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Dorothy McGarry – Testimony

Although I received my bachelor’s degree at the University of California, Los Angeles in the field of Anthropology in 1949 (long before most and probably all of you were born), I did not begin library school there until 1970. I had worked as a student assistant in cataloguing and thought then about attending library school because the work seemed to be very interesting. In 1968, I started a job working full time as a Library Assistant in circulation. At that time, I decided that it made sense for me to attend library school and become a librarian, with my interest primarily in cataloguing. Working at the biomedical library helped me in my classes, with my project for a system analysis class being the analysis of circulation in the UCLA Research Library. Library School was a fun time for me, even though I was working full time and had children still at home; I had wonderful instructors and all of the classes were interesting. I earned my Master of Library Science degree in 1971.

In library school, we were taught the Anglo-American Cataloging Rules, which had been in use for several years, although we also learned about previous rules so that we could understand existing records. This was in the days of card catalogues, when many libraries in the United States ordered cards from the Library of Congress, using its cataloguing rather than doing original cataloguing for all materials. Some examples of AACR then: a system of what was called “superimposition” for pre-existing names was used in the United States to avoid changing masses of forms of names for certain types of headings, including some corporate bodies as well as some personal names. For example, the University of California, Los Angeles, was for a long time California. University. Los Angeles. Also, “latest entry” was used for forms of some names (e.g. the International Federation of Library Associations changed to the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions, and all the cards were changed to the later form, with a cross reference from the former).  When a serial title changed, cards were changed to have the entry under the new title, with a “Title varies:” note. Compilations and edited works were put under the editor or compiler. A few years later, the rules were changed to put the edited and compiled works under title main entry, and about 1974, ISBD punctuation was introduced into AACR for monographic publications. There were several specialized ISBDs, but initially the ISBD punctuation was to be used in AACR only for monographs. Some people didn’t like this, but for most it was not difficult to change and was even a welcome change, since it was now clear what the information in a record was, e.g. when dealing with languages unfamiliar to the cataloguer.

Dorothy McGarry during her testimonial at FSR 2014, Rome, 28th february 2014.

Dorothy McGarry during her testimonial at FSR 2014, Rome, 28th february 2014.

I began cataloguing for the physical sciences and engineering libraries at UCLA in November 1971. My cataloguing teacher had been Elizabeth Baughman, who had worked with Seymour Lubetzky for a number of years, and who educated some great catalogers. I was fortunate that she sent me a series of wonderful library interns, among whom were two you may have heard of, Martha Yee and Sara Shatford Layne.

It was primarily because I had taken some mathematics classes, and the supervisor of cataloguing for the science and engineering libraries at UCLA didn’t like to catalogue mathematics, that she chose me over the other candidate for an open position. I was fortunate also that my supervisor didn’t like meetings and committees, so I was able almost from the beginning to participate in policy decisions for the UCLA Library. Especially interesting, one of my first committee assignments was representing our cataloguing area on the Working Group on Public Catalogs. We looked at the cataloguing operations in the then four major cataloguing areas at UCLA (the research library that dealt with humanities and social sciences, the physical sciences and engineering libraries, the biomedical library, and the law library) and agreed on consistency in what we all were doing. Over the years, practices had drawn apart, and we wanted to use the same standards. I was also fortunate to be sent by the Library to a map cataloguing workshop at the Library of Congress, and became for a number of years the only cataloguer engaged in map cataloguing on campus.

In 1975, the year before I became head of the UCLA Physical Sciences and Technology Libraries Cataloging Division, I began to attend the American Library Association conferences, where there were a great many committee meetings on cataloguing while AACR2 was being developed. Many proposals had to be discussed to see which changes could be agreed upon. At the ALA meetings, I could talk about cataloguing all day every day, and keep up-to-date with what was happening with changing rules.

I have attended the Special Libraries Association annual conferences since 1976, where I have met and discussed topics dealing with the physical sciences and maps with librarians from libraries devoted to those subjects. The SLA meetings gave me great opportunities to speak with librarians dealing with the public services and collection development aspects and to consider the interactions of these with people working in cataloguing.

Soon I was not only attending committee meetings, I was participating in the work of these meetings. Within the ALA Cataloging and Classification Section, I served on a number of committees, including the Policy and Research Committee, the Subject Analysis Committee, the Committee on Cataloging: Description and Access (as secretary one year and chair of the committee the next, in 1985/86) and was chair of the Cataloging and Classification Section in 1997/98. During the year I was chair of CC:DA, it was before email distribution of documents, and I had to photocopy many pages of documents relating to AACR2, collate them, and put them in envelopes and send them off by regular mail to 40 or so committee members. Email makes things so much easier in this regard! Years ago, before online catalogues were common, among other committees on which I served were a Catalog Use Committee, a Book Catalogs Committee, and a Catalog Form Function and Use Committee. I also served on a committee within the Association of College and Research Libraries dealing with understanding title pages of publications of conference proceedings, because many editors and publishers set up title pages that make conference proceedings difficult to catalogue and often lead to different interpretations of what is the title proper. I was honored by being awarded the Margaret Mann Citation by the ALA Cataloging and Classification Section in 2005.

