LSJ Editors' Blog: The changing nature of the catalog

01 May 2006

The changing nature of the catalog

I received a forward the other day to the Library of Congress commissioned report "Changing Nature of the Catalog and its Integration with Other Discovery Tools," which portrays the catalog as needing to be re-positioned so that it might regain some of its "dwindling market share." Karen Calhoun's recommendations include encouraging "LC to dismantle LCSH,"

The e-mail also linked to a rebuttal from Dr. Thomas Mann, author of The Oxford Guide to Library Research, which states, in part, that it is fallacious to suggest that the library catalog does operate, or should operate, within the forces of the free market. It can be found at Click on "New Essay! April 4, 2006" (a PDF file).

Mann's rebuttal focuses largely on the needs of research libraries and the scholars that use them. Calhoun is more concerned with the ability of the library to compete in the broader information economy. Suppositions about the impending popularity of e-books and digitization that supports full-text searching are used by Calhoun to support her position.


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