“Toward a Worldwide Digital Library” by Edward A. Fox and Gary Marchionini was a flat out disaster of an article. The authors easily used the term ‘worldwide’ yet throughout the article I saw no mention of:
- Any South American nation
- Any Central American nation
- Any African nation
I’m amazed that they mentioned Korea (as Japan is often the only Asian nation mentioned) and amazed that out of the BRIC nations only Brazil was mentioned. I don’t know through what lens I should be viewing a 12-year-old article on anything digital unless I was doing research into how well an author did at forecasting the future of digitization.
I had a much different experience with “FRBR and the History of Cataloging” by William Denton. Though still largely European centric, Denton painted a colorful history of cataloging including important people, trends and challenges.
What I found most compelling about this article was the study of the ebb and flow of interest and effort in trying to achieve a functional, user-centric system for organizing printed materials. From a mess, to a system, to many systems, to a 54-nation effort, the importance of cataloging increased significantly over time.
Sir Anthony Panizzi, despite external challenges, forged ahead in development of his “Ninety-One Cataloguing Rules” (1841) which laid the groundwork for Charles Cutter’s development of the Cutter Expansive Classification system (1876) and his Rules for a Dictionary Catalog (1890). Then, in the early 20th century seemingly everyone got into the game of classification – Dewey, American Library Association, Library of Congress, and Seymour Lubetzky.
Now we have the Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records (1996 ). Does this mark the final say for cataloging? We’ll have to wait and see.