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Wed, Dec. 11th, 2013, 02:08 pm
ginger_doe: Cataloging Question

So I have this book that has a call number that when we look it up at other libraries it doesn't match. Not only does it not match but every library we check it has a different call number for this book. Cataloging was never my strong suit so please let me know what you think. Thanks a bunch! photo 1
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Thu, Dec. 12th, 2013 04:15 am (UTC)

Odds are those libraries have their own in-house rules for how that book (or that kind of book) is cataloged--they might prefer to put it under one subject because they know the library has a focus in that subject more than another equally valid subject. Different catalogers can interpret the main subject of the item differently (this one could go under education, or labor relations, or something else; without having it in hand it's hard to say), which would drastically change the call number. Sometimes the call number that's listed inside the book has completely wrong cutter numbers. Sometimes items that are part of a series get cataloged differently. There's a lot of reasons why you'd have different call numbers. The library I work at has a rule that any call number we personally change from what we've found (usually something with the wrong cutter numbers, or too many cutter numbers to fit our labels) has to have an "x" put at the end.

It would be helpful to know what other call numbers you came across. I can check OCLC for you tomorrow and see what I find.

Thu, Dec. 12th, 2013 03:18 pm (UTC)

Okay, so I looked it up in OCLC and got 5 different call numbers. 2 started with LC 5057, but that's a poor choice because that should be for periodicals of education societies, and in both of those cases, the rest of the call number doesn't actually fit the rules for that area. A much better choice is one of the 3 that start with HD. HD is Industries/Land Use/Labor, and from the title alone, I'd argue it makes more sense. The 3 call numbers I found that start with HD are
HD 5706.F89
HD 6950.5.A7 E38
HD 7049.E24

I'm inclined to go with the middle one, just because it looks right, but it's best to check--instincts aren't always right. HD5706 isn't the best choice because it is General works about Labor/Work/Working class and this seems more specific than that. HD6950.5 is Industrial sociology/Social conditions of labor. I feel like this is a better fit than the first one, especially with the "Selected Problems of Social development" bit at the top. HD7049 looks like it is General Works by region/country, with the region chosen being Germany? I don't have enough info to know if that's the correct region.

If this were me, I'd choose HD6950.5.A7 E38. It seems the most specific to what the item is about, and honestly, just looking at it, it looks right. I'm not sure how to explain that, other than years of copy cataloging makes it easier to tell. The cutter is correct (unlike all the others) because in this instance, it should be based off the title (since no author is given), which starts with "Education". E for Education, 3 for the d, and 8 for the u. If you want, I email send you the chart I use to keep the cutter tables straight.

The call number you have on the book pictured befuddles me, because that W makes no sense--the cutter portion of the call number should come from the author's last name if there is an author, and in the cases where there isn't or the book simply lists editors, it should come from the title. It shouldn't be based off of "Workshop" which I think it is.

Cataloging is a little crazy, and I've been doing it for years and I still don't know all the rules. I hope this is helpful!

Edited at 2013-12-12 03:24 pm (UTC)
(Deleted comment)

Thu, Dec. 12th, 2013 05:27 pm (UTC)

Yeah, good point--I didn't have Class Web to look at when I did this, and I was using an old printed version of the LC tables (which desperately needs to be recycled and replaced). I should've mentioned the whole obsolete issue, too. I almost never deal with older books, so it didn't cross my mind.

Thu, Dec. 12th, 2013 07:59 pm (UTC)

Thank you so much both of you. We will be changing it today. Sorry about not getting back to you frenchroast. I just got back into work now.