Organizing Content

January 23, 2014

Karen Muller

Five years ago, ALA’s Presidential Task Force on Library Education specified eight areas of core knowledge for librarians. The third area, titled “Organization of Recorded Knowledge and Information,” details how librarians provide library users access to materials. It defined three specific competences related to recorded knowledge and info:

  • Organization and representation;
  • Developmental, descriptive, and evaluative skills;
  • The systems of cataloging, and metadata, indexing, and classification standards and methods.

The following books elaborate on this continuum, from providing detailed information on indexing a single item to structuring access to a collection of documents, whether on paper or in other forms.

Indexes provide access to the content of a single document. Two updated editions of introductory indexing guides present an overview of training sources and the fundamentals of creating a tool to get at the riches of a text. Handbook of Indexing Techniques: A Guide for Beginning Indexers, 5th edition, by Linda K. Fetters, offers tips on selecting indexing terms, including references, and organizing the index itself. She addresses the indexing of books, periodicals, and electronic documents. The bibliography is presented in both classified and alphabetical arrangements. Introduction to Indexing and Abstracting, 4th edition, by Donald Cleveland and Ana Cleveland, takes a textbook approach, starting with chapters on the nature of information and its communication and organization. The authors cover not only print indexing but also image indexing. With the inclusion of abstracting, this book also provides a means to understand the construction of periodical literature databases.

Indexed. Information Today, 2013. 176 p. $28. PBK. 978-1-57387-461-8
Indexed. Libraries Unlimited, 2013. 384 p. $55. PBK. 978-1-59884-976-9

Magda El-Sherbini’s RDA: Strategies for Implementation is an introduction to the Resource Description and Access (RDA) cataloging code. After recounting the history of rules development and RDA principles, the author provides a tabular comparison of the Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules (AACR) and RDA, as well as an explanation of the Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records (FRBR) model and how it ­affects the cataloging process and results. The chapter on implementation strategies covers topics such as training, change management, decision points, and impact on OPAC displays. Two chapters on identifying manifestations and items, and identifying works and expressions and the entity responsible for creating them, are key to applying the principles to cataloging.

Indexed. ALA Editions, 2013. 408 p. $65. PBK. 978-0-8389-1168-6

Books are indexed and materials cataloged, but we still need to provide a map to their content. Using LibGuides to Enhance Library Services: A LITA Guide, edited by Douglas Cook, Ryan L. Sittler, and Aaron W. Dobbs, describes one alternative. Chapters on LibGuides use and strategies for administrators present important points on why providing effective tools is important. The editors also include practical discussions of design, organizing the content, and implementing guides in relation to both instructional models and distance education delivery. Although the content is focused on a specific product, the principles apply to ­other “pathfinder” types.

Indexed. ALA TechSource, 2013. 328 p. $65. PBK. 978-1-55570-880-1 (Also available as an ebook.)

The second edition of Content Strategy for the Web, by Kristina Halvorson and Melissa Rach, will be valuable to anyone who wants to showcase their library’s holdings and resources on a website. The book details how content strategy is used to meet users’ needs; to guide decisions from initial brainstorming stages to weeding; and to measure a website’s success. Strategy components—substance and structure on the content side and workflow and governance on the people side—are explored as well.

Indexed. New Riders, Peachpit Books, 2012. 216 p. $34.99. PBK. 978-0-321-80830-1 (Also available as an ebook.)

The thread running through all of these books is how users will be helped by the product. Trust me, some of your colleagues won’t agree. So I offer The Art of Negotiation: How to Improvise Agreement in a Chaotic World, by ­Michael Wheeler. Though largely intended for the business world, the iterative application of “Learn,” “Influence,” and “Adapt” should yield to successful implementation of a new code, a new delivery service, or a core content strategy for a website.

Indexed. Simon & Schuster, 2013. 320 p. $26. 978-1-4516-9042-2 (Also available as an ­ebook.)



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