A summary of the ‘Conversations with Cataloguers in Wales’ event [Part 3]

So, we come to the afternoon session of the ‘Conversations with Cataloguers in Wales’ event.  For this final session we had two speakers, and then a discussion slot.  The first of our two speakers, Elly Cope, was sadly unable to be with us due to illness, however she did send her presentation and notes and so, using myself as a stand-in, we were able to hear her talk by proxy.

From UDC to DDC: reclassification at the University of Bath  was the third of our papers looking at a reclassification project.  This project had started in 2009, and was still ongoing – in fact there was mention that there was possibly another 17 years to go before it was completed!  The hierarchy of the library service at Bath was explained, and it was shown that the project was very Academic Services driven, whilst the Cataloguing team’s involvement grew along the way.  The background to classification at Bath showed that it was traditionally done by the Academic Services staff rather than Technical Services.  They had an interesting story (possibly just a rumour!) that UDC was adopted by the first librarian after the Second World War because it was too expensive to buy things in from America and they couldn’t afford the Dewey schedules; thus UDC was seen as similar and cheaper.  Over the intervening years the system of amending or updating had become very haphazard and at the start of the project they had 35 different classification variants in use.  A task group was set up to review the problems and suggest a methodology of tackling the problem; this included looking at the possibility of out-sourcing the classification.  They proposed that Dewey should be introduced across the whole library, and to use the Coutts shelf-ready service for new books.  In 2009 a pilot project was run on the 720s (Architecture), an area identified as having received a lot of complaints in the past.  The pilot took 22 weeks and 6,768 items were reclassified.  As it was deemed successful they decided to extend it to some other subject areas; however they also decided not to use the shelf-ready services and thus the cataloguing team were responsible for down-loading records and Dewey numbers.  In 2010 Management books had been added to the list of subjects being converted and there was a noticable increase in workload and some demoralisation issues (seeing new books come in as UDC and yet knowing at some point they would have to be redone).  The decision was made for all new material to be classified as Dewey, with the faculty librarians being responsibile for the previous editions retro-conversions.  Each summer there is targeted retro-conversion project, and with more procedures becoming embedded, and every item that passes through the workroom being ‘Deweyfied’ it is hoped that the project may speed up a bit (and not take the 17 years as predicted!)

The final presentation for the day came from Jemma Francis and was entitled Capturing & archiving Welsh government publications.  Jemma works for the Welsh Government where her role includes managing the Library management system, overseeing cataloguing and managing the publications archive which has all new Welsh Government publications added to it.  To capture the publications for cataloguing she needs to search the corporate website, as well as relying on colleagues for alerts about new publications, plus receiving copies of circulars and notices via distribution lists.  All these items are catalogued and there are currently 30,000 publications on the library catalogue.  The library is also involved in an archive scanning project at present, aiming to make resources more accessible – both internally, and to the public in general.  They have a project team who have 30,000 items to scan, at least a third of which are not already on the catalogue.

To finish off the day we had a discussion session, which Stuart Hunt, the chair of CILIP’s Cataloguing & Indexing Group (CIG) facilitated for us.  As was perhaps to be expected, having a room full of over 40 cataloguers and inviting them to join in a discussion, did lead to quite a lot of silent moments!  By nature cataloguers are often relatively introverted individuals (well, that is the stereotype, and we didn’t do much to alter that view!).  Stuart talked about CIG and how it worked, what it does for its members, and also how CIG Scotland functions.  The aim of our discussion was to see if there was a desire to form some kind of all Wales cataloguing group or forum, whether this be affiliated to CILIP, and be CIG Wales, or whether a stand alone group.  The general consensus seemed to be that, yes, we would like to have some kind of group – there was even a general feeling that becoming CIG Wales would be a good thing.  However, with a show of hands we demonstrated that only a relatively small percentage of people at the event were CILIP members.  Stuart pointed out that it was possible for people to join the Cataloguing & Indexing Group without being members of CILIP (pay a smaller membership fee of £30 to CIG rather than main CILIP membership), and then if individuals lived in Wales they would automatically become members of CIG Wales.  The only proviso being that the elected committee members (chair, treasurer, secretary) of CIG Wales would have to be CILIP members, but if we wanted any other committee members in addition to these three that would be fine (and they wouldn’t necessarily have to belong to CILIP).

It is very difficult to make these kind of decisions in a large group, and for the time being we felt that we could go away and think about things, and take up the discussion in a different space – on an online forum for example, or an email list or a wiki.  If we were to have some kind of group we would also need to decide what we wanted out of it – would it be easier as a group to put on practical sessions?  Even if we weren’t CIG Wales we could still liaise with CIG to arrange training sessions.

With this in mind I have set up a wiki on pbworks as an initial space to start discussions http://cataloguersinwales.pbworks.com/  I admit I am pretty much a novice at setting up/using wikis so if it looks a bit rough and ready, and you think it needs more adding  – then it probably does (well, please let me know/give advice!).  But please do join in the discussion (especially in you live/work in Wales).

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