I have had an idea for an wiki for catalogers in Vermont for a while and this was the perfect opportunity to at least lay the groundwork. I’ve used PBWiki before, so I figured I’d try out Wikimedia. I haven’t yet figured it all out, especially how to make a new page or archive pages…it’s possible that all these layers of functionality aren’t free. Or maybe I just need to, I don’t know, actually read the documentation and learn to use it. Anyway, here’s a link to it: Vermont Cataloging Cooperative.

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Evidently I already had a LibraryThing account. Typical of me to sign up for something and forget all about it. So, I didn’t try something new, but actually bothered to play with LibraryThing properly.

I had never made adjustments to the catalog records. I have to say, it was kind of liberating to edit records without a manual. It felt more like playing, figuring it out as I went. At the same time, though, I kept thinking of better ways to arrange information, or more information sources, and kept going back to edit all the records so there was consistency. I then realized that was futile because there is no standard by which to enter information, so everyone is just doing their thing. I’m not criticizing LibraryThing for that…if I did I’d have to point the finger at OCLC, too, and look how many standards they have! I regularly find myself choosing between 5 records for the same book. Hmmmm.

I found myself adding information free-form at first, but with every subsequent edit it started to look more and more like ISBD. I capitalized all the words in the title, didn’t use abbreviations, and used some different punctuation, but I’m not fooling anybody with those cosmetic differences. It is hard to teach and old dog new tricks, even old dogs who want to learn new tricks! It’s not that I don’t think there’s something to ISBD, it’s that I’m finding that my politics and practice don’t necessarily match up. I want to try new things and think outside the box, but the box is so solid and so familiar that I just gravitate to it, almost mindlessly.

I love the social aspect. I remember when I started my LibraryThing account, I was only the second person to add The Joy of Cataloging by Sanford Berman. I was so excited I sent the other person a message and we had a lovely exchange about radical cataloging. This is the money as far as LibraryThing is concerned.

So here’s a link to my tiny library. I tried to use their tool for adding the library to my page, but I can’t seem to get it to show up? I saw a note that LiveJournal doesn’t support JavaScript, and maybe that’s the case here, too. Let me know if you find out.

Forgive the lack of attention to the Harry Potter books. The whole set is out on loan to a friend and I just can’t edit without the item in hand ;)