Library Journal has published several very interesting articles recently about the Library of Congress and bibliographic control. I swear, they’re fascinating. To me, anyway.
The most recent article, titled “Subject Headings or Keywords?: Google, Microsoft join LC Working Group on Bibliographic Control,” follows up on an LC-commissioned report that was critical of the “utility of longstanding professional practices.” Karen Calhoun, the author of the report, does not question that subject heading searches can produce superior results. The more important point is, as she says, that ”a large and growing group of students and scholars routinely bypass library catalogs in favor of other tools,” and, in order to turn the tide, ”change must be swift.”
Reading that sentence alone made me want to stand up and cheer…but the truly wonderful outcome of this study is the partnering of the Library of Congress with Microsoft and Google. I doubt it will generate immediate results, but these are the kind of bridges the library community needs to begin to build if it has any hope of retaining relevance and serving its patrons as they wish to be served.