Cataloging backlogs: Perennials, seaweeds, or others?

Junli Diao


Cataloging backlogs are a perennial part of cataloging work, but they differ from library to library. In some libraries, cataloging backlogs are temporary imbalances between the fast growth of new acquisitions and shrinking of cataloging personnel and support. In other libraries, cataloging backlogs are simply those materials that go beyond the regular scope of bibliographical management. No matter the type of cataloging backlog, they are bulky, substantial, and visible. Some might even use them as an advantage to contribute to their job security. However, when cataloging backlogs sneak into a library’s bibliographic system and build up there for years, they are not perennials any more. They become like seaweeds in the ocean: you know they are there, and you can even have a glance at their tips provocatively bouncing along with the waves; but if you really want to grasp them and dig out their roots, you will have to dive in deep.

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