- Organizing Audiovisual and Electronic Resources for Access: A Cataloging Guide
Ingrid Hsieh-Yee's second edition of OrganizingAudiovisual and Electronic Resources for Access: A Cataloging Guide, first published in 2000, shows catalogers how to use MARC and AACR2r to create accurate and complete bibliographic descriptions of many popular non-print formats. In the author's words, "The objective is to help students, catalogers, educators, and anyone new to these media gain competency in describing and providing access to them." (p. 8) Hsieh-Yee, a professor at Catholic University of America's School of Library and Information Science who has written prolifically on a large variety of topics involving cataloging and information retrieval, has penned a substantially revised new edition of one of the few currently available comprehensive handbooks on cataloging non-print media resources.
Five formats are discussed in detail—sound recordings, video recordings, electronic resources (such as CD-ROMs, electronic books, among others), integrating resources (such as Web sites, electronic databases, and so on), and remote access electronic serials. Each chapter includes an excellent introduction to the format, an overview of issues to consider before cataloging, a thorough and thought-provoking discussion on how to catalog the format and what decisions the catalogers must make, and—most importantly—copious MARC examples. Also, each section ends with a comprehensive bibliography of print and online resources for more information on cataloging each format. The MARC examples and the bibliographies are especially useful for all readers.
Hsieh-Yee guides catalogers step by step through the process of describing resources according to the latest rules, including the often confounding tasks of choosing access points and assigning fixed field codes. Great care is taken to point out the many minute details involved in non-print cataloging, noting possible areas of debate or ambiguity. She writes from the point of view of an experienced and empathetic educator who understands the various difficulties involved in cataloging non-book formats while trying to adhere to rules and standards that are sometimes contradictory or confusing. She anticipates catalogers' questions and offers sensible, definitive answers. Although an educator and not a practitioner, Hsieh-Yee clearly understands the plight of practicing catalogers, and her tone is supportive and positive. It is apparent that she has a deep appreciation as well as a thorough understanding of the topic.
Before delving into the non-book formats, Hsieh-Yee opens the book with introductory comments that provide a solid but ultimately superfluous overview of cataloging principles and the basics of MARC cataloging as well as a meandering discussion on the importance of good cataloging in the current information landscape. This part of the book reads like a professor's lecture in the first few weeks of an advanced cataloging course. This is not surprising, considering the author's [End Page 127] credentials. Although well-written and mildly interesting, there are far better sources for this information.
As with any new edition of a previously published work, one cannot help but consider how the latest iteration compares with the original. The 2006 edition is clearly superior in many ways. Thankfully, Hsieh-Yee has corrected the inaccuracies in the first edition that were misleading to novices looking for guidance and distracting to seasoned catalogers brushing up on skills or looking for quick answers. In addition to correcting mistakes, she has substantially improved and expanded the section on metadata for digital resources. This chapter, which Hsieh-Yee claims was intended to "demystify metadata," is a surprisingly good starting point for classroom discussion on the most popular metadata standards, but it is of no real value to practitioners. This section includes only a few examples of very few standards, and these lack the detail found in earlier chapters. Still, some readers will find much to appreciate in these discussions.
Besides substantially improving the metadata section, the author has updated the entire work to include the 2002 revision and 2004 updates of the Anglo-American Cataloging Rules, most notably chapters 9 ("Electronic Resources") and 12 ("Continuing Resources"). Also, the...