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WHAT MAKES AN EFFECTIVE CATALOGING COURSE? : A STUDY OF THE FACTORS THAT PROMOTE LEARNING KAREN SNOW, ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, GRADUATE SCHOOL OF LIBRARY AND.

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Presentation on theme: "WHAT MAKES AN EFFECTIVE CATALOGING COURSE? : A STUDY OF THE FACTORS THAT PROMOTE LEARNING KAREN SNOW, ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, GRADUATE SCHOOL OF LIBRARY AND."— Presentation transcript:

1 WHAT MAKES AN EFFECTIVE CATALOGING COURSE? : A STUDY OF THE FACTORS THAT PROMOTE LEARNING KAREN SNOW, ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, GRADUATE SCHOOL OF LIBRARY AND INFORMATION SCIENCE, DOMINICAN UNIVERSITY GRETCHEN L. HOFFMAN, ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, SCHOOL OF LIBRARY AND INFORMATION STUDIES, TEXAS WOMAN‘S UNIVERSITY 2014 AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION ANNUAL CONFERENCE LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - JUNE 29, 2014

2 2 Melvil & Godfrey Dewey, 1888

3 3 Columbia College, School of Library Economy, 1888

4 LITERATURE REVIEW Time devoted to cataloging in library schools (Williamson, 1921 and 1923) – not if it should be included, but how much class time needed Need for more theory rather than focus on practice (Metcalf, Russell, & Osborn, 1943; Strout, 1956; Shera, 1956; Schenk, 1960) Course content, materials, & teaching methods used (Mann, 1937; Pettus, 1952; Chan, 1987; Intner, 1989, 2002) Types of cataloging courses offered and if required (Spillane, 1999; Joudrey, 2003, 2008) 4

5 RESEARCH PROBLEM There are no known studies that examine the elements of a beginning cataloging course (including class activities, professor/student interaction, and assignments) that contribute to student learning and how impactful these elements are on beginning cataloging students. 5

6 RESEARCH QUESTIONS Research question 1: What elements of a beginning cataloging course help students learn cataloging? Research question 2: Does the instructor's approach to teaching beginning cataloging (including course content, course design and delivery, assessment, etc.) affect student learning and attitudes toward cataloging? 6

7 METHODOLOGY Study Population Possesses a Master’s degree in library and/or information science or the equivalent (such as library service) Completed a beginning library cataloging course during their Master’s program of study (course must have included instruction on some traditional library cataloging standards, such as AACR2, MARC, RDA, LCSH, Dewey, Sears, etc…. Used Survey Monkey to collect responses in October 2013 (posted to AutoCat, RDA-L, PubLib, Facebook ALA Think Tank, LM_NET, LIBREF- L, LITA-L, JESSE, etc…) – 500 completed surveys received Used content analysis to code open-ended questions 7

8 DEMOGRAPHICS 8 Year Master's Degree Received Number of Respondents Percentage of Total Respondents % % % % % % %

9 DEMOGRAPHICS 9 Primary & Current Position Number of Respondents Percentage of Total Respondents Technical Services223 45% Public Services115 23% Administration42 8% Library and/or Information Science Education 21 4% Vendor/Publisher7 1% Not Currently Employed10 2% Retired6 1% Other 76 15%

10 RESEARCH QUESTION 1: WHAT ELEMENTS OF A BEGINNING CATALOGING COURSE HELP STUDENTS LEARN CATALOGING? Four primary elements: 1. Cataloging practice 2. The instructor 3. Theory 4. Real-world context 10

11 11 1. CATALOGING PRACTICE “I preferred it when we were actually putting theory into practice. Beginning cataloging introduces a lot of new words and concepts that I didn't really understand until I was using them. Once I could understand what I was trying to create, the theory became much clearer.” “More practical work! Cataloging is a skill learned through practice. Theory is important, and should be taught, but always with lots of practical applications to back it up.” “I wish we would have done more to practice cataloging, doing the real work of creating records. I look at a MARC record during my work now and do not know what all those codes represent, and I feel like I should.”

12 12 2. THE INSTRUCTOR “There are many traits that make a good instructor & my cataloging professor had all of them. He was relatable, a good communicator, funny, & knowledgeable about what he was teaching.” “The Instructor was very good at clarifying questions and confusing elements, and used her comments on homework assignments as another teaching opportunity.” “My instructor was not very clear when teaching subject headings. It was her way or the highway and if anyone assigned variations, she said it was wrong but was not able to explain why.”

13 13 3. THEORY “I liked the combination of theory and practice...Combining them reinforced what we were doing and why - having the theory helped us really understand why certain fields were useful, how adding different subject headings etc. would affect search results, how it would all help users for various purposes, and that made it easier to remember how to handle the technical aspects.” “Theory and practice must go hand in hand. At times the theory would leave us behind because we didn't have the experience to really understand its implications.” “I realize that it is hard to turn out catalogers with just one class, but there needs to be a balance of theory and practice. I think the hands- on, 'this is what goes into a real catalog record' is important, but so is the big picture 'this is how it all fits together' this is the effect of real world situations.”

14 14 4. REAL-WORLD CONTEXT “Working through real world examples and problems helped me learn cataloging. It was also helpful that the instructor allowed us to fail, and then helped us by showing us how to catalog correctly.” “I didn't like that there wasn't a lot of ‘real world’ discussion. Theory is good, rules are good, but you also need discussions about local practices and what's best for different situations. “ “I think it would be very useful for students to see the "real world" impact of cataloging and the ever growing importance of quality metadata production in the brave new RDA world. It can be too easy to get lost among the trees-- students need to be reminded of the beauty of the forest!"

