Component 1: Statement of Competency
With the boom in technology and the internet the ability to access information as increased tenfold. The amount of information that is not only available but produced on a daily basis surpasses that which the natural mind can compute. It has been said that we create now in a matter of days what took thousands of years to create; that is an astronomical amount of information. As users we do not see the impact of information that would cause our minds to implode because it has been organized. In order to make this information more accessible to users it is necessary to organize it on a set of consistently applied rules or standards.
The rules and standards of organization of information have existed since the dawn of time. Some schemes are simplistic such as organization of male and female and other schemes are more complex like organization of books in physical and digital libraries. Libraries have the longest standing set of rules and standards for organizing information; they are referred to as organizational schemes; the most common known schemes are the classification schemes Dewey Decimal or Library of Congress.
The primary role of libraries has been to provide access to materials and information already produced. Considering the amount of information available today it is necessary that these standards are used in organizing collections so that this information can be found in a manner that is useful to the user. To achieve this goal the library profession has agreed to control the information about these collections using a format that makes the bibliographical records searchable. This form of control can be referred to as bibliographic control which Charles A. Cutter stated the objects of this control were to (Chan, 2007, p13-14):
- To enable a person to find a book in which any of the following are known:
- The author
- The title
- The subject
- To show what the library has:
- By a given author
- On a given subject
- In a given kind of literature
- To assist in the choice of a book:
- As to its edition (bibliographically)
- As to its character (literary or topical)
The AACR is the primary standard used for bibliographic description; other standards include Dublin Core (DC) and Encoded Archival Description (EAD). These standards were developed to apply to different sets of material but essentially they all served the same purpose which was to standardize the information cataloged from material.
With the introduction of computers and the internet environment the interest in indexing these catalogs in an electronic format grew and with that was developed a format that was machine readable, MARC. This format was developed by the Library of Congress and is now the standard for bibliographic cataloging is MARC; this format was adopted as the national standard in 1971 and as an international standard in 1973. In 2013 the MARC format was supplemented with Resource Description and Access (RDA) in order to adapt more easily with rapidly developing information items and packages (Chan 2007).
A more recent scheme has entered the cataloging and organizing playing field; this scheme is free form and often causes anxiety in librarians due to the nature of its lack in structure and/or consistency and bears no resemblance to MARC, RDA or any other standard of information control. The scheme is referred to as tagging. Tagging essentially allows users to describe and organize content with any vocabulary they choose, using folksonomies instead of a standardized set of terms. You can see examples of tagging on social media platforms such as Flickr, Tumblr, and GoodReads. In recent years WebOPACS have offered the option to enable tagging of material to encourage users to interact with the records and help enhance them. Adam Mathes (2004) states,
A folksonomy represents simultaneously some of the best and worst in the organization of information. Its uncontrolled nature is fundamentally chaotic, suffers from problems of imprecision and ambiguity that well developed controlled vocabularies and name authorities effectively ameliorate. Conversely, systems employing free-form tagging that are encouraging users to organize information in their own ways are supremely responsive to user needs and vocabularies, and involve the users of information actively in the organizational system.
Component 2: Evidence and Justification of Evidence
The first piece of evidence I chose to include to demonstrate my understanding of this competency is record I cataloged in MARC format for Libr248, [Excel2003MARC]. This shows my understanding of the national standard format for bibliographic records. It also shows my understanding of MARC tags and the information that should be added to a bibliographic record. It also shows my mastery of cataloging procedures and policies involved in meticulous attention to delimited marks (| , ; ) that allow for these records to my be read accurately by machines so that they may be electronically cataloged into OPACS.
The second piece and third piece of evidence I chose to include to demonstrate my understanding and master of this competency is my [LIBR202 Project #4 Table] and [LIBR202 Project #4] from Libr202. The subject of my search was Ethics in Librarianship. The document breaks down my search process and explains why I chose to search the catalog and databases I selected for this search. This project showed my understanding of controlled vocabularies assigned in catalogs and in databases and how they differ and the benefits I saw between the two. The table lists search queries, results and annotations for pre-coordinate and post-coordinate vocabulary searches.
My final piece of evidence is an exercise from Libr202 [Folksonomies, what are they]. The paper discusses what a folksonomy is and how they are created. I discuss also the benefits and drawbacks to using folksonomies. Due to the nature of information organization and the more recent development of using tagging (a form of folksonomy) in organizing material, especially on the internet, this paper shows my understanding of this newer form of classifying. It also includes screenshots of my personal use in cataloging and classifying with LibraryThing where I store my personal library collection and also where I used it to create a searchable collection for a school I worked for that did not have one.
The amount of information needed to be organized will continue to grow exponentially and user involvement in this organization will also grow. The purpose of these schemes is to help users swim through the information without drowning; having a standard is beneficial and the retrieving quality and relevant information will be best achieved through these standardized schemes. However, the type of information we are searching for has evolved into forms that are better organized through folksonomies such as tweets, photo organization and blog posts.
Mathes, A. (2004). Folksonomies – Cooperative Classification and Communication Through Shared Metadata. Retrieved from http://www.adammathes.com/academic/computer-mediated-communication/folksonomies.html
Rubin, R. E. (2010). Foundations of Library and Information Science. New York: Neal-Schuman Publishers, Inc.
Chan, L. M. (2007). Cataloging and Classification: an introduction. Third Edition. Maryland: The Scarecrow Press, Inc.