The idea for 2010 Year of Cataloging Research began with the ALCTS Implementation Task Group on the Library of Congress Working Group Report, On the Record. Two of the recommendations from On the Record that ALCTS wanted to pursue were in Section 5, the section devoted to strengthening the LIS profession and they include:
5.1.22. Through library and information science and continuing education, foster a greater understanding of the need for research, both quantitative and qualitative, into issues of bibliographic control.
188.8.131.52 Work to develop a stronger and more rigorous culture of formal evaluation, critique, and validation, and build a cumulative research agenda and evidence base. Encourage, highlight, reward and share best research practices and results.
Research on bibliographic control and, specifically, on cataloging, catalogs, and catalog use is desperately needed. We are at a crossroads in the library cataloging world, in many different ways, and research can help us make the critical decisions we need to make to move forward.
Issues and questions that could be addressed in future research:
- How to deploy precious library resources on acces to materials. Is cataloging according to our current standards worth the cost? What are ways that we can effectively answer this question via research?
- What does the adoption of a new international code of cataloging rules, Resource Description and Access (RDA) mean for the library world? How useful are the FRBR and FRAD models of bibliographic and authority records promulgated by IFLA in promoting access to and use of library materials?
- What precisely are we gaining from RDA? Some preliminary testing is underway (see the U.S national libraries “Testing Resource Description and Access (RDA)” project here), but more research is needed.
- Research is needed to facilitate creativity and innovation surrounding catalog interface design. We need catalogs that work better for everyone—catalogers, reference librarians, end users, everyone! With Web 2.0 functionality becoming more powerful every day, we cannot afford not to do research that will make our collections more accessible and our systems easier to use. With a little hard work and some inspiration, we may even be able to design catalogs that are easy to use.