LRTS v 32, no. 1, January 1988

Resources & Technical Services News: CD-ROM Takes Center Stage

Verna Urbanski

CD-ROM is a rapidly expanding field for libraries. As products standardize and multi-simultaneous use becomes a reality, application of CD-ROM to a variety of library tasks becomes increasingly practical and affordable. The products discussed below were selected specifically for their relevance to resources and technical services work. They skim the entire range of products available for library use.

Mechanical Selection

Charles W. Brownson

Mechanical selection and expert selection are defined. The usefulness of mechanical selection is investigated in three test cases involving contemporary literature. The cost of mechanical selection is examined. An argument is put forward for more quantification in selection practice.

The Teaching of Cataloging in U.S. Library Schools

Roxanne Sellberg

U.S. library schools have recently been criticized for preparing librarians inadequately for cataloging and the management of cataloging operations. Historical review reveals that space for cataloging instruction in library school curricula has been decreasing since the 1930s. Mean-while, the challenges facing catalogers have increased. The gap between knowledge needed by new catalogers and knowledge gained in library school is too wide to be bridged by the traditional, one-year master's degree program. In order to ensure future generations of competent and creative catalogers, large research libraries and library schools must work in partnership to develop programs, facilitate important new research into catalog problems, and create a market in which catalogers are rewarded for their expertise and responsibility.

Northeast Document Conservation Center: A Leader in Preservation

Ann Russell, Karen Motylewski, and Gay Tracy

As today's librarians become increasingly aware of the scale of the book deterioration problem, they find themselves in an important and difficult role as preservation advocates. Statistics compiled from 118 members of the Association of Research Libraries show a higher level of preservation activities than ever before: 87 percent report some preservation activity; 37 percent have in-house preservation departments; 14 percent have de-voted five or more staff members to this concern.
The effort is like David's battle against Goliath. Books are painfully fragile. Paper yellows, deteriorates, and, if left untreated, can disintegrate to dust. Bindings tear, detach, and through their chemical contributions, speed the decay of paper they were designed to protect. Yale University, one of many research institutions that have begun to survey the problem, reports that 20 percent of its nine million volumes are so deteriorated that paper breaks from pages and falls to the floor each time a book is opened. Some 40 percent of the books in major research collections will soon be too brittle to handle. At a recent hearing before a congressional committee, a panel of distinguished witnesses-including Daniel J. Boorstin (former li¬brarian of Congress) and Vartat' Gregorian (head of the New York Public Library) warned that we are on the verge of losing our cultural heritage as words, images, and precious artifacts succumb to the acids consuming our books.
In an effort to grapple with the library preservation crisis, the New England Library Board established the New England Document Conservation Center (now the Northeast Document Conservation Center or NEDCC), the first regional conservation center for materials in libraries and other document-holding institutions. The center opened in 1973 under the direction of George M. Cunha, former conservator for the Boston Athenaeum. Several states provided start-up grants; additional funding came from the Council on Library Resources. Support was to be shared by non-profit organizations on a fee-for-service basis.