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Sunday, May 22, 2022

A Cataloguing Fact I Want You to Know

 In West Virginia, many teachers are receiving library media certification by passing the Library Media Praxis examination without having to take a single class in library science.  These people are certainly filling the void, and I have no doubt these people are excellent library skills instructors.  As important as this is, teaching is only one of the roles of the school librarian.  In this post, I will address some cataloging tasks I think they may want to address.

First of all, welcome to our school librarian profession.  I am sure you have encountered many changes from your daily routine as a teacher.  I hope you have a mentor in your district who will help you with the more tricky aspects of our practice.  Today, I want to show you a cataloging tip I think may be helpful.

When cataloging any material, use lowercase letters.  This is an old practice leftover from the card catalog days, when capital letters were only used for subject headings and tracings. This practice was adopted because studies found lowercase was easier on the eyes than the constant up and down of using the title case you learned in English classes.  The only exception to this rule is that proper nouns are written in title case.

Some examples :

How to build a human : in seven evolutionary steps Details
  Turner, Pamela S.       LCCN: 2020-52041     ISBN: 978-1-62354-250-4  
Watertown, MA :  Charlesbridge,  2022.  ix, 166 p.

Notice that the author's name is capitalized, last name first.  In the title, only the first word is capitalized.


Guatemala, Central America's living past     
   Book  Call #: 972.81 Perl, Lila.
 Published 1982
 Reading Level: 7.8  Interest Level: 5-8

In this example, notice that Guatemala and Central America are capitalized because they are proper nouns. 

and finally:

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix     

In the example above you will see that all proper nouns are capitalized, even though they are fictitious.


In the next few posts I will be discussing the assignment of call numbers to materials.  Buckle up,  There is much to say about this.