Fall 1998 (October 1998/ Tishrei 5759)

Contents of this issue

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From the editor's desk
Happy New Year! I hope that the summer has been productive and restful for you. In my library we use the summer vacation for special projects. One of these projects was to clean-up the periodical room. We arranged the periodicals on the shelves for better access and removed unwanted duplicates. We offered these duplicates to other libraries via Ha-Safran. Two of the titles were requested within 10 minutes of the offering.

The University of Illinois-Urbana has new professors in Jewish studies on their faculty, who started this fall. The library is now faced with the task of building up their Judaica collection. HTC's library has been sharing duplicate periodicals and books. Chicago Public Library sent them many Yiddish books. I feel that we need to help the U of I because it is our students who will benefit from the collection.

New Ideas

This newsletter starts a section telling about ourselves. I invite members to write about their training, how they became a librarian, or about their libraries. Martha Friedman of the University of Illinois-Urbana makes the first contribution to this section.

This is the first newsletter of the year and under my editorship. If you have news, information, ideas, or articles that you want to share please send them to me : Daniel Stuhlman, editor at 6617 N. Mozart, Chicago, IL 60645. E-mail : DDStuhlman@earthlink.net. If you don't e-mail the information then please send it on a disk in ASCII, Word Perfect, or Microsoft Word formats.

Minutes of the Summer Meeting

Judaica Library Network of Metropolitan Chicago Thursday, August 13, 1998. Skokie. The meeting was called to order at 10:05 a.m. by President Margaret Burka. 17 people attended.

Margaret thanked Judy Weintraub for hosting the meeting.

Two job openings were mentioned: Part-time for Beth Hillel, Wilmette. A full-time general studies position is available at Hillel Torah.

The minutes from the previous meeting were accepted as written.

Treasurer's Report

Judy Simon, Treasurer, announced that there is a balance of $475.00 in the bank account.

Officers for 1998-1999

It was pointed out that since there can not be more than one Corresponding Secretary, Joy King solver will hold the official position, but Kathy Bloch will share the work.

The new slate of officers was voted in: President Margaret Burka, Vice-President Judith Gressel, Treasurer Judith Simon, Recording Secretary Eva Eisenstein, Corresponding Secretary Joy Kingsolver, Newsletter Editor Daniel Stuhlman.

Robbin Katzin suggested that a new list of members be published. Shoshanah Seidman and Joy Kingsolver will work together on this.

There was some discussion on creating a website.

Meetings for this year

The meetings for the rest of the year were planned as follows:

Fall: Sunday, October 18, 2:00 p.m., Temple Sholom of Chicago

Topic: Carole Groover suggested book contests - Jewish Book Month

Winter: Tuesday, January 19, 7:30 p.m., Hillel Torah North Suburban Day School, Skokie (subject to availability)

Topic: Judy Gressel suggested Internet searching/Judaic sources. Cheryl Banks recommended Rabbi Leonard Matanky lead the program.

Spring: No date set yet. Possibly at Akiba Schechter Day School in Hyde Park.

Topic: Donna Stewart suggested software

Cheryl Banks mentioned the next annual AJL Convention in Boca Raton, Florida, and encouraged everyone to attend.


Daniel Stuhlman asked members to make recommendations for what they would like to see in the newsletter.

Submitted by Eva Eisenstein, Recording secretary, e-mail: eeisen@interaccess.com

Minutes of the February Meeting

The meeting was called to order at 2:05 p.m. by President Margaret Burka. 12 people attended.

Margaret thanked Shirley Lieb for her hospitality. The minutes were read and accepted as written.

The position of corresponding secretary is vacant because Jean Alexander accepted a position at Carnegie Mellon University. JLN needs a person to take over the position. No one volunteered.

1998 Convention

Margaret mentioned that the annual convention of the Association of Jewish Libraries would be held in Philadelphia and she encouraged everyone to attend. Nancy Sack added that there is a new format for the AJL Newsletter and asked for help with articles.

Treasurer's Report

The treasurer, was having trouble transferring signatures from the previous treasurer. The bank account has about $300.

Shirley Lieb told about the new building for West Suburban Temple Har Zion. The library, now refurbished, also acts as a classroom and meeting room. The library has a staff of three. They are cataloging Yiddish and Hebrew books. The modernization project took over a year and included moving the library's collection from the previous basement location.


Cheryl Banks presented a program called, "What's New in Children's Books," reviewing books for children of all ages.

Submitted by, Cheryl Banks.

People and Places

Andrew Wertheimer (formerly of Spertus Institute's Asher Library) is starting his second year of doctoral work at the University of Wisconsin -Madison. He is also Librarian of the Woodman Astronomical Library. He is considering moving to Lincoln, NE, where his wife is a professor at the University of Nebraska. There is a possibility that he might secure part-time employment from the University of Nebraska Library as the co- ordinator for their digital library initiative and Judaica acquisitions. He sends his best wishes to his Windy City friends and colleagues.