Much thought went into development of the second edition of AACR. It was decided to stop “superimposition”, with studies being made by some individuals to show that there would not be a lot of disruption. Successive entry was to be used for forms of corporate names and for titles of serials, and more serials were to be put under title, while “uniform titles with qualifiers” were to be added when more than one serial entered under title had the same title. I liked the successive entries, because I thought it made things clearer for the users, both for names and for serials, but some people did not like successive entry, particularly for serials, thinking that this did not result in a record that would bring the entire run together. Rules for newer resources were also developed. By this time, many libraries were using online utilities for cataloguing, so standardization was important. A few years later online public access catalogues became prevalent, especially in larger libraries, and many felt it important to be able to search them with similar commands and to find similarly understandable records, based on the same rules.

I served on the SLA Committee on Cataloging for many years, and for many of those years, as chair of the committee. The committee looked at the various issues being discussed in cataloguing, and having an SLA committee allowed SLA to have a representative on the ALA Committee on Cataloging: Description and Access. This allowed the SLA people to have a voice in discussions on the many proposals that came to the latter committee. I served on the SLA Board of Directors for two years, was chair of two divisions and one chapter, and served on the international relations committee, among others. I was honored to receive the SLA John Cotton Dana award in 1991, and to be inducted as an SLA Fellow in 1994 and into the SLA Hall of Fame in 2000.

In 1985, I began to attend the IFLA conferences, and was elected to the Standing Committee of the Classification and Indexing Section from 1987/1995, serving as chair from 1989/93 and secretary from 1993/95. It was an exciting time to be on this Standing Committee and involved in the work of the Section. The Section conducted a satellite meeting in Lisbon in 1993, and a publication resulted from the meeting: Subject Indexing: Principles and Practices in the 90s, published in 1995. The Standing Committee had several working groups on which I served, including one that produced Guidelines for Subject Authority and Reference Entries, published in 1993, one on Principles Underlying Subject Heading Languages, published in 1999, and more recently one on Guidelines for Subject Access in National Bibliographies, published in 2013. I was a member of the IFLA Study Group that produced Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records in 1998. On this Study Group, there were several consultants and a number of members. The SG had many discussions on our way to the final publication. The consultants worked on the theoretical matter, which was then considered by the members as a whole. There was concern on the part of some regarding the four levels: work, expression, manifestation, item. Some felt that three (essentially, work, manifestation, and item, with some of the expressions being looked at as works and others as manifestations) would accomplish what was needed and would also mirror what had long been the framework for cataloguing rules. However, the four levels were kept. Also, subjects were divided into four categories: concept, object, place and event, although years later the Functional Requirements for Subject Authority Data members decided that these should all be combined into “Thema” and that the meanings of those four terms were not equally understood in all cultures and countries. I, personally, was surprised when it seemed not much attention was paid to the data elements necessary to meet the functional requirements and very much attention was paid to the data model after publication.

Because of my service as an officer of the Classification and Indexing Section Standing Committee in the 1990s, I was also fortunate to be one of the speakers at seminars on Universal Bibliographic Control in Rio de Janeiro and in Bucharest in 1993, and in Vilnius in 1994.  I served on the ISBD Review Group from 1997-2013, and am now an honorary member and a corresponding member. We revised the ISBDs for monographic publications and the General ISBD, and changed the ISBD for Serials to the ISBD for Continuing Resources. We worked on ISBDs for Cartographic Materials and Electronic Resources and finished revisions, but these two were not published because we had already begun to work on the consolidated edition of the ISBD. I also gave a paper on priorities for retrospective conversion at a workshop held in Moscow during the 1991 IFLA conference. Currently the ISBD Review Group is planning to conduct a survey to determine use of the ISBD directly or as a basis for a national or regional cataloguing code, and to determine expectations for the future of the ISBD.

A Study Group on Future Directions of the ISBD was formed within the ISBD Review Group in 2003 to discuss whether a consolidated edition could be developed, following which a draft was prepared. Both within the ISBD and AACR communities, it came to be thought that there was much repetition in dealing with different types of materials separately. In a number of cases, the same result was achieved, but the wording varied. The group working with the ISBD Review Group cut and pasted stipulations dealing with similar elements together, and wording was decided for a consolidated ISBD, where the main points for all materials came first, followed by stipulations for particular types of materials, for example, for maps, scale and projection, for serials, numerical and chronological designations, and for music, a music format statement. The ISBD for Older Monographic Publications (Antiquarian) was the hardest to integrate, since many of the practices differed from those for non-antiquarian resources. For example, with non-antiquarian resources, typography was taken into account when recording place and publisher, while for antiquarian publications, sequence was considered more important.

I served on the Cataloguing Section Standing Committee from 1995/2003, Classification and Indexing again from 2003/11, and Cataloguing again from 2011. Currently, one of the groups working under the Cataloguing Section Standing Committee is looking at a need to revise the Statement of International Cataloguing Principles that was published in 2009 (Agnese Galeffi is chair of this group). There is thought that not all of the statements are “principles”, and so the title and structure probably need changing. The individual statements are also being looked at and consideration given to see if something new might be needed in a revision or if some wording may need changing.

I co-edited, with Elaine Svenonius, Seymour Lubetzky: Writings on the Classical Art of Cataloging. We were very happy to make this significant material widely available; much of what Lubetzky had written was, until this publication, available in privately circulated photocopies of typescript reports. (During the time Dr. Svenonius and I were working on this, Agnese Galeffi visited at UCLA and I was pleased to meet her there.)

I catalogued using AACR and AACR2, and though I have been at discussions of RDA for years, I have not actually catalogued using RDA. I retired from full time work in 1993. The volunteer work I’m doing now is to check the bibliographic database for records for the physical science and engineering libraries, correct the records with errors, and convert previously unconverted records. I do not change the type of cataloguing that had been used before, unless there seem to be problems with the cataloguing.

For AACR, there developed a decision within the Joint Steering Committee for Revision of AACR to change the name to Resource Description and Access. Along the way, many changes were made. For example: Latin abbreviations were changed to English phrases (to be translated into the language of any translation). Many people never understood “s.l.” and “s.n.”, used when the place and publisher were unknown, but in my view it didn’t seem to bother users. Changes to non-use of “e.g.”, “i.e.”, “circa” and other such terms seemed unnecessary to many, but the JSC apparently decided that there are many people who do not know these terms today. RDA has worked from many proposals generated from and through the bodies composing the JSC, and consensus has been reached on some issues, but there are also many options and alternatives, which can mean that records are less standardized depending on which options or alternatives are selected. RDA did not call itself a “standard”, but a set of guidelines, and does not follow the ISBD framework of areas and elements. Many anticipate that a national library will choose options and alternatives, and most of the libraries of that country will follow, but I spoke with a couple of heads of university cataloguing departments who said they were allowing each of their cataloguers to make his or her own decision. So much for consistency and sharing of records world-wide! RDA has also brought about changes in terminology, which some people like, but which I don’t. People cataloguing have known “main entry”, “added entry”, “uniform title”, and many other terms that have now been replaced with new terms. For example, “main entry” has become “authorized access point for a work”. It is thought by some that RDA will meet the needs of working with linked data. The ISBD Review Group has a Linked Data Study Group, and I assume catalogue rule-making bodies in other countries are also working on linked data.

My first trip to Rome wasn’t until 2001, for a seminar organized by Mauro Guerrini, where I spoke on the ISBDs for Continuing Resources and for Cartographic Materials in terms of their electronic resource aspects. It was a wonderful trip, and I have since been back to Rome once before now, and to several other cities in Italy. There is so much to see in Italy, with so much history, the people are so very friendly, and the land itself is beautiful. On my 2001 trip, Professor Guerrini arranged for several tours for us in Rome. When IFLA was in Milan, there was a satellite meeting in Florence, where I saw something of that city, and a colleague and I took a short trip on Lake Como. When I returned for a different meeting in Rome in 2010, Agnese Galeffi took two other colleagues and me to see some sights, and when I went to a city near Florence later, I was given tours by Professor Guerrini and his wife of a couple of Italian cities I would never otherwise have seen. I hope to return to Italy in June for a conference in Naples composed mainly of astronomy librarians.

Through this all, I have met many wonderful librarians from many countries and it has been a pleasure serving with them on Standing Committees, the ISBD Review Group and subgroups, and Working and Study Groups, and contributing to the work of IFLA. (There are too many to name, and I wouldn’t want to leave anyone out.) It is special to me to have seen many of these librarians year after year at IFLA and to see other librarians I’ve come to know at other conferences. I have been fortunate to have some wonderful library interns and other mentees, and am very happy to have seen librarians that I have mentored go on to happy and fulfilling careers, and in some cases to make significant contributions to cataloguing. I can certainly recommend cataloguing as a wonderful career.

URL: https://www.aib.it/attivita/congressi/fsr-2014/2014/41465-mcgarry-testimony/. Copyright AIB 2014-03-06. A cura di Andrea Marchitelli, ultima modifica 2014-03-06