. Summer 1999
Contents of this issue
From the editor's desk
June is the time for library conferences. Loyola University's Lake Shore campus is the
site for the American Theological Library Association on June 9-12. This is the first year
that two of our members will be leading workshops on Judaica topics. Shoshana Seidman lead
a workshop on cataloging. I lead workshop on Judaica reference sources. ATLA will be
publishing proceedings of the convention.
For the Fall issue I hope those who attend AJL in Boca Raton or ALA in New Orleans will
send reports or impressions of their experiences.
I am still looking for articles from our members about the libraries that you work in.
This issue has the conclusion of my article on cataloging and an article by Glenn
Ferdman, library director at Spertus Institute, on strategic planning.
If you have news, information, ideas, or articles that you want to share please send
them to me : Daniel Stuhlman, editor at : DDStuhlman@earthlink.net.
Minutes of the January 19, 1999 Meeting
The meeting was called to order at 7:50 p.m. by President Margaret Burka. In attendance
were 10 members.
Margaret thanked Robbin Katzin of Hillel Torah for hosting the meeting.
The minutes from the Fall meeting were accepted as written.
Robbin gave the report as Judith Simon was unable to attend. There is a balance of
$663.80. It was decided that subsidies totaling $400 can be awarded to members attending
the annual meeting.
Robbin was unanimously appointed Tax Officer to take care of filing tax returns.
Shoshanah encouraged all to attend the annual meeting and announced that stipends of
between $200 and $300 are available from the Doris Orenstein fund for first-time
The business meeting was bisected by the education meeting (on Jewish web sites) hosted
by Reuven Goldberg, Technology Coordinator at Hillel Torah.
After examining Jewish web sites the business meeting continued. There was discussion
on the nomination of new officers and potential candidates for various positions.
The meeting was adjourned at 9:30 p.m.
Eva Eisenstein, Secretary
Librarian, Temple Sholom of Chicago
Cataloging part 3
by Daniel D. Stuhlman
Principals of material classification
1) Place a book where it will be most useful. In both Dewey and LCC there is an ability
to classify by form. Bibliographies of specific disciplines may be placed in the
bibliography section or in the subject section for that discipline. Sometimes Library of
Congress gives a choice for an item. The right choice for a particular library depends
what is most useful for the collection and its readers.
2) Classify by subject, then form, except for literature, where form is most important.
In literature sections works of imagination (i.e. novels and stories) are placed near
literary criticism and works about the author) Examples of forms are: biographies, dramas,
encyclopedias, indexes. The Generalia (i.e. encyclopedias and almanacs) class in
classification schemes is arranged by form. The alternative is to put encyclopedias with
the subject they cover. At one time all fiction was grouped by form. Now fiction is
grouped by national group and period. A work of literary criticism or biography about an
author is grouped near the books written by that author.
3) Consider the purpose of a book. Weigh what the author intended. Is the reader better
served if the book is classified by what the author says the book covers or what the book
really covers? Is the book on the topic or about the topic?
4) Place an item at the most specific call number that will contain it. If you have a
work on a single book of the Bible, place it with that book. If you have a multi-volume
work on all the books of the Bible place the set in a more general classification.
5) When an item appears on a subject that has no place in the classification scheme,
determine the number to which it is most closely related and make a place for it. Place a
book close to others on similar topics. For example: if there were no numbers for space
travel; place them in astronomy.
6) When an item deals with multiple subjects choose the classification number in this order:
7) When the topics covered in the book clash, make a decision based on the library
collection as to which will prevail. For example a book on Jews in 1943 France may be
placed with Holocaust books or books about Jews in France. The cataloger has to decide the
classification number based on what the emphasis is in the book and what the emphasis is
in the collection. A book on armed struggle in Latin American may be place in the history
of Latin America or in the guerilla warfare section under military tactics.
Sometimes Dewey and LCC classifiers go in different directions. A book on the history
of technology in the United States may be place in a technology section or in American
history. This force of this rule is to remind us to be as consistent as possible, without
falling into the trap of the foolish consistency of small minds.
