Descriptive Cataloging Division (Asst. Chief and Chief)
At Washington University, I worked directly under Steve Salmon, the Assistant Director. He liked my work. In 1966, Steve left to go to the Library of Congress where he held an important job in the Processing Services Department. In 1967 Steve let me know about the vacancy for the Assistant Chief of the Descriptive Cataloging Division. I applied and was hired.
The Descriptive Cataloging Division, with about 125 staff, was a wonderful place to start my LC career.
Sumner Spalding was my boss. When he was moved to a position for creating a new edition of Anglo-American Cataloging Rules (AACR), I was named Chief in 1968.
Directed the activities of the Division including 1) searching, 2) preliminary cataloging, 3) catalog entry establishment for persons and corporate bodies, 4) descriptive cataloging of materials in all languages. The materials cataloged include monographs, serials, microcopies, motion pictures, filmstrips, music scores, phonorecords, maps, and 5) publication of the National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections (NUCMC).
On my first morning, an English language cataloger brought in my publication Malay Manuscripts, which she was cataloging at that time. I’m sure that she was pleased to have tracked it down in the sizeable backlog of books awaiting cataloging. It was probably there because Jean Metz, LC’s Selection Officer, rightfully deemed it to be not of great need.
My boss, Sumner Spalding, took me to lunch on my first day. He insisted that I have a “drink”. Accustomed to drink mainly wine – at that not at noon, I spent the longest afternoon of my life. Sumner gave me two notebooks of LC regulations. They were deadly reading. Rather than sleeping at my desk on my first day, I walked around my desk many times. I soon became an expert on both volumes – even if they disagreed with my wishes. Some seemed to “shackle” me and I am not one for enjoying being “shackled”. C’est la vie!
Remembering that the staff at the University of Malaya Library told me about a Malaysian who worked at LC, I inquired and found out that she worked for me! Her name was Dorothy Ho, a music cataloger. On full scholarships, she had earned two Master’s Degrees from the Catholic University of America. One was in English (1950) and the other was in Library Science (about 1952). Soon she was promoted to head the French Section in another Division – making it possible for us to date. In December we were married.
Input of cataloging into machine-readable form
Henriette Davidson Avram (October 7, 1919 – April 22, 2006) was a computer programmer and systems analyst who developed the MARC format (Machine Readable Cataloging), the international data standard for bibliographic and holdings information in libraries. Avram’s development of the MARC format in the late 1960s and early 1970s at the Library of Congress had a revolutionizing effect on the practice of librarianship, making possible the automation of many library functions and the sharing of bibliographic information electronically between libraries using pre-existing cataloging standards.
At this time, the Descriptive Cataloging Division, began the input of cataloging input into machine-readable form, using the MARC formats which had been developed under the supervision of Henriette Avram. Beginning with English, we expanded rapidly to languages using the Roman alphabet. Non-Roman alphabet languages, e.g., Russian, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, etc., came later – waiting for the ability to handle these scripts.
All of the Descriptive, Shared and Subject Cataloging Divisions had need for people with foreign language skills. This resulted in the hiring of many who somehow survived the tragedies of the second world war. Of the 125 in Descriptive, perhaps 75 were there because of their knowledge of foreign languages. Of the 75, we had a Count and a Prince.
From friend Treva Turner
… HUGO CHRISTIANSON … HIS FAMILY MADE ITS WAY TO SOME NORTHERN COAST OF EUROPE DURING WWII, BUILT A BOAT AND MADE THEIR WAY ACROSS THE ATLANTIC TO NORTHERN CANADA. JUST ONE OF MANY REMARKABLE STORIES OF THOSE EUROPEAN IMMIGRAES WHO HELPED MAKE THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS A WORLD CLASS LIBRARY THROUGH USE OF THEIR SKILLS AND SUGGESTIONS ON HOW TO IMPROVE AND BROADEN THE LIBRARY’S COLLECTIONS. I AM SO EFFUSIVELY GRATEFUL TO HAVE HAD A CAREER THERE AND TO HAVE KNOWN SUCH WONDERFUL PEOPLE. AM STILL SO PUZZLED AS TO HOW I STUMBLED INTO IT.
