When cataloguing a new item, cataloguers value the rules and standards set in place for the sake of consistency and authority control – and how this naturally ensures the item’s ability to be searched and discovered by library users. But when it comes to subject cataloguing – rules and standards only go so far before cataloguers must use their own interpretation in determining the “aboutness” of the resource, to the best of their ability to ensure they are considering user’s needs. Often this experience of determining aboutness varies from cataloguer to cataloguer.

This year at CLA, Wendy Gail Rondeau, recent MLIS Graduate and Media Librarian at CBC, developed and presented a poster titled “The Lifeworld in the Library’s Backroom” which explores the differences, and also searches for similarities and patterns, between the interpretive styles of cataloguers from different organizations.

Backup pic

 

Poster Abstract: In this research, aboutness determintation is described as a variable encounter between the cataloguer and the resource for the purpose of subject cataloguing. The cataloguer’s lived experience of aboutness determination demonstrates that this encounter is predisposed by systems and structures, and in which the cataloguer acts as an intermediate agent in consideration of the user and the resource.

Further Reading: Salvano, Chris “Subject Cataloging: The Challenge of Determining “Aboutness”