Thomas Mann’s new one

New essay by Thomas Mann, “The Peloponnesian War and the Future of Reference, Cataloging, and Scholarship in Research Libraries” (June 13, 2007). PDF, 41 pp.

ABSTRACT: The paper is an examination of the overall principles and practices of both reference service and cataloging operations in the promotion of scholarly research, pointing out important differences not just in content available onsite and offsite, but also among necessary search methods. It specifies the differences between scholarship and quick information seeking, and examines the implications of those differences for the future of cataloging. It examines various proposed alternatives to cataloging: relevance ranking, tagging, under-the-hood programming, etc. The paper considers the need for, and requirements of, education of researchers; and it examines in detail many of the glaring disconnects between theory and practice in the library profession today.

AFSCME 2910 urges readers of this essay to make their voices heard by writing to the Working Group on the Future of Bibliographic Control. This advisory group will make recommendations to Library of Congress management which could determine the future of LC cataloging policy.

In particular, LC management is positioning itself to change its practices in two major ways: 1) LC is moving away from its practice of requiring subject expertise in its catalogers; and 2) it is questioning the practice of creating LC Subject Headings in precoordinated subject strings (see pages 21-27 of Mann’s paper). Without precoordination, the existing cross-reference structure, the linkages of LCSH to LC Classification, and the possibility of browse displays of subdivided headings in online catalogs, would be lost.

PLEASE MAKE YOUR VOICES HEARD on these issues by writing to the Working Group BY THE DEADLINE OF JULY 15, 2007. You may contact them at:

or you can fill out a web form at:

or you can mail your letters to:

Dr. Jos?©-Marie Griffiths
Dean and Professor
School of Information and Library Science
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
CB#3360, 100 Manning Hall
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3360

The Working Group needs your input. Please speak up and encourage your colleagues to respond as well.

The Library of Congress Professional Guild
AFSCME Local 2910
Mail stop 9994
Room No. LM G-41
Library of Congress
101 Independence Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20540
(202) 707-6493/1304
Fax: (202) 707-1873

“Opinions expressed are those of the authors, and are not official statements by the Library of Congress.”