Libraries at University of Nebraska-Lincoln


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The imminent arrival of Resource Description and Access (RDA), the proposed successor to Anglo-American Cataloging Rules (AACR), makes now an opportune time to clarify a profound misunderstanding regarding the objective of cataloging. The objective has been widely misunderstood to be about the production of bibliographic records, or about the production of bibliographic records and their supporting authority records, or about the production of perfect bibliographic and authority records. This essay offers a more accurate picture of the objective of cataloging, working from Cutter’s early statement of principles as a reference point in re-considering some misperceptions and actions being taken in the profession of cataloging and librarianship at large.