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I Love Catalogers

I just spent 20 minutes with a student hunting down the album number of a particular jazz album that was released last year. Lord’s Jazz Discography didn’t have it (the album is too recent to be included), Amazon didn’t have it (preferring to list only their own unique identifier, the ASIN number), the artist’s site didn’t list it (preferring to link to Amazon for all album information… For Circular Reference, see Reference, Circular; For Reference, Circular, see Circular Reference), and the recording label didn’t list it in their catalog either.

Then, just as we were deciding between giving up, going out to a music store and just looking at the album itself, or emailing the artist (who’s young and new and would probably do anything for a student who mentions studying the artist’s work in college), I remembered catalogers and the wonderfully meticulous work they do. Surely somebody has this album in their collection, and surely some cataloger has already done this hunting for us.

A quick WorldCat search brought up the album, and sure enough, there it was! Not only the album number, but also the recording and release dates… just sitting there waiting for us. O Frabjous Day! Catalogers ROCK!!

Published inRandom Thoughts


  1. rogersurbanek rogersurbanek

    Having just spent 20 minutes debating the merits of cataloging non-periodical serials monographically vs serially and the relative importance of ISBNs and ISSNs in said decision, and then wondering if anyone EVER cares about this sort of thing besides catalogers…

    Thanks, right back atcha.

  2. Iris Iris

    I know there’s a movement afoot to save time by omitting stuff because “who needs this stuff anyway.” But I tell ya, if we don’t have this information, nobody does. Because nobody else knows they care until they ask us and we don’t have it.

    I <3 catalogers. Lots.

  3. Meredith Meredith

    Catalogers don’t get the recognition they deserve because when they do their job right, things just work and no one (patrons are least) is any the wiser that someone put effort into it. Our head of Tech Services has made so many fabulous improvements to our catalog records that have made our stuff so much more findable. Putting a great search interface on a catalog is worthless if there isn’t good data behind it.

    If you can’t already guess I <3 catalogers too :)

  4. Mark Mark

    I hope to be able to live up to the standards needed by you all and others.

    And as an insatiable library patron and consumer of bibliographic data, I too love catalogers. ;)

  5. bibliotecaria bibliotecaria

    Thank you (we blush in acknowledgement). I do like my job as a cataloguer. If there was no one to find the things we describe, it would be absolutely purposeless. So thanks for sharing a story of how we help ge the job done.

  6. Iris Iris

    There are lots more stories where this one comes from. I just happened to write this one down. :-)

    Cataloging is decidedly NOT purposeless.

  7. suzigurl, cataloger suzigurl, cataloger

    aw, shucks. Seriously, thank you for the love. It can sometimes take a lot of hunting to do the work we do. I have a pin from OCLC that says “cataloging is public service.”

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