8) Books pro and con on a given topic are placed within the same classification by the
subject they are discussing. Books discussing both sides of a doctrinal issue on the same
subject are placed together.
9) Avoid classifying books with class numbers that are themselves in the nature of
criticism. Don't make the classification itself a commentary. Don't invent a number for
"immoral literature" or "lies." However, a book written about lies
could be classed under "lies."
10. Always have a reason to place a particular book in a class. The presence of a call
number on another library's cataloging LC or any other authority, while important, is not
a reason to accept without question. While the error rate is very low, sometimes errors
are made. Classification schemes may have changed since the book was cataloged, or the
approach of the first library may not fit the collection. Even though administrators may
say the call number in an authoritative source should be accepted in the interest of
economy, catalogers are less trusting.
11. Record all decisions. Consistency is important in any processing department. One
can not depend on memory to handle similar books in the future. Expert, logical
documentation helps prevent errors and contradictions in the future.
12. Check the new call number in the shelf list. The shelf list is the list of books in
order they appear on the shelf. This checking will insure that the chosen number does not
duplicate a previously used number and act as a double check. While this is a good idea,
libraries do not always do this checking. If a shelver finds a book with the same number
as one on the shelf, the shelver will tell the catalog department to change one of the
Choosing a classification scheme
Cataloging is a very expensive activity, but without cataloging no one will be able to
find the books they need. Cataloging adds value to a collection. There is a big concern to
provide the highest quality cataloging at the lowest possible cost. Cataloging and
processing costs must not be a drain on the budget for other library services and
purchasing. The library can not blindly adopt rigid assembly line processing. Some
localization and concern for local needs add value to the collection for the readers.
Librarians must keep in mind the total objective is a balance between cost, precision, and
serving the readers. Cataloging is not the end in itself; reader service for current and
future library users is the goal
In small libraries readers are less dependent on the catalog because their readers just
browse the shelves. In large research libraries readers are very dependent on the catalog
and its ability guide the reader to the materials they want. The function of
classification in the larger libraries is to bring similar materials to-gether while
acting as an address to store and retrieve the items.
The process of applying these rules is made after a "technical" reading of
the book. Obviously the cataloger can not read the whole book before adding it to the
collection, but the title can not be the sole source of information about the subject of
the book. Both sides of the title page, the introduction, table of contents, indexes, and
skimming of the book can give important clues for correctly deciding on the subject and
classification of the book. Sometimes the title is very close to the subject of the book;
sometimes the title is far removed from the subject. A book titled, Physics, is most
likely a general physics books. A title such as, "The kettle and the rose,"
gives no clue as to the subject.
A classification system with wide-ranging support has the following advantages:
Cataloging is the most important record and finding tool for a library collection. The
catalog is the distinguishing feature that defines a library. Without a catalog we have a
bunch of books. Cataloging is costly, but the dollar cost is a bargain. Without precise and accurate
cataloging the readers will not find the materials easily.
Cataloging rules and their application change over time because knowledge is growing,
changing, and developing. While cataloging has rules, practices and a legacy, the
application of the rules is an art that requires the ability to balance the rules with
experience and the needs of the library.
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Strategic Planning for Small Libraries
by Glenn Ferdman
"Strategic planning? Who has time for that?! The library is understaffed; I'm
overworked, and overwhelmed!" Ring any bells? Been there, done that?! I'm going to
answer a question with another: "Can you afford NOT to do strategic planning?"
"Whhaat?!" you say. "I just told you, I don't have time to do that kind of
stuff. Besides, strategic planning is only for bigger libraries--you know, academic and
research libraries, not small libraries!"
Let's analyze these objections one at a time. Objection number one: I don't have time
to do strategic planning. Our response is, given your limited available time, can you
afford to waste time on programs and activities that don't meet the needs of your patrons?
