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Music Cataloging Questions and Answers
from the Music OCLC Users Group Newsletter
By Jay Weitz
Arranged and edited by Matthew Sheehy
Jay Weitz is the Music OCLC Users Group’s (MOUG) OCLC liaison; he is a specialist on music who has written a music cataloging "question and answer" column in MOUG’s Newsletter since May 1989. This book is a compilation of those columns, edited and arranged by Matthew Sheehy, the Assistant Head of Access/Collection Services and the Performing Arts Bibliographer at Rutgers. Most of the questions and answers that have appeared in Jay’s column are included. They are arranged by topic, each topic starting with the most recent question and answer first, then going back through time. The earlier questions were included to provide a historical perspective. Because of this approach, questions and answers contain references to outdated technology, superseded documentation, old rules, dead URLs, old forms of headings and guidelines that were promised but never appeared. In some cases, Jay has added corrective or clarifying notes; also, in cases where errors in answers were corrected in later issues of the Newsletter, the correction is here found directly after the error.
The title came about because Jay believes that the idea of cataloger’s judgment "…highlights the notion that cataloging is an art rather than a science. It emphasizes that real-world instances, in spite of our never-ending efforts to codify practices, will always defy those efforts. The world of stuff to catalog is so vast, so slippery, so surprising, that individual judgment will always enter into our decisions. And it suggests that catalogers are not the mindless drudges that many non-catalogers imagine, but instead are thoughtful judges concerning matters of description and access"(p. xix-xx).
The topics covered are, "When to input a new record", "Sound recordings", "Main and added entries", "Titles", "Description and related fields", "Notes", "Subject access", "Numbers", "Fixed fields", and "OCLC services". There is a 2-page bibliography of works cited in the text and an explanatory section, "Acronyms, Abbreviations and Other Cryptic Designations". There are also three indexes: 1) a topical index by question number; 2) an AACR2 rule, LCRI, and MCD (Music Cataloging Decisions) index by question number; and 3) an OCLC-MARC field index by question number.
It is refreshing that Jay never answers questions in a preachy way. In fact, his answers are clear, practical, and concise, while his sense of humor is evident throughout. This book will be a very helpful reference for music catalogers and the indexes will make the book even more useful for them. The book is hardbound, with a sturdy binding that will stand up to lots of use and it has a generous enough gutter that it could be rebound. Everyone who catalogs music should have access to a copy.
Published in 2004 by: Libraries Unlimited, Westport, Conn. (xxvii, 265 p.) ISBN: 1-59158-052-8 ($ 45). LC: 2003058907.
Katherine L. Rankin
Special Formats Catalog Librarian
University of Nevada, Las Vegas