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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Malgorzata Fort, PhD (University of Pittsburgh)
Description: This is a collection of papers presenting formal as well as continuing education for catalogers outside the United States.
Purpose: The editors assure a truly international perspective by inviting 28 contributors from all over the world to describe experiences in their countries. No project of this scope has been previously attempted.
Audience: The audience is the body of educators who can influence library school programs to better meet the needs of the profession. It will also be interesting to anyone involved in the history of librarianship.
Features: The book addresses the importance of cataloging education in current and future library programs, whether offered as an elective or required subject. On-the-job-training or continuing education programs will never replace formal education, and may only complement it. Therefore, a solid knowledge of cataloging rules, formats, subject analysis, and classification should be offered at schools. This focus is as much a strength as a shortcoming. The picture of education for librarians, as presented in the book, is somewhat restricted to cataloging and classification issues. The majority of contributors discuss education in their countries by looking at library school programs, which are generally known to be a bit behind the library practice. The authors concentrate on the status quo and only occasionally express opinions about future trends, usually in a form of suggestions rather than requirements. There are some exceptions. I personally value those authors who express the need for change strongly and formulate it as a demand (Sitarska); foresee and stress the need for values from outside the traditional canon of catalogers' virtues and point out that we no longer educate for a manual environment (Raghavan); note that we need to deal with digital collections (Kwak); and state that we seek in the good cataloger flexibility, sense of balance and perspective that goes well beyond the strict adherence to rules (Bowman).
Assessment: While these authors address some non-cataloging issues, the focus of the other writers covers well the subject of cataloging in their countries. There is much here that those interested in this specific subject will find rewarding.