Having been given a leg up (soas to speak) back into the Library world, I am having the pleasure of cataloguing rare books which I have now been doing for 6 months.
A cataloguer used to AACR2, MARC21 and books mostly of the 20th century, it is a real joy to learn something new. Enter DCRM(B). When I wrote a post on metadata surrogacy for High Visibility Cataloguing back in 2011, one of the questions posed was how institutions can justify spending good money on cataloguers in the age of the internet. A good answer of course is, Special Collections.
Special Collections are the hidden treasures of Libraries and other institutions that “require specialized security and user services”. Compared to other materials, it is their uniqueness which means that they require special handling, security and storage. Key words here are ‘hidden’ and ‘unique’. This means that although records can often be found on union catalogues, each item is actually unique and is therefore different. The uniqueness is the deal breaker for researchers; the individual item providing specialist information on a variety of subjects. It is the job of cataloguers to record this uniqueness for posterity, and in this way, enabling researchers and supporting teaching across Universities.
In the not too distant future, the catalogue that I have been creating (alongside my colleague) will be accessible via the website. In the meantime, please keep checking here.