Issues in Cataloging Rare Books
April 27, 2019 - All
Much research has gone into digitization and digital special collections development as a way of improving access to “hidden collections.” These efforts have spurred increases in access to, or at least general interest in, special collections. Most scholarship on digitization only briefly touches on the issue of cataloging backlogs as an impediment to access. However, I argue that rare book cataloging backlogs create an uneven level of access to both physical and digitized collections. Very little research has continued to be done specifically on the rare book cataloging backlog since around 2010. I hope to bring this conversation back to the forefront, especially in light of the ever increasing interest in digitization. I explain why the cataloging needs of rare books differ from general collections, how I am defining “backlog,” and ways to solve the problems those differences create, as well as what still needs to be addressed.