You may reach Andrew via e-mail at: abwerthe@students.wisc.edu

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by Daniel D. Stuhlman
Part 1

Cataloging is the task that organizes and records all library materials. It is a skill that requires subject knowledge and knowledge of the rules and practices of cataloging. This is the beginning of a feature discussing the theory and practice of cataloging along with personal opinions. At a time when some librarians are graduating without even taking a library cataloging course and many libraries want to out source cataloging tasks, the knowledge of cataloging is a skill that many libraries need more skill.

Much of the theory in this column is based on the booklet, Classification : an introductory manual, by Margaret M. Herdman; revised by Jeanne Orborn. Third ed. Chicago : American Library Association, 1978.

My first catalog

I started cataloging books when I was 12 years old. My cousin, who was in the insurance business, asked if I had an inventory of my book collection of some 400 books. My only library experience was as a reader. I did not know any of the rules of cataloging. I had a collection of books, some blank 4 x 6 cards, and a box for the completed cards. I got help from my sibling to write out the cards by hand because we didn't have a typewriter. The first records consisted of author, title, publisher and date of publication. Since inventory control was the main reason for the catalog we did not add classification or subject headings. The catalog had one card per book.

Later after purchasing a typewriter we typed cards. As I re-typed the cards, I improved the cataloging. After over 35 years I still have a few of these handwritten cards.

Second Generation Cataloging

In my college days I learned about the Library of Congress Classification system, added entries and the use of subject headings. I switched to 3" x 5 " catalog cards.

About 10 years ago I gave up typing cards. All the information was typed in a computer word processor file. Three years ago I started using a library management system and started inputting full cataloging data into the computer data base.

My personal catalog progressed from an inventory record to a full library catalog following AACR (Anglo American Cataloging Rules), Library of Congress Subject Headings and Library of Congress Classification.

Definition of Cataloging

Cataloging is the systematic, consistent, process to organize library materials and make a library out of a disorganized collection of materials. The catalog is the medium used by the librarian to communicate with the library users. Cataloging adds value to the collection, by enabling readers to find out if the library owns specific items, if the library owns materials on a subject, and where in the library the materials are stored.

Cataloging is divided into three parts:

1) Description--records the bibliographic information from the title page or other source of information. Rules guide the decisions on how to record this information and how to establish author and added entries This gives the unique identification information needed for inventory control. Part of the description includes a physical description that includes the number of pages and size.

2) Classification--arranges the materials on the shelf. This is an address for users to find the books. Classification by subjects allows browsing by subjects since like subjects are kept together.

7) Subject analysis---use of consistent, systematic headings reflecting the subject or content of the items. Subject headings help readers decide if the book is appropriate to their research and adds additional access points. Subject access allows readers to find books when the author and title are not known.

Keeping track of names and subject headings is a daunting task. Authors can have similar names. The same authors can use different forms of their names. The cataloger has to reconcile these difficulties. Subject headings change over time because language, political situations, new ideas develop. For example : At one time Jewish Question was a valid heading. Now this heading is considered offensive and politically incorrect. Today we use headings such as: Jews [add geographical location]--Political and Social Conditions. Before the computer era words could be abbreviated in subject headings. Now the terms are spelled out for accurate computer filing.

Why classify?

Classification, by its nature, cannot cover all aspects of a complex book collection. There are cases where the class number is not ideal but is necessary for the sake of consistency within the collection. These cases can usually be explained.

Sometimes the logic behind the system of call numbers can be easily explained; sometimes the explanation is buried in the history of how the system developed. Classifications based on books will have to change when new topics have books written about them. Theoretical systems classification systems based on knowledge may have class numbers for books that don't exist.

If each item in the collection was assigned a unique accession number, cataloged with the rules of descriptive cataloging, and assigned subject headings, put on a shelf in the accession number order, every book could be found and retrieved at any time. If catalog entries are carefully constructed, library users may use keyword or Boolean to search the catalog and gather related items. The readers could use the subject headings to find all books on the same subject and use the author lists to find all the books by a chosen author. Boolean searches can create relationships of the reader's choice between authors, titles, subjects, literary forms, publishers or any other item that is recorded in the data base.

Not all materials in libraries are fully classified. Sometimes libraries arrange periodicals by title. Article file or vertical files may be arranged by broad subjects. Some non-book materials such as sound recordings and videos may be segregated. Many libraries do not assign class numbers to charts, cards, games, multimedia kits, realia, manuscripts, or rare books. For these materials topical arrangements would take more time that it would be worth.

Experience shows that to handle most print formats and some non-print materials in open stack libraries, a recognized standard classification scheme is the most satisfactory for library users and library staff. A directory or map featuring the outline of the system guides the user to the section or area containing what they are searching for. Library users seldom need more than a few books in a chosen subject at any given time. For example a reader may want a book on an upcoming holiday. These books are all kept in one area. For some purposes the library reader may want to get their bibliographic bearings on one topic or focus. The classification outline leads them to the correct locations.

