ALCTS/ALISE Task Force Releases Proposal for Preparing 21st Century Catalogers

A joint ALCTS/ALISE task force has responded to a call from the Library of Congress to recommend appropriate training and education for bibliographic control of web resources. ALISE (Association for Library and Information Science Education) provides a forum for library and information science educators to share ideas and to seek solutions to common problems. The task force report and recommendations are available at http://

An increasingly common notion is that libraries no longer need catalogers, and library and information schools no longer need to teach cataloging. Yet the need to organize information resources has become more pressing in the last ten years and the options for organizing digital resources have expanded. To address the challenge of cataloging 21st century library materials, the Library of Congress hosted a bicentennial conference on " Bibliographic Control for the New Millennium." John Byrum, chief of the Library of Congress Regional and Cooperative Cataloging Division, remarking on the genesis of the conference, said "libraries have witnessed an explosion in Web resources and they recognize the need to integrate them into their collections. The conference sought to enable an open discussion and the development of an action plan to pursue."

More than two dozen action items arose from the LC conference, two of which relate to education and training. Because of the strong commitment ALCTS has to the development of librarians engaged in bibliographic control, the Library of Congress asked that ALCTS take a lead role to accomplish these two action items.

As a first step, ALCTS appointed the joint ALCTS/ALISE task force, which also included partners from an OCLC regional network and the Library of Congress. The task force, chaired by Beth Picknally Camden of the University of Virginia, engaged principal investigator Ingrid Hsieh-Yee, associate professor of the School of Library and Information Science of the Catholic University of America, to survey ALA-accredited programs and to recommend fresh approaches. Camden notes "Ingrid's survey results and recommendations make a significant contribution to the field. Her research is the foundation of our plan to assist educators and anyone who cares about cataloging and metadata education to prepare for teaching in this area."

The joint task force proposes a five-part plan to help metadata and cataloging educators and trainers: to announce the task force's findings regarding the elements of bibliographic control expertise; to assemble a "metadata basics" package for use by faculty and workshop leaders; to create a listserv for sharing news; to set up a web clearinghouse for pedagogical resources; and to hold a conference for educators and trainers to share expertise and ideas for integrating metadata topics into courses and workshops.

The next step is to carry out the joint task force's plan. An implementation group has been appointed with members from ALCTS, ALISE, the Library of Congress, OCLC, and other organizations with a stake in supporting metadata and cataloging educators and trainers. Meanwhile a second ALCTS task force, chaired by Carol Hixson of the University of Oregon, is preparing recommendations for changes and additions to continuing education programs for catalogers. Hixson's task force expects to present its plan for approval at the 2003 ALA annual conference in Toronto.

For more information, contact Diane Baden of NELINET ( or Olivia Frost of the University of Michigan (

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