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portal: Libraries and the Academy 4.2 (2004) 302-303
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Historical Aspects of Cataloging and Classification, ed. Martin D. Joachim. New York: Haworth Information Press, 2003. 604 p. $69.95 (ISBN 0-7890-1980-9) Simultaneously published as Cataloging & Classification Quarterly, v. 35, nos. 1/2, 2002 and v. 35, nos. 3/4, 2003.
Editor Martin Joachim has provided an impressive collection of articles written by a variety of library professionals, both active and retired, as well as library school students, and individuals not formally associated with the profession.
Although conveniently organized in three sections—general works on cataloging rules, individual countries or regions, and special formats and topics—the majority of the papers fall into the latter two categories. The three articles in the general works section highlight the development of cataloging rules and standards and the efforts to formulate basic cataloging principles. Virgil Blake cites the work of Anthony Panizzi, Charles C. Jewett, and Charles A. Cutter, along with the contributions of the American Library Association, and the Library Association of the United Kingdom as critical to the establishment of current descriptive cataloging cooperative practices. Michael Carpenter's analysis of early British Museum catalog rules follows, and Elisabeth de Rijk Spanhoff concludes this section with her examination of the concept of cataloging principles as it has an impact on attempts "to assess the adequacy of AACR as a descriptive cataloging code for the online environment." (p.37)
In the second section various writers outline historical cataloging practices from Africa to Mexico and Central America to Europe and the Far East, providing an intriguing smorgasbord of library cataloging practices. It is interesting to note the progress in the development of online cataloging in libraries in China as outlined by Suqing Liu and Zhenghua Shen, a process facilitated by the acceptance of international standards and the establishment of various consortia fostering centralization and cooperation. Stephen M. Mutula and Mashingaidze Tsvakai's article discusses the challenges inherent in cataloging African language materials, a process hampered by a lack of bibliographic tools capable of adjusting to languages not based on alphabetical and roman scripting systems. In Germany, a recommendation to migrate to AACR2 and MARC is cause for heated debate, as proponents of Regeln fur die Alphabetische Katalogisierung (RAK) argue its merits over the Anglo-American approach.
In the special formats or topics section, one of the more esoteric inclusions is "Posthumously Plagiarizing Oliva Sabuco: An [End Page 302] Appeal to Cataloging Librarians" by Mary Ellen Waithe and Maria Elena Vintro. Through the leadership of the Biblioteca Nacional of Madrid and the National Library of Medicine in Washington, catalog records for the 1587 Nueva Filosofia de la Naturaleza del Hombre now attribute the work to Miguel Sabuco y Alvarez instead of his daughter, Oliva Sabuco. Waithe and Vintro present results of their research supporting the position that the change is not warranted and conclude their article with a plea to cataloging librarians to restore Oliva Sabuco as author of the work.
The intention of this collection of articles is to contribute to an understanding of the development of the library catalog over time and from an international perspective. Notes and bibliographical sources are included, as well as summaries and lists of keywords. Readers looking for a comprehensive or encyclopedic treatment of the history of cataloging and classification theory and practice will not be wholly satisfied, though there is much of interest to be gleaned from this collection. The inclusion of articles detailing the history and current practice in various countries around the world adds vitality and depth.
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