With some people working from home, some wanting to leave face-to-face services with customers who are not compliant with social distancing rules, and some staring down the barrel of redundancy, there have possibly never been more information professionals contemplating self-employment. Here are some tips and resources from my experience this year setting up Beginning Cataloguing.
It’s been six months since Beginning Cataloguing opened for business, although we’d been gearing up and getting things ready for longer, of course. Today’s article provides a brief reflection on some things I’ve learned, in case they are of use to you.
1. Descriptive Cataloging of Rare Materials (Books) (DCRM(B)). The main standard for rare books cataloguing is maintained by the Rare Books and Materials Section (RBMS) of the Association of College & Research Libraries and is available to download in pdf form for free.
Beginning Bibliography begins on Monday. We don’t set any reading that can’t be accessed for free, so this month’s Beginnings article highlights my top five book purchases in the field.
1. Bowers for the Detail. Love it or loathe it, you cannot ignore Bowers’s tome, Principles of Bibliographical Description (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1949). You would imagine bibliographers to be obsessed with detail, and Bowers was certainly that. I first read this book in 1990 and in thirty years, I’ve not found a single challenge in bibliographic description for which I have not been able to find an answer within it. If only he had been able to write in an engaging, encouraging style, I’d go so far as to say we would need no other book on how to describe a printed book. Alas! He conveys all of the detail but none of the love, and I have met some very distinguished bibliographers who have confided to me they have never been able to read his Principles from cover to cover, only dip in and out of it as and when required. Copies are available from Betterworld Books and second-hand from Abe and Abe UK.
Each month we plan to bring you an article, usually published on a Friday lunchtime. We’ll alternate “how to catalogue” pieces with ones on broader topics.
For our first, we beg your indulgence to share a little of the experience of starting a business during the current lockdown for Covid-19. We’d love to hear how you are all coping with the changes you’ve been experiencing too.