I DON’T RECALL TOO MUCH ABOUT THE DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGERS BUT THE FACT THAT I MENTIONED THE WAR IMMIGRAES IN THE PREVIOUS PARAGRAPH MAY BRING SOME OTHER STORIES TO YOUR MIND. IN SUBJECT CATALOGING WHICH I KNEW A LITTLE MORE ABOUT, SINCE I WORKED THERE FOR EIGHT YEARS IN THE CHILDREN’S LITERATURE CATALOGING SECTION, THERE WAS IRENE TAMASHINCHO SAID TO BE A RUSSIAN PRINCESS TRAINED IN MEDICINE AND FRANCIS WAGNER THE YUGOSLAVIAN AMBASSADOR TO HUNGARY WHO SPENT A GOOD PART OF THE WAR IN A BUNKER UNDER BUDAPEST. HE GAVE ME SAGE ADVICE NEVER TO SIT WITH MY BACK PRESSED AGAINST THE BUNKER WALL DURING A BOMB ATTACK. YOU WILL GET A CONCUSSION…
Sued from discrimination
One day, LC’s union representative, came to my office to say that I was being sued for discrimination for a person for sex, race, and religion – and, against Chinese! I felt violated – me of all people! Rightly or wrongly, I decided that I should win the case on its merits and not on the fact that my late wife was Chinese (she had died in 1980). The plaintiff was a Chinese cataloger in the Far East Section and had recently been hired with good recommendations from the University of Maryland Library. The head of the section, Mr. Wang, let me know that he would never be a good cataloger. We decided that we should document his deficiencies and would make a final decision before his 90-day probational period was up. Mr. Wang recommended his separation within the 90-day period. The cataloger immediately filed a discrimination suit against me based on “discrimination against Chinese”. This brought in the Union.
About a week later the union representative asked for an appointment at which apologized and said that it had come to his attention that my late wife was Chinese. The suit was dropped and the Chinese cataloger was separated.
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
A Cataloging in Publication record (CIP data) is a bibliographic record prepared by the Library of Congress for a book that has not yet been published. When the book is published, the publisher generally includes the CIP data on the copyright page to facilitate book processing for libraries and book dealers.
It started this way: Carol Neymeyer of the American Association of Publishers (later an employee at the Library of Congress, approached my boss Bill Welsh (then the Assistant Librarian for Processing Services) with a novel idea, one which would help publishers and librarians. I was the Chief of the Descriptive Cataloging Division and Glen Zimmerman was my Assistant Chief. Bill made the decision to implement was later to be called “Cataloging in Publication”. To do so would be a major challenge to our Division, Glen, a perfect assistant, took on the major job of working out all of the details. He handled it beautifully – working out all of the many complicated problems – one of which was to convince the English language and subject catalogers to change their ways. Not easy. We, mostly Glen, got it started and it became a program loved by librarians and publisher.
Glen reminds me of an article by our boss, Bill Welsh, published in Library Resources and Technical Services, 15, 1 23-27, W’71 stating “The Library of Congress is prepared to renew cataloging-in-source and they are determined to make it succeed, profiting from the experience gained in the 1958-59 experiment.”
Heines, Jerry, author.
Muay Thai fighting strategies / by Jerry Heines, PhD, with Kru Amorndet Ranjanthuek, aka ahn ‘the angel’, fairtex (chief instructor fairtex, Mountain View, Ca)
Includes bibliographical references.
1. Muay Thai. I. Title.
Melvil Dewey Medal
Based on my work in the Descriptive Cataloging Division, in 1985 I was awarded the Melvil Dewey Medal at a special ceremony at a meeting of the American Library Association in Chicago.
The annual award consisted of a bronzed medal and a 24k gold-framed citation of achievement for recent creative leadership of high order, particularly in those fields in which Melvil Dewey was actively interested: library management, library training, cataloging and classification, and the tools and techniques of librarianship.
In October of 1970, I received an outstanding rating from my boss, Sumner Spalding. The following “bullets” are excerpted from that rating:
- extraordinary resourcefulness and energy in tackling the host of operational and procedural problems that are bound to beset a large division with a complex internal structure and a complex structure of inter-divisional relationships.
- A proposal for a new distribution of responsibilities of various elements of cataloging among preliminary catalogers, catalogers, and reviewers.
- A proposal for obtaining more American publications in unbound signatures to speed up production of cataloging copy.
- A proposal to use the romanization of titles not in the roman alphabet at the beginning of the transcription.
- A proposal for the reorganization of the Process Information File by title.
- Proposals for improved methods of printing Japanese catalog cards.
- Initiation of a new manual for descriptive cataloging.
- Investigation of procedures for responding to internal reports of errors in the catalog.
- A proposal for the automatic assignment of priority to all titles in an in-demand monographic series.
- Maintains close contact not only with section heads but has found time to discuss with all divisional employees in small groups, apart from their supervisors, their problems and suggestions for improvements. He has set up close statistical records over input and output which aid greatly in projecting staff requirements.
- Howard has been able to do much of this during a year in which he was for a long time without a high-level assistant in the divisional administration.
In 1972, at request of William J. Welsh, Director of Processing, I moved to the Serial Record Division to clean up a “mess” there.