Testing the limits of my catalogue

I am concerned about the availability and accessibility of our catalogue.  Our catalogue is completely online and in 2012 we moved from the Horizon software to Workflows Symphony software for our circulation.  While there are certain advantages to our new software, the cataloguing is still primarily controlled and managed at the board level.  Maybe they’re worried about renegades, like me, who now have just enough information to be dangerous in trying to tinker with my own cataloguing.  Part of me resents how controlled it is. It takes a user one username/password combo and at least 3 mouse clicks before getting into the search toolbar.  I would love to improve this further.  We haven’t figured out how to get one computer to be a designated catalogue search computer.  I’d love to be able to have a touch screen search like in a Chapters store.

I have also been summoning the courage to add a few things to our collection that include a more elementary school library approach.  I’d like to start building collections of objects, pieces of art, artifacts, etc. that are concept based.  I see them being used to stimulate inquiry.  How can I itemize and catalogue these collections so that teachers and students can see them? Before the readings on cataloguing nonbook materials I felt that because of the limitations of our cataloguing system, that I may need to keep these collections out of our catalogue and instead keep a spreadsheet system where they’ll be accessible.   Intner, Fountain and Weihs (2011) say “Two policy issues are of concern in classifying nonbook materials:  what system to use for classification and whether to keep nonbook materials on separate shelves or integrate them with the library’s books” (p. 156).  Having read Chapter 10, Cataloguing Nonbook Materials, with relish, I am now convinced that I need to work on classifying these nonbook materials in my regular catalogue, and if I can make a display so that the available materials are more widely understood. My next questions involve how I’m going to classify photographed portraits of famous people, for example, and I anticipate the catalogue records to be quite detailed when I’m finished.  Additionally, I’ve recently removed the genres from the fiction section, but I’d like the catalogue to include a genre line, if the book is actually designated within a particular genre in the CIP record.  If my catalogue can accommodate my whims and desires, and be easily accessible to our students and staff, then it meets my needs.  Of course, with my lack of experience I’m questioning if the limits of my catalogue are actually the limits of my understanding.  I’m hoping that with a bit more exploration that I’ll be satisfied.

References

Intner, S. S., Fountain, J. F., & Weihs, J. (Eds.). (2011). Cataloguing correctly for kids: An introduction to the tools (5th ed.). Chicago, IL: American Library Association.

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