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Chapter 1. Information Resource Management:Description, Access, Organization

Chapter Outline

  • Introduction 

  • Timelines in Information Access 

  • Library and Internet Access Provisions 

  • Bibliographic Control 

  • Bibliographic Control through Surrogates 

  • Surrogate Production 

  • Library Catalogs 

  • Cataloging Operations  



Key Takeaways

Chapter 1 is an introduction to bibliographic control, including description and access. This chapter focuses on processes and tools used in the library environment, typically known as library cataloging, a discussion of the library catalog as a retrieval system, and the functions of a catalog to support user tasks.   

Importance of standardization

Standards used for resource description and construction of access points enable consistency, which increases the interoperability and authority of bibliographic data. The value of standardization impacts bibliographic data sharing, access to the bibliographic data, and ultimately access to information these resources contain. 

Management & access

Main purposes for resource description: (1) management of the collection (physical or other, owned or licensed); (2) access to information; (3) preservation of information and cultural heritage. Starting with Cutter's "objects of the catalog" and leading to the IFLA LRM's description of user tasks, the function of bibliographic control and the functions of the library catalog has focused on supporting the user in their effort to meet their information-seeking needs.  

Representation & organization

Description - Access - Organization - Arrangement

There are two options for providing access to the information contained in information resources. One is to store the full content (e.g., full text) of the resource in the database or catalog and make it all searchable, and the other is to prepare surrogates or representations of the information resources. These representations are called metadata records, bibliographic records, catalog records. bibliographic description, and resource descriptions, among others. In addition, these records include a description of the content and access to it using aboutness statements and access via subject vocabulary terms and classification schemas. These knowledge organization systems facilitate the categorization, classification, and organization of the collection. Classification schemas are also used as the basis for the arrangement of the records and the resources. 

Timelines & innovation

The library and information science (LIS) field has seen many changes over the years and particularly changes in all aspects of information representation and retrieval.  Many of them are in relation to technological innovations and theoretical developments. Among these changes are numerous standards for bibliographic description, subject and non-subject vocabularies, classification and other knowledge organization systems, catalogs and discovery systems, and automated processes. 

Chapter References/Notes

  1. Major sources used in drafting the chapter timelines include the following:

    1. Bourne, C. P., & Hahn, T. B. (2003). A history of online information services, 1963-1976. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

    2. Hahn, T. B. (1998). Pioneers of the online age. In T. B. Hahn & M. Buckland (Eds.), Historical studies in information science (pp. 116–131). Medford, NJ: Information Today.

    3. Kanellos, M. (2006, September 11). The hard drive at 50: Half a century of hard drives, CNET Retrieved from 

    4. Meadow, C. (1988). Online database industry timeline. Database, 11(5), 23–31. Retrieved from

    5. Tedd, L. (1994). OPACs through the ages. Library Review, 43(4), 27–37. Retrieved from

    6. Richmond, P. (1981). Introduction to PRECIS for North American usage. Littleton, CO: Libraries Unlimited.

    7. Joint Steering Committee for Development of RDA. (n.d.). RDA: Resource Description and Access: Background. Retrieved from

    8. Hardy, Q. (2006, March/April). Can we know everything? California [UC Berkeley Alumni Magazine], 117(2). Retrieved from 

  2. Bush, V. (1945). As we may think. The Atlantic Monthly, 176(1), 101–108. Retrieved from 

  3. Chu, H. (2003). Information representation and retrieval in the digital age. Medford, NJ: Information Today. 

  4. McCallum, J. C. (2022, May 15). Disk drive prices. Retrieved from 

  5. Garber, S. (2007, October 10). Sputnik and the dawn of the space age. Retrieved from 

  6. Hauben, M., & Hauben, R. (1998). Behind the Net: The untold history of the ARPANET and computer science. First Monday, 8(3). Retrieved from 

  7. Laughead, G., Jr. (2008). Web-VL: History: Internet & W3 World-Wide Web. 

  8. WebCrawler. (2006). About WebCrawler. Retrieved from 



Additional Readings

Here, you will find readings specific to the contents of this chapter.

You may find more readings about similar topics on the Cataloging and Classification Web Resources page

Cataloging History and the Future of Cataloging
  • Abrahamse, B. (2020, November/December). “In defense of cataloging.” Technicalities, 40(6), 8-10.  

  • Association for Library Collections & Technical Services (ALCTS). (n.d.). ALCTS issues. ALCTS. Retrieved from

    • [NOTE: Although some of it is from the mid-2000s and may have been resolved, there are a lot of topics discussed in the ALCTS Issues that are still under consideration. This will also show you what discussions were taken place a decade or so ago and how things may have or have not changed.] 

  • Breeding, M. (2022, May 2). 2022 library systems report: An industry disrupted. American Libraries. Retrieved from 

  • Cerbo, M.A. (2011, May 16). “Is there a future for library catalogers?” Cataloging & Classification Quarterly, 49(4), 323-327, DOI: 10.1080/01639374.2011.571504  

  • Han, M-J. (2012). “New discovery services and library bibliographic control.” Library Trends, 61(1), 162-172. 

  • Hanson, E. R., & Daily, J. E. (2018). Catalogs and cataloging: History. Encyclopedia of Library and Information Sciences, 4th edition. CRC Press, 743-779. 

  • Joudrey, D.N, Taylor, A.G., and Miller, D.P. (2015). Introduction to cataloging and classification. 11thed. (Library and Information Science Text Series). Westport, Conn.: Libraries Unlimited 

Library Catalogs
  • Joseph, K. (2019). "Wikipedia knows the value of what the library catalog forgets." Cataloging & Classification Quarterly, 57(2-3), 166-183, DOI: 10.1080/01639374.2019.1597005

  • Princeton University Library. Local, Regional, and Global Library Catalogs, [A list of linked library catalogs to explore. Some links may not be as up-to-date]

Card Catalogs
  • Devereaux P., Hayden C. D., & Library of Congress. (2017). The card catalog : books cards and literary treasures. Chronicle Books. 
​Google Books
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