Should catalogue wade in open water?
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Copyright (c) 2022 Paul Weston
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In recent years, libraries, either on their own or in consortia, have carried out digitisation projects which resulted in establishing criteria to make digital items accessible through the catalogue. Pushing the boundaries of the latter, cataloguers have considered the possibility of providing access to the digital version of a work whenever available in the public domain. Librarians have now started to question whether the catalogue, moving past the idea of being just a citational tool, should open itself to the web as the place where users, thanks to quality data, can gain easy access to freely available digital bibliographic material. This should include digital publishing, as well as DH projects, all of which are based on editions published in printed format.
This scenario urges to find quick policy answers: a. how should features which could act as search keys or filters be adequately described; b. how should flexibility and changeability of digital objects be dealt with; c. how traditional cataloguing procedures should change as a consequence of the number and the peculiarities of these items; d. which criteria should be adopted in marking the new border lines of the library / catalogue mission.
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