"I already know what my patrons want!" you say. Even so, do you have a written
list of your patrons' favorite programs or activities? Have you prioritized that list, so
that when faced with limited funds and limited time, you immediately know where your money
is best spent? Should the funds be for new acquisitions (and which acquisitions),
or new equipment! See? We've been discussing strategic planning without even realizing it!
What about objection number two: strategic planning is only necessary for larger,
academic and research libraries? If the above paragraph has not already caused you to
shift your attitude a bit, let me ask: do you report to someone? Do you ever have to build
a case in support of your operational (day-to-day) or capital budget (one-time special
purchase)? Or, do you always have enough money for whatever you need? Strategic planning
helps define the nature and scope of the library's activities, determine priorities and
helps build a "business case" for expenses. It does not matter how formal or
informal the process is.
"Ok," you say, "you've convinced me that maybe I could benefit from
strategic planning. But, what is it and how do I go about it?" Now that we're on the
"same page," let's get a birds-eye view. Let's start by dividing the process
into two parts. The first part consists of what we'll call the background information.
This process has come to be known by the acronym "SWOT," which
stands for "strengths," "weaknesses,"
"opportunities" and "threats."
The purpose of defining your library's SWOTs is to help you understand
the institutional environment and factors affecting your ability to develop services and
collections on behalf of your patrons. Let's begin with strengths. Maybe your
library already has a strong collection of adult Jewish fiction. Identifying that will
help you later on in determining your priorities. What about your library's weak-nesses?
Is an underdeveloped budget one of them? If so, perhaps you'll want to make seek
external funding sources a goal (part two of the process). Similarly, with opportunities
and threats. Opportunities for your library could come from new lay or
professional leadership or the possibility of joining the local library consortium whose
resources you could draw from. External threats such as losing a funding source or space
changes for the library collection, open new areas requiring planning to be able to
continue serving your readers.
Now that we have gotten the "lay of the land," and have taken stock of our
strengths and weaknesses, we can move on to the next step in the process, the planning
phase. To begin with, we need to define who our library is and what we want to be. In
short, we need both a vision statement and a mission statement for our library.
A good vision statement should be future-directed and slightly
"out-of-reach" to give the library staff something to work towards. Here's a
sample vision statement for a community center library.
The Ida and Morris Altgelt Library strives to become a primary resource for all things
Judaica for the County area. Our library will take advantage of the latest available
technology to provide Judaica resources, regardless of format, to our users. Our staff
will be pro-active in their approach and will provide training and resource materials in
advance of need and upon request.
The mission statement defines the community served and describes the
way in which the library serves that community. For example:
The Ida and Morris Altgelt Library serves the center membership and their children by
collecting and cataloging Judaica books, tapes and other media in support of their
research, educational, spiritual and entertainment needs.
The next step in the planning process is to define the library's long term
goals. They help determine how to allocate library resources. Setting and
achieving measurable goals helps accomplish the library's mission.
Objectives are measurable specific targets that help you determine how
you are accomplishing your goals. They are specific and should be time oriented (daily,
weekly, yearly, etc).
Goal #1: Automate the library systems
Implementation establish the budget, time lines, work plans and
milestones for each objective.
Example implementations: attend a libraries conference, survey colleagues regarding
automation vendors, develop a list of automation needs and questions, apply for a grant.
Now that you've mapped the lay of the land and done your planning, it's time
to do the actual work itself. Use your strategic plan as a guide. Involve your staff and
other staff in your institution. Request feedback and solicit their ideas. Using the
implementation part of the plan, monitor and evaluate the progress. Adjust your
implementation scheme to meet the changing situations or circumstances. Lastly, good luck,
as you proceed with your strategic plan to provide the best service and collection of
materials for your users.
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Telnet sites for libraries with large Judaica collections
|Address||Name||Sign on name|
|Library.jtsa.edu||Jewish Theological Sem.||aleph|
|Locis.loc.gov||Library of Congress||[none]|
|Library.ohio-state.edu||Ohio State University||aleph|
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Last revised July 14, 1999