Thursday, January 23, 2014

Library Misadventures (& more on cataloging)

If you've got a book near you, try turning to the back of the title page, the one with the publication details. You might see a Text-CIP, or "Cataloging in Publication". For example, The Drowning Girl by CaitlĂ­n R. Kiernan has these subject headings: “1. Schizophrenics – Fiction. 2. Self-actualization (Psychology) in women – Fiction.” Those are from the Library of Congress Subject Headings, and there are rules and prescribed vocabularies on assigning those terms. LC, however, is mostly used for academic disciplines and contains a lot of technical terms. (There are also other sources for subject headings other than LC, such as the Sear’s List). However, libraries now usually copy publication information from shared online databases and directly download to the library online catalog to save time. But there are materials that the library needs to classify, so the LC is an important tool in cataloging. Subject headings lead users to the resources they need and that’s important in cataloging.

This is what the printed LC looks like. We have to flip through these volumes numerous times to search and get the appropriate subject headings. 
That’s what we’re doing now in SEAFDEC AQD Library, assigning headings for research papers and journal articles. But it is brain-draining work for us who still has to analyze them, as most of these research works on Fisheries and Aquaculture are written in scientific and technical jargon. After that, it will be encoded in their database. Anyway, the librarian who’s in charge of us is a great teacher and I admit I only learned how to properly use the LCSH from his teaching. I still need a lot of practice on it. It’s only our second week there, and we still have a lot to do until February! I’m grateful for the experience here, as the SEAFDEC library and librarians have won numerous awards from library associations – especially PAARL (Philippine Association of Academic & Research Libraries).

In RL... I’m busy catching up with the hours needed for the practicum. MWF we’re in Tigbauan, TTh in school due to a couple of remaining subjects and duty hours in Henry Luce. I’m currently in the Theology Library. I’m trying my best to squeeze in what I can in reading and writing.

I like working in SEAFDEC, I like how calm it is there. I’m interested in the ocean, so reading and analyzing studies about it and its creatures is a welcome challenge. We ride their bus for free from the city to Tigbauan and back, so it’s no trouble. It seems that the only time I can read uninterrupted is during the bus ride.

I finished a book there, Two Worlds and in Between: The Best of  CaitlĂ­n R. Kiernan, vol. 1, read from my Kindle. It’s a short story collection of one of my favorite authors. The stories are more atmosphere than suspenseful plot – the recurring themes are about the ocean, space, and parallel worlds. My favorite pieces are: “Onion”, “Andromeda among the Stones”, and “The Dry Salvages”. I like The Dry Salvages best, it’s a written account about a tragic space exploration to a distant planet, told by its sole remaining survivor...

"And still we do not see that we are not gods, The holy fathers and holy mothers and demons of our lost antiquities. We do not comprehend our insignificance at the feet of eternity. We have not the time to learn. We have not the courage to admit. We have not the strength to accept, and, accepting, move beyond this grinding infancy. Instead, we bring snow and ice to birthday parties in Hell and congratulate our ignorance.”

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