Any study of the research being carried out within a particular field must take account of two basic considerations -- are we asking the right questions, and are we investigating them in the best way? As a research discipline, library and information science is relatively new, and a variety of writers have pointed to the weakness of our research, its basically descriptive nature, and its lack of scientific method.1-3.
My overall impression of the 251 books and articles about collection management published this year is that little new was said, but this judgment is not intended to be negative. The quality of writing and thinking is high; the interest and sincerity of the writers is evident; the importance of what has been said is undeniable. There are, however, definite emphases and concerns setting this year's publications apart from those of previous years.
This overview is based on personal examination of 102 items in the American professional journal literature. Most appeared in 1986, although some 1985 items actually distributed in 1986 are included. Many items bridge several topics, but each is discussed in terms of a single topical group for reasons of space.
The term cataloging (as in Cataloging and Classification) may once have been a synonym for descriptive cataloging, but its current usage is much broader, encompassing the group of activities that falls between acquiring an item and making it ready for patron use and including construction of library catalogs, as well as maintenance of those catalogs and their individual records long after the pieces have left the catalogers' hands. This definition of cataloging was used in preparing this review, except that serials cataloging is largely excluded, since it is treated in a separate review article.
Subject access literature is increasingly complex, spilling over traditional boundaries and defying easy suhcategorization. As such, it presents a case study of the very issue with which it is concerned, how to classify, categorize, or otherwise provide an understandable approach to the content of subject access literature.
A great deal of activity in processing of audiovisual materials was recorded during 1986. Much of it focused on computer files, for which cataloging rules were being developed. Subject access to all types of audiovisual material also received some long-overdue attention from a number of sources. Preservation, a sadly neglected area for these materials, was the concern of several articles.
This bibliography examines significant publications in the field of library materials preservation. By noting important events and tracing developing trends, it provides an overview of the field during the year. The field of library materials preservation has excited considerable interest both within and outside the library world. This interest is reflected in an increasing rate of publication on preservation-related topics.