Cataloging and Classification/Access points
What's the point of a catalog? For Charles Ammi Cutter (1837-1903), an important pioneer in the field of cataloging, the catalog exists to help library users find books. In his Rules for a Dictionary Catalog, Cutter identified specific "objects" (goals) that a catalog to fulfill. When a user is trying to find a book, Cutter says, they will want the catalog to help them in at least one of the following ways.
- To enable a person to find a book of which either...
- ...the author,
- ...the title, or
- ...the subject is known
- To show what the library has...
- ...by a given author,
- ...on a given subject, or
- ...in a given kind of literature.
- To assist in the choice of a book...
- ...as to its edition (bibliographically), or
- ...as to its character (literary or topical).
Legacy of Cutter's Objectives
Cutter's Objectives, in somewhat modified forms, have influenced the development of cataloging practices greatly. The objectives are certainly useful, but also have their limitations. One critique can be found in Hope Olson's The Power to Name.
AACR2's Eight Areas of Description
AACR2 1.0B1 lists eight areas of description:
- Title and statement of responsibility (MARC field 245)
- Edition (MARC field 250)
- Material (or type of publication) specific details (not used for monographs)
- Publication, distribution, etc. (MARC field 260)
- Physical description (MARC field 300)
- Series (MARC fields 4xx)
- Note (MARC fields 5xx)
- Standard number (MARC fields 0xx) and terms of availability