[PLUG-TALK] Re: [PLUG] RE: the plight of Beaverton Library

Russell Senior seniorr at aracnet.com
Tue Sep 23 00:10:39 PDT 2003

>>>>> "Kevin" == Kevin Theobald <kevintheobald at vzavenue.net> writes:

[note: moved to plug-talk]

Kevin> My #1 complaint at both the McGill and U. of Delaware libraries
Kevin> was that different years of the same computer conference would
Kevin> be scattered about willy-nilly all over the QA range (if you
Kevin> were lucky enough that they didn't put some in the TK area).
Kevin> Which would be a royal PITA if, say, you wanted to browse all
Kevin> the PLDI proceedings because you heard of a paper by
Kevin> Prof. Smith in PLDI but you didn't know which year.  When I
Kevin> complained that the first three years of the HPCA conference
Kevin> were in THREE DIFFERENT PLACES, the librarian told me, "that's
Kevin> how the Library of Congress did it."

My wife is a librarian, so I've had a little exposure to this.  First,
cataloging is a *black art*.  In library school, the catalogers and
non-catalogers split into separate groups and didn't really understand
one another.  

Regarding your anecdote, my _guess_ is that each year of the
conference had a different theme and it got cataloged on the basis of
the subject theme.

The problem you describe (looking for a paper but not knowing the
year) is at least partially addressed these days using what they call
in library-land, "electronic databases".  These are subscription
services that provide indices, abstracts and/or full text of serial
publications.  These services are quite useful in that they take a lot
of the work out of digging up articles, however they also suffer from
concentrated ownership and with today's insane system of academic
publishing[1] carry substantial risks in over-committing.

[1] author often _pays_ per-page to publish, review committees are
    usually _volunteer_ experts from the field, publisher demands
    essentially perpetual ownership, subscribers (usually the same
    educational institutions that _produced_ the work) are sodomized
    by high and uncontrollable subscription fees, but authors
    nevertheless continue to hand over their work to these cut-throats
    because they control the "prestigious journals".  *BREAK THE CYCLE!!*

Russell Senior         ``shtal latta wos ba padre u prett tu nashtonfi
seniorr at aracnet.com      mrlosh''  -- Bashgali Kafir for ``If you have
                         had diarrhoea many days you will surely die.''

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