Lubetzky’s great ideas

Lubetzky is regarded as the greatest cataloguers of the twentieth century.  When he joined Library of Congress, he noticed there were a lot of backlog of cataloguing.  He determined to simplify the cataloguing rules.  His ‘back to basic’ approach was to base the rules back to the objectives and principles of cataloguing, so that cataloguers in future generation would know how to deal with new formats and new information ecosystem.

In his “Cataloging Rules and Principles, he said there were two objectives of cataloguing.  “The first objective of cataloguing is to enable the user of the catalog whether or not the library has the book he want….. The second objective is to reveal the the user of the user to the catalog, under one form of the author’s name, what works the library has by a given author and what editions or translations of a given work” [1]

There are two significant new thinkings in these two objectives:
1. A catalogue is not only for helping the users to find what they are looking for.  We have to provide the choices, alternatives to users.
2. The editions or translation of a given work marks the distinction between work and expression.
Both ground breaking thinkings laid the foundation of the concepts we are seeing in FRBR.

[1] Denton, William (2007) “FRBR and the History of Cataloging”.  Chapter 4 of “Understanding FRBR: What It Is and How It will Affect Our Retrieval Tools ” edited by Arlene G. Taylor.