Cataloguing practices from creation to use: A study of Cape Town Metropolitan Public Libraries in Western Cape Province, South Africa
Monyela, Madireng Jane.
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Cataloguing is the process of creating metadata representing information sources such as books, sound recordings, digital video disks (DVDs), journals and other materials found in a library or group of libraries. This process requires the use of standardised cataloguing tools to achieve the bibliographic description, authority control, subject analysis and assignment of classification notation to generate a library catalogue. The well-generated library catalogue serves as an index of a collection of information sources found in libraries that enables the library users to discover which information sources are available and where they are in the library. Such a catalogue should provide information such as the creators’ names, titles, subject terms, standard number, publication area, physical description and notes that describe those information sources to facilitate easy information retrieval. This study sought to investigate cataloguing practices from creation to use in Cape Town Metropolitan public libraries in South Africa with the aim of deepening the understanding of the importance of cataloguing standards in creating bibliographic data for the libraries. The study also sought to address the following research questions: “What skills do the cataloguers of Cape Town Metropolitan libraries possess?”, “To what extent do cataloguers in Cape Town Metropolitan public libraries adhere to international standards when creating records in the online catalogue?”, “How are the cataloguing records created on the system by cataloguers in the Cape Town Metropolitan used within and across the public libraries?”, “How are the new Resource Description and Access (RDA) standards applied in public libraries in the Cape Town Metropolitan to ensure they accommodate entities and attributes as described by the international cataloguing standards?”, “What records quality control measures are used in computerised cataloguing by public libraries in the Cape Town Metropolitan?”, “How effective is the computerised cataloguing system of Cape Town Metropolitan public libraries?”, “What are the challenges experienced by public libraries in the Cape Town Metropolitan in computerised cataloguing?” The study was underpinned by a combination of the IFLA’s Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records (FRBR), Functional Requirements for Authority Data (FRAD) and Functional Requirements for Subject Authority Data (FRSAD). The study adopted a pragmatic paradigm associated with the mixed methods (MMR) approach where the ii qualitative aspects were dominant. The study adopted a case study design and data were collected using focus group discussions, face-to-face interviews, questionnaires, and document review methods. The population of the study comprised cataloguers, senior librarians, librarians and library assistants of 10 libraries in the City of Cape Town Metropolitan. Reliability and validity of the instruments were ascertained through a pilot study. The data collected were presented and analysed both qualitatively and quantitatively. The qualitative data were analysed thematically, presented in narrative description, while the quantitative data were coded and analysed using Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS), and presented in tables, graphs and charts, where applicable. The findings of the study revealed that although the cataloguers were experienced in their work, some catalogue records did not fully adhere to the cataloguing rules. Furthermore, there were no continuous development programmes in place to update the cataloguers’ knowledge and cope with dynamic changes in the cataloguing fields. In addition, the findings revealed that some catalogue records did not have adequate information descriptions to facilitate effective retrieval of information. The study also found that a peer review mechanism was used to facilitate quality control; the system used for cataloguing did not have all MARC tags and cataloguers experienced some challenges with the use of the cataloguing standards and assigning subject headings for non-roman sources. From the findings of the study, it was concluded that cataloguers did not adhere to international cataloguing standards when creating the catalogue records. A number of recommendations were therefore proffered among them that Cape Town Metropolitan Libraries (CCTML) should consider to improve their catalogue quality control measures. Moreover, cataloguers need adequate skills to enable them to implement and sustain the computerised system for cataloguing and retrieval. The CCTML need policies that provide the guidelines in the application of cataloguing rules and standards. The cataloguing department should consider planning for a re-cataloguing project to modify the records that did not have enough descriptions on the system Online Public Access Catalogue (OPAC) to improve retrieval.