October 12, 2015 by patriciawhite84
I have to say that my hat goes off to those who work, study and have families. I only have my partner and a small apartment to look after and a full time teaching load but I struggled to keep on top of studying as well as getting my head around the technical aspects of this subject. I have had experience block teaching as a TL, but my knowledge of describing and analysing educational resources was very limited. I would not consider my self an expert on any level when it comes to cataloguing, but I feel that at least I have an understanding of the principles and processes that are involved. This subject has also provided a greater appreciation to the importance of describing resources effectively.
From my studies I have gain an understanding that describing informational resources is an extremely complex undertaking and I fear that I may never fully comprehend it. However, I do realize the importance of the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA) development of conceptual models such as the Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records (FRBR) and the Functional Requirements for Authority Data (FRAD) to establish standards that ensure users are able to identify, find, select and obtain the informational resources they require. This is even more pertinent given the advancements in technology and how users seek out information. It is because of this current user need that conceptual models have been refined and the development of Resource Description and Access (RDA) standards created (Hider, 2012, p. 114).
Many other standards have been developed from these conceptual models, all with the objective to improve user access to information. The standardization of Metadata by using controlled and uncontrolled vocabularies has been one of the biggest learning curves in my understanding of information resource description. The assignments and exercises for ETL505 were helpful as I developed a greater appreciation and understanding of the importance of having such standardized practices just so that users can find resources easily. I particularly found that I gained valuable experience using practical tools such as SCIS and WebDewey as they helped me gain a better insight into the intricate work that many cataloguing orgainisations undertake just to help improve the sanity of information professionals!
The informational sphere has evolved rapidly and will continue to do so. This means that there will be even greater challenges as well as exciting opportunities for informational professionals including us (wannabe) teacher librarians. The development of semantic webs as well as the ability for users to ‘tag’ resources illustrates some challenges surrounding the quality of Metadata. However, even though Metadata is a critical element of cataloguing, enabling users to partake in the identification of resources through ‘tagging’ is an intriguing opportunity. Therefore, the development of a more interactive library catalogue that offers the ability to incorporate federated searches is necessary in order to meet the needs of today’s users. As a result, standards will need to be reviewed systematically in order to ensure the quality and integrity of Metadata.
The most critical take away from this subject is that describing and analyzing resources is complex and not at all easy! With that being said, information resource description is imperative to the success of any informational repository and therefore it is vital that all information professionals have an understanding of the practices and procedures that it entails. It is for this reason us as future teacher librarians, need to be up to date with technological advancements in information retrieval because the school library has been proven to have a significant impact on the academic achievements of its students. (Lonsdale, 2003, p. 35).
Hider, P. (2012). Information resource description: Creating and managing metadata. London: Facet Publishing.
Lonsdale, M. (2003). Impact of school libraries on student achievement: A review of the research. Victoria: Australian Council for Educational Research