The Future of Cataloging: Google Print WIll Not Supplant LC Cataloging

by Sabrina I. Pacifici on August 28, 2005

Will Google’s Keyword Searching Eliminate the Need for LC Cataloging and Classification?by Thomas Mann, a Reference Librarian in the Main Reading Room of the Library of Congress. This paper was written for AFSCME 2910.

  • “The larger the book collection, the more–not less–scholars are dependent on categorizations created by subject headings in catalogs and classified shelving in bookstacks. “Access” provided by the mere addition of more keywords to a database, with their “ranking” by machine algorithms, is radically different from conceptual categorization; it is only the latter that provides both overview and recognition access to books’ contents. Without those means of access, provided and maintained primarily by the Library of Congress, scholars–and scholarship itself–will be lost in a wilderness of inadequately sorted information “atomized” at keyword levels into conceptual incoherence, and retrievable only superficially via unsystematic and haphazard guesswork.”
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