap that exists between what should be expected/performed by catalogers and what is expected/performed by catalogers. How are we at Syracuse attempting to tackle this problem?
Examples of collaboration between metadata/cataloging and systems include:
- bulk loading of records for ebooks, OCLC project loads,
- monthly uploading Bibliographic notification records
- transfering metadata from ContentDM to the XTF platform
If cataloging professionals were to take the cosmological view described by Murray and Tillett (Cataloging Theory in Search of Graph Theory and Other Ivory Towers Dec. 2011) we would contribute our specialized knowledge in the organization of information to inform the conceptual and structural planning of new services. In theory this is great, however, it reminds me of wanting to repour the foundation of your house while you are unclogging the kitchen sink. Currently cataloging/metadata staff are necessarily knee deep in stack and database maintenance issues rather than creation of new, better methods of creation, displaying and accessing metadata. This is partially due to the long standing traditional idea of the role of catalogers/metadata staff.
How do we break out? There is a chicken and the egg dilemma here. Do you get a new skill and then hope somewhere to apply it will appear or do you wait until the need is evident and then go get trained? Because these are new skills the first instinct might be to assume that cataloging/metadata staff can’t do that and to immediately go to a different department. That is the box that cataloging and metadata staff must think outside of.