Helena Zinkham

L-40: Visual Materials Cataloging

8-12 June 2009


1) How useful were the pre-course readings?


1: Good—a bit difficult to read standards in a linear fashion—I mostly skimmed since I have some background with DACS and AACR2. Ultimately, these are reference sources—their utility became clearer over the week, and it's a matter of knowing when and where to consult them. 2: Extremely helpful—they provided a very comprehensive survey of the world of visual materials cataloging and standards, and meant we didn't have to begin with the basics in class, but could dive into the exciting task of cataloging pictures! 3: Very useful, since I had little background on cataloging standards for visual material. 4: The pre-course readings were substantial, and the list will be useful to me in the future. The wording had led me to expect a slightly different focus for the course as a whole, with more emphasis on MARC. 5: Very useful and provided sufficient background for discussion throughout the week. 6: I found the readings too technical for my level. I think that a number of introductory readings should be included for students who might be new in the field. 7: Yes. They prepared us for what lay ahead. Although it was a lot of material to read, it was all informative and fundamental to the course. 8: I found the pre-course readings (at least for me) necessary and incredible useful. So much to absorb and understand so you can hit the ground running when you arrive. 9: Extremely relevant and provided a great starting off point. I am very pleased to have read the material prior to class and not during.


2) Were the course syllabus and other materials distributed in class appropriate and useful (or will they be so in the future, after you return home)?


1: Yes! HZ's course [workbook] was great for in-class activities and will be a good catch-all/first reference when/if dealing with visual materials/trying to make decisions on what standards to use. Also—a great extended reading list for more in-depth exploration of several subtopics. 2: Yes—very much so. 3: Yes, very much so. They will serve as examples and models for decision-making, project planning, and staff training in my institution. 4: Very useful. 5: Yes, the workbook will be very useful when I return. 6: Yes, extremely useful and appropriate. 7: Yes they were appropriate and will be tremendously useful in the future. 8: The packet HZ gave us will be a resource that I will continue to use for a very long time. I'm grateful for it. 9: Yes. The course workbook will be especially helpful on the job and I am thankful she provided such in depth information.


3) What aspects of the course content were of the greatest interest or relevance for your purposes? Was the intellectual level of the course appropriate?


1: Certain parts of the course were a bit basic/rudimentary for me personally (the general cataloging bits, since cataloging has been my central responsibility for several years), but exercises in visual literacy/translation/distillation of an image were very helpful. Also - learning to move between Graphic Materials and DACS as descriptive models (as appropriate) was great. 2: Learning how to apply the different guidelines for cataloging both items and collections of material. 3: Explanation of the various cataloging standards and approaches and of how to apply them in combination or variously for distinct collections and items. 4: The general discussions of cataloging standards were most useful to me. The cataloging tasks