Full classification schedules show the relationships between narrow and wide subject areas.

Psychologically people tend to "chunk" information to help them comprehend the word. By dividing input into "chunks" people are better able to remember and use information. This is one of the reasons classification systems divide numbers into groups and subgroups.

The size and focus of the collection has some effect on the degree of precision needed for a classification system. Obviously when a general collection owns only a few books on any given topic the numbers on the shelves will be more separate and distinct than in a library that has many books on the topic. When the number of books in any one section becomes too many to scan readily some way must be made be more precise. The Dewey Decimal Classification's (DCC) adaptability to broad and precise patterns of classification numbers is an attractive feature for small collections, however, this feature makes it very difficult for large collections and research collections to maintain adequate bibliographic control.

=== end of part 1.

The next column will talk about what is classification and shelf arrangement.

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Course in Jewish Bibliography

Are you interested in a course or short seminar in Jewish bibliography? Hebrew Theological College is considering applying for a grant to help train Judaica librarians. The course may offer a certificate or continuing education credit. Please let Daniel Stuhlman (847)-982-2500 know if you are possibly interested.

Jewish Studies at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

by Martha Friedman

Religion has had a hard time at most publicly financed universities in this country. Very early in our history it looks as if religion was taught in some way I can not presently define in the Agriculture College! There is an endowed fund still in existence to be used for agriculture or religion.

Program in Religion

It was not until the late 1960s that we had a degree program in religion. After many quarrels (with persons outside the university) a curriculum was established and won Board of Trustees approval in about 1968. At the same time we ceased giving credit for courses in religion taught by various religious foundations situated around the campus.

The Program in Religion is still not a depart-ment. It grants only an undergraduate degree. The Illinois Board of Higher Education turned down a request for a master's degree about eight years ago. Nevertheless, religion as an aspect of a number of different disciplines will yield degrees all up and down the line in a number of other departments. Joint appointments have proliferated as another way around this stumbling block.

Jewish Studies has always been part of this program, but it was about fifteen or so years ago that faculty from different departments over the campus formed a committee on Jewish History and Culture. The committee sponsored courses, promoted the interests of the subject, and served as a fund-raising arm. At the same time a small fund was established and it was administered through the office of the Director of Collections until recently. Several endowments were established during this period by local individuals and all of this money was available to different subject specialists and faculty outside the library for the purchase of book and journals of interest.

At the same time some of us actively sought gift collections and brought them into the building, despite the fact that we had no, or little, means

to catalog them. Following these rather lax procedures I, for example, was able to get for us the Yiddish collection of the Chicago Public Library at the time that they were giving up all sorts of specialized collections because of their space problem. The collection is a gold mine and we are just now inventorying it and preparing to catalog items we do not hold. Although we haven't made specific arrangements, our plan is to trade the duplicates to the Yiddish Book Center for items we do not hold; we hope to complete the collection in that and other ways.

Drobny Family Endowment

Year before last the Drobny family of Chicago presented us with a very handsome endowment for an extensive Jewish Studies program. This endowment supports four chairs and provides money for library acquisitions. The first two chairs (in Yiddish literature and in anthropology) are now occupied and searches for the other two are underway. We do not yet know precisely how much money will be available for library purchases; it may well vary from time to time not simply because of investment opportunities, but because income intended for an unfilled chair may be used -- nothing is certain about that as yet.

Library Resources in Jewish Studies

One thing that is certain is that in a few years we will have a very large Jewish Studies program! Our response in the Library has been to form a small committee to coordinate and manage the library resources. As the History and Philosophy Librarian, I am the chair of this group and in charge of administering the various funds. The other members are the head of the Modern Languages Library, the head of Rare Books and Special Collections and a consultant who has been reorganizing our technical departments and has an enthusiastic interest in these programs.

To date, we have done a great deal of planning and will be ready to move ahead with the Yiddish cataloging within a month or so. Meanwhile the uncataloged books are arranged so that they can be used by faculty and students of the program. We have a Hebrew collection of unknown size, much of it uncataloged and boxed; we have purchased and received these items as gifts. These things will next be inventoried, sorted and prepared for cataloging. We appear to have sufficient numbers of Hebrew scholars (mostly amateur!) in the community to get this work done.

In the future we must plan for a full-time bibliographer/cataloger to handle the language issues; very little work has yet been done on this issue. For example, we haven't done more than discuss where this work might be located or precisely what we will need.

I am very grateful for the opportunity to become acquainted with all of you and thank you for the chance to tell you about our activities. We have already received a number of welcome gifts from Hebrew Theological College Library. We are particularly thin in periodical literature and have a great deal of work to do to become conversant with that field.

Please feel free to write to me: I need you!

Martha Friedman, History and Philosophy Librarian
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
1408 West Gregory Drive
Urbana, IL 61801

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Last revised September 5, 2002