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Michele W. Missner
missnerm@athena.athenet.net     phone: (414) 832-4162-work
Appleton West High School                    730-0768-home
610 N. Badger Ave.                           832-6239-fax
Appleton, Wi. 54914

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Date: Sat, 3 Aug 1996 21:06:51 -0500 (CDT)
From: Michele Missner <missnerm@athenet.net>
Subject: paraprofessional catalogers
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I was the district cataloguer for 10 years.  During that time we went from
typing cards to cataloguing with grid sheets that were inputted into a
program to produce very truncated cards, to OCLC with DRA.  I think that
was more necessary to have a professional cataloguer before we had MARC
records available to us.  When we finally got on OCLC, it was fun about 6
months and then it got to be a real drag.  I did a lot of copycataloging
When i began, I only catalogued for elementary schools, and the secondary
schools did their own.  By the time I went to a school full time, all of
our schools--including several new ones were done by centralized
cataloging.  When the new cataloguer came, the secretaries began to do a
lot of copycataloging.  In order to get a year round cataloguer, the
position was taken out of the bargaining unit.  We got an excellent
cataloguer but her job was in limbo.  She was in a group where no one but
she had even a college degree, let alone a master's degree.  When she
left, and she was also a systems manager, one of the secretaries took the
job.  She has a BA from a fine liberal arts school.  Our former cataloguer
came back during the summer and one of the vacations, to take care of
original cataloging.

I find cataloging to be quite subjective.  No two people approach it in
exactly the same way.  I have tried to find books that I catalogued, and
cannot figure out which subject heading I used.  It must have seemed right
to me when I catalogued the item!!  My feeling is that the centralized
cataloging really frees up the media specialists in the schools and gives
them more time to spend with faculty and students.  Occasionally I find
things that seem really out of place and send them back for recataloguing.
For the most part, our cataloger does just fine.  If our former cataloguer
is willing to come and do the original stuff ( about 12 full days worth)
we are fine.  Should there come a time when she is no longer willing, I
would look to hiring a part-time cataloguer, or better yet, outsourcing to
the local public library, or the local university which is on the same
circulation and public access system that we are on.

And as for lc CIP entries, I have found quite a few mistakes.  For
example, Ellen Conford's _Alfred Graebel memorial high school handbook_
was catalogued by LC as a non-fiction handbook!!!!

If you can get a profession, that is great, but if your administration
sees this as a way to cut costs, you try to make do with what you can get,
unless it really unsatisfactory.  We have found cataloguers to be easier
to come by, than qualified media specialist!!  Michele

 Michele W. Missner
missnerm@athena.athenet.net     phone: (414) 832-4162-work
Appleton West High School                    730-0768-home
610 N. Badger Ave.                           832-6239-fax
Appleton, Wi. 54914

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