Cataloging and Indexing History of Indexing & Cataloging
In library and information science, cataloging (US) or cataloguing (UK) is the process of creating metadata representing information resources,
- such as books,
- sound recordings,
- moving images, etc.
Cataloging provides information such as
- author’s names,
- and subject terms
that describe resources, typically through the creation of bibliographic records. The records serve as surrogates for the stored information resources. Since the 1970s these metadata are in machine-readable form and are indexed by information retrieval tools, such as
- bibliographic databases
- search engines.
While typically the cataloging process results in the production of library catalogs, it also produces other types of discovery tools for documents and collections.
Bibliographic control provides the philosophical basis of cataloging, defining the rules that sufficiently describes information resources, to enable users find and select the most appropriate resource. A cataloger is an individual responsible for the processes of description, subject analysis, classification, and authority control of library materials. Catalogers serve as the “foundation of all library service, as they are the ones who organize information in such a way as to make it easily accessible”
Cataloging different kinds of materials
Cataloging is a process made in different kinds of institutions (e.g. libraries, archives and museums) and about different kinds of materials,
- such as books,
- museum objects etc.
The literature of library and information science is dominated by library cataloging, but it is important to consider other forms of cataloging. For example, there are special systems for cataloging museum objects that have been developed, e.g., Nomenclature for Museum Cataloging Also, some formats have been developed in some opposition to library cataloging formats, for example, the common communication format for bibliographical databases.
Six functions of bibliographic control
- “Identifying the existence of all types of information resources as they are made available
- “Identifying the works contained within those information resources or as parts of them.
- “Systematically pulling together these information resources into collections in libraries, archives, museums, and Internet communication files, and other such depositories.”
- “Producing lists of these information resources prepared according to standard rules for citation.”
- “Providing name, title, subject, and other useful access to these information resources.”
- Providing the means of locating each information resource or a copy of it.”
Types of cataloging
- Descriptive cataloging
- Subject cataloging
“Descriptive cataloging” is a well-established concept in the tradition of library cataloging in which a distinction is made between descriptive cataloging and subject cataloging, each applying a set of standards, different qualifications and often also different kinds of professionals. In the tradition of documentation and information science (e.g., by commercial bibliographical databases) the concept document representation (also as verb: document representing) have mostly been used to cover both “descriptive” and “subject” representation. Descriptive cataloging has been defined as “the part of cataloging concerned with describing the physical details of a book, such as the form and choice of entries and the title page transcription.”
Subject cataloging may take the form of classification or (subject) Indexing. Classification involves the assignment of a given document to a class in a classification system (such as Dewey Decimal Classification or the Library of Congress Subject Headings). Indexing is the assignment of characterizing labels to the documents represented in a record.
Classification typically uses a controlled vocabulary, while indexing may use a controlled vocabulary, free terms, or both.
- The published American and Anglo-American cataloging rules in the 20th century were:
- Anglo-American rules: Catalog Rules
- American Library Association rules
- Library of Congress rules
- AACR: Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules
The term ‘index’ has been derived from the Latin word ‘indicare’ which means to indicate or to point out. Here it refers to guide to a particular concept in a document.
Index is a systematic guide to items contained in a document or concepts derived from it. Items denote the name of the author, title, etc.; concepts may be like classification, cataloging, etc. To elaborate a bit more it may be said that an index is a systematic guide to the items of published literature in a collection or concepts derived from a collection.
The purpose of an index is to locate and retrieve the needed items or concepts in a collection.
An index is consist of entries. Each entry is a unit of an index. These entries are arranged in a systematic order.
An index consists of two parts:
(i) Descriptive part – It gives items, ideas, and concepts
(ii) Location Part – It gives the location where the items or concepts have been discussed or is available.