15 RESEARCH QUESTION 2: DOES THE INSTRUCTOR'S APPROACH TO TEACHING BEGINNING CATALOGING (INCLUDING COURSE CONTENT, COURSE DESIGN AND DELIVERY, ASSESSMENT, ETC.) AFFECT STUDENT LEARNING AND ATTITUDES TOWARD CATALOGING? Tentative “yes,” but more research is needed. There is some evidence to support this, but no clear links are shown in this study. 80% of participants believe their cataloging instructor cared about their learning, but there is not a clear link between the two. 15

16 16 STUDENT LEARNING Results suggest the instructor is the second most important element in a cataloging course. Participants like: Enthusiasm, passion, cataloging knowledge, clear explanations, and lots of feedback. Some also said they liked that the instructor was a practitioner. This was stated more often among those who work in technical services. Non-technical services participants focused more on whether or not instructor was effective and clear. “The topic matter is so complex and prone to tedium that only the best communicators should be teaching it.”

17 17 ATTITUDES TOWARD CATALOGING Participants said their attitudes toward cataloging improved by the end of the semester (76% of participants overall said they liked or strongly liked cataloging by the end of the beginning cataloging course). Of the participants who claimed to dislike or strongly dislike cataloging at the beginning of their course, 63% said that their attitude towards cataloging had improved to neutral, liked, or strongly liked by the end of the semester. “My instructor, a well-known researcher, made it even more interesting than I thought it was when I started the class.” “The instructor was/is notoriously tough. Many students grew to hate cataloging because of her…”

18 DISCUSSION: MORE PRACTICE! AND MORE THEORY, TOO? Most study participants (both technical services & non-technical services) want more hands-on practice in a beginning cataloging course. This is the case even though participants claimed that beginning cataloging courses have been focusing more on practice for the last decade. 18

19 DISCUSSION: MORE PRACTICE! AND MORE THEORY, TOO? Results indicate there is still a desire to include a mix of theory and practice, but more emphasis on the practice. QUESTION: What is the “ideal” mix of theory and practice in a beginning cataloging course? QUESTION: What types of “theory” would be most beneficial, and how should theory be introduced? 19

20 DISCUSSION: NO DREAD, NO TERROR? Most students seem to LIKE cataloging at the end of the course. This change occurred regardless of when the course was taken or participants’ current job positions. QUESTION: How can the field change negative perceptions of cataloging courses? 20

21 DISCUSSION: WHAT DOES THE INSTRUCTOR HAVE TO DO WITH IT? The instructor is an important element in a cataloging course, but the instructor was not as important as predicted. Participants report a strong desire for more cataloging practice. Why? More cataloging practice cannot compensate for an ineffective instructor. Excellent cataloging practitioners aren’t always excellent instructors. “Caring” does not always equal “effective.” QUESTION: How do cataloging instructors affect student learning and student attitudes towards cataloging? QUESTION: Outside of content (practice, theory, real-world context, etc.), how can cataloging instructors improve the teaching and learning of cataloging? 21

22 CONCLUSION Cataloging is a complex subject with complex pedagogical issues. This study scratches the surface in understanding what makes a difference in the teaching and learning of cataloging. It asks more questions than it answers. More research is needed in many areas, such as theory/practice, changing negative perceptions, and the instructor’s effect on teaching and learning. 22

23 CONCLUSION More research on non-catalogers is also needed. Study participants had a more positive attitude towards cataloging than anticipated. Non-catalogers should be studied separately to see if the results are similar. Improving the teaching and learning of cataloging is important. Effective cataloging courses can help students understand the importance of cataloging, but they may also change attitudes toward cataloging. 23

24 REFERENCES Chan, L.M. (1987). Instructional materials used in teaching cataloging and classification. Cataloging & Classification Quarterly 7(4), pp Intner, S.S. (2002). Persistent issues in cataloging education: Considering the past and looking toward the future. Cataloging & Classification Quarterly 34(1/2), pp Joudrey, D.N. (2003). A new look at US graduate courses in bibliographic control. Cataloging & Classification Quarterly 34(1), pp Joudrey, D.N. (2008). Another look at graduate education for cataloging and the organization of information. Cataloging & Classification Quarterly 46(2), pp Mann, M. (1937). The teaching of cataloging and classification. Bulletin of the American Library Association 31(5), pp , 322. Metcalf, K.D., J.D. Russell, & A.D. Osborn. (1943). The program of instruction in library schools. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press. 24

25 REFERENCES Pettus, C. (1952, Oct. 15). Teaching cataloging. Library Journal 77(18), pp Schenk, R.K. (1960, Fall). “The dread and the terror” curriculum of Journal of Education for Library and Information Science 1(2), pp Shera, J.H. (1956, July). On the teaching of cataloging. Journal of cataloging and classification 12(3), pp Spillane, J.L (1999, Oct.). Comparison of required introductory cataloging courses, 1986 to Library Resource & Technical Services 43(4), pp Strout, R.F. (1956, July). Cataloging in the GLS curriculum. Journal of cataloging and classification 12(3), pp Williamson, C.C. (1971). The Williamson reports of 1921 and 1923 including Training for library work (1921) and Training for library service (1923). Metuchen, NJ. 25

26 THANK YOU!


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