When thinking about training to become a teacher librarian, the description and organisation of the library resources seemed to be a menial and task oriented process. I gave it very little thought and deep down somewhere I sort of thought it wasn’t really the role of the teacher librarian (TL). When I first opened the pages to the Hider text, I inwardly groaned and exasperated threw the book across the room. The complexity and technicality of the text worried me as I had not envisaged describing and analysing resources to be quite so difficult.
Once I began to read the modules and the text, the description of “library science” suddenly made sense to me as I slowly uncovered the science within the approaches to describing and analysing the resources contained within the walls of a library. The only familiar concept initially was obviously the Dewey Decimal Classification 23 (DDC23). A fundamental organisational system experienced by most all of us during our formative years. I was obviously aware of its existence but had never thought to look deeper into how it came about or how it was used.
The concepts of MARC and RDA were completely foreign and despite crying my way through assignment one, the predictability and specificity of the RDA tasks complemented my learning style and preferred topics of mathematics and science. For something to have close to an “absolute answer” in a university assignment was something of a godsend. Of course I thought I had completed the assignment drastically wrong but was pleasantly surprised at my results.
The completion of this assignment, with the emphasis on subject headings and classification numbers was difficult to get my head around. The importance of subject headings was amplified as I completed the assignment and the ramifications of how they are used gobsmacking. Hider (2012) highlights the importance of the TL’s role in facilitating student access to information which involves the arranging, labelling and indexing of resources. The use of SCIS subject headings in cataloguing highlights the importance of assigning the correct headings to assist students in finding appropriate and relevant resources to their topic of study.
The second part of the assignment has assisted me to understand the DDC23 and although using WebDewey was definitely overwhelming at first, the repetitive nature of completing the assignment increased my understanding of the DDC23 and my familiarity with the tool. The adaptation of the DDC23 into SCIS seemed logical to the specific nature of school libraries and the associated literature now holds pride of place on my desk.
This subject has been complex, technical and difficult to say the least; however it has also been interesting, informative and highly relevant to the role of the TL. I can safely say I won’t be applying for a cataloguing job anytime soon, however I feel confident in my basic abilities to begin applying the knowledge I have gained within the TL role.
Hider, P. (2012). Information resource description: creating and managing metadata. London: Facet.