A cataloguer by any other name…
Posted by Céline
Thanks to Rachel Playforth for asking this question, we are very interested in responses here in the comments or on Twitter to @hvcats
Like many librarians I’m naturally curious, and like many librarians I spend a fair bit of time navel gazing — I mean, contemplating our identity, role and professional future. Library job titles in particular fascinate me. How many other professions are there where you can meet someone performing an almost identical role to yours whose job title is completely different, or conversely someone whose shares your job title but whose actual job bears no resemblance to yours?
This is perhaps particularly noticeable in the world of cataloguing/metadata/bibliographic services etc, so we thought it might be enlightening to get a picture of who is cataloguing and what they’re called while they do it.
There are very few official statistics available on this – the nearest benchmark I could find was an ALA survey from 2004 indicating that about 9% of US library support staff had a cataloguing-related job title (no data was provided on professional staff).
To get a more current (if very limited) snapshot, I reviewed the staff lists of 10 UK/Ireland academic libraries. Five of them had no named cataloguing staff and none had more than 3. For simplicity I restricted the search to job titles specifically mentioning cataloguing, so this isn’t to say that cataloguing isn’t happening under another name…
So now for some more unofficial, unscientific research on the state of the cataloguing art: post your job titles, past and present, in the comments please! In particular we’d be interested to hear if your job title used to mention cataloguing but now doesn’t (or indeed if your job itself used to include cataloguing and now doesn’t…)