Another term of LIS school has set in, and so has my first experiences with cataloguing and the general organization of information. Up to now, most of my work and academic experience has dealt with public management and information literacy – two areas important to librarianship. Missing from the equation has been the vital component of creating and organizing the systems that help us organize the information we seek, store and use.
This isn’t by coincidence. In spite of my curiosity in the systems (both technical and organizational) that underlie cataloguing and metadata, it is not a field that can sustain my interest day in and day out. If I were to be offered a dream job in LIS in the next ten minutes, it probably would not consist of many duties in this cataloguing. Nonetheless, I remain fascinated by the manner in which cataloguing identifies things. Without a catalogue, one would have an incredibly difficult time finding the information one seeks. Cataloguing identifies items and then describes them, which helps a person locate the item, and ultimately to experience it or its contents. From a simple (i.e. not well-thought) phenomenological perspective, cataloguing is crucial to an item’s existence. if the object can not ever be located and experienced – if it can never be found by the patron – then the object may as well simply not exist in the catalogue itself. No wonder cataloguers never step stressing the importance of their field and work.