AACR2 : THE DEVELOPMENTS
Attempts to devise a common cataloguing code for the UK and US began early this century, and resulted in the Anglo-American Cataloguing rules of 1908. Work on the revision of this code began in the 1930s, but the UK members of the Committee had to withdraw on the outbreak of the World War II in 1939. The American Library Association (ALA) continued the work and produced a new code, the ALA Rules, in 1949. Problems inherent to this code led to an International Conference, the International Conference on Cataloguing Principles (ICCP) held in Paris in 1961, which asserted the importance of drawing up a code of rules based on sound theoretical principles rather than on ad hoc solutions to practical problems. This led to the production of the Anglo-American Cataloguing rules in 1967 in two different versions: the British text and the American text.
Despite these tremendous developments one major problem still remained. If one wants to have the international exchange of bibliographic information, then it is necessary for international standards to exist that would ensure that the bibliographic records produced by different agencies in different places are compatible. One of the areas that needed urgent attention for standardization was the area of description of items. In 1969 IFLA sponsored an international meeting of cataloguing experts at Copenhagen which led, in 1971, to the publication of the International Standard Bibliographic Description (ISBD). This was further developed for various non-book materials, leading to the publication in 1977 of a generalized version of ISBD, called ISBD(G). ISBD laid down rules on a number of matters including the specific parts of an entry, the various data elements to form-an entry, preferred sources of information, and so on. Much of this was incorporated in the unified edition (the British and the American texts no longer existed) of AACR, called AACR2, published in 1978. Major revisions of AACR took place over the years and a new edition, called AACR2R, appeared in 1988, and further minor amendments were made in 1993. You have already studied ISBD(G) in this Course.
The above discussion shows that there is now a very large measure of international agreement on the content of catalogue entries, and AACR2 (with all the revisions) has become the de facto international code for cataloguing. In recent times technological innovations and advances in IT have called for major revolution in cataloguing. With technological developments, newer media for storage and publication of information appeared ranging from microforms (microfilms, microfiche, etc.) to magnetic (floppy discs, tapes, etc.) and optical media (CD-ROM families). Consequently, the catalogue code had to incorporate new rules to handle these new media. One of the most significant developments has been emergence of the Online Public Access Catalogue (OPAC) which is basically the gateway to a library's collection. This is an interface through which users can search a library's catalogue, and can also perform a number of other operations, such as borrower record checking, reservation of items, online renewal, and so on. Although OPACs made their first appearance in the mid-1970s, it was only at the beginning of the next decade that libraries in significant numbers began to switch from card to automated catalogues. Library management software packages usually come with an OPAC module which can be used as it is, though libraries prefer to tailor the standard OPAC module to suit their specific needs. The library can identify and design specific menus for staff and users, dialogues on specific fields, such as author, title, subject, ISBN, etc., with right truncation facilities, and keyword searching with Boolean search facilities. With the recent advent of graphical user interfaces, it has become possible to include a range of information retrieval facilities menus or as options on buttons or check boxes.
The other developments include various online cataloguing networks and services, sometimes called bibliographic utilities. These networks, or bibliographic utilities, such as OCLC (Online Computer Library Center), RLIN (Research Library Information Network), etc., provide cataloguing facilities to their member libraries_ These are basically central' cataloguing facilities whereby member libraries can download the catalogue entries of specific materials. The largest of these is the OCLC. OCLC's WorldCat (the OCLC Online Union Catalog) offer access to catalogue resources that no other single institutions possesses.
The most recent, and probably the most prominent, development of the era has been the Internet which has drastically changed the various aspects of our lives. Internet, and 'we of its most prominent services, the World Wide Web (WWW), has become the most widely used source of information for all concerned, and due to its exponential growth it has been extremely important to catalogue, and thereby exert some kind of bibliographic control on the information available on the Internet.