Enriching Traditional Cataloging for Improved Access to Information:Library of Congress Tables of Contents Projects
Traditionally, standard catalog records have provided bibliographic data that mostly address the basic features of library resources. At the same time, catalogs have offered access to these records through a limited array of names, titles, series, subject headings, class numbers, and a relatively small number of keywords contained within descriptions. Today’s catalog users expect access to information well beyond what can be offered by traditional approaches to bibliographic description and access. By pursuing a suite of projects, the Library of Congress (LC) has responded to the challenge of enticing patrons to continue to include the online catalog among the tools they use for information retrieval. Drawing extensively on the power of automation, staff of LC’s Bibliographic Enrichment Advisory Team (BEAT) have created and implemented a variety of initiatives to link researchers, catalogs, and Web resources; increase the content of the catalog record; and link the catalog to electronic resources. BEAT’s ongoing work demonstrates how, in the electronic era, it is possible to provide new and improved ways to capitalize on traditional services in the digital age. This paper will illustrate these points by focusing on BEAT’s tables of contents projects to demonstrate how library automation can make significant bibliographic enhancement efforts quick, easy, and affordable to achieve.