Field Experience

This semester I am working on a field experience doing AV cataloging at Davis Library on campus. I’ve been keeping a notebook of daily activities, but I’d like to blog a little bit about it as well–especially since it is incredibly interesting. Truly, I should have taken advantage of the option to complete two field experiences for my degree and done this a lot sooner. It’s such a good learning experience.

My typical field experience day starts with signing into OCLC Connexion and Millennium, reviewing the notes on the items I was working on during my previous shift, and then either going over records with my supervisor or working on creating new records for the ever-growing pile on my desk. I’m doing both copy and original cataloging, depending on the resource at hand. DVDs that are pretty common get copy-cataloging, which means I look for an adequate record in WorldCat (a determining factor is usually the number of Holds it has, e.g. other libraries using this particular catalog record) save it in my local save file, and then modify it by making any necessary corrections and adding fields for our local standards.

The original catalog records I’ve created have mostly been for items created by UNC (like filmed guest lectures) and more obscure items that can’t be found in WorldCat (like two awesome DVDs of turtle hatchlings, created and distributed by the Turtle Conservancy!) AACR2 dictates that information for the catalog record should ideally be taken from the opening and/or end credits, so screening bits and pieces of DVDs that require original cataloging is necessary. When it involves catching glimpses of tons of teeny tiny terrapins, it is alright with me! đŸ˜€

Mostly though, it is a lot of fast-forwarding and rewinding and typing information from the screen into a text document so I can copy it into Connexion.

One of the main challenges of AV cataloging is that there are SO MANY contributors to consider. Luckily, the Online Audiovisual Catalogers (OLAC) have come up with guidelines and best practices more specific than what AACR2 prescribes. Generally the screenwriter, director, and editor are given space in the statement of contribution area, and other contributors (such as actors and actresses and musicians) are given their due in added entries.

In spite of these helpful guidelines, another challenge of AV cataloging is that even if you know who you’d like to list in a record, there is not always an easy way of obtaining the information. For example, you want to include the release date of the DVD, but that date is not always provided on the container or within the credits; sometimes the original release or broadcast date is all that is available, and sometimes the container has what seems like it could be a release date, but it could just as easily be a copyright date for the container artwork.

More to come as the semester goes on! This week I will be doing some copy cataloging for DVDs created in Spanish speaking countries, which should be pretty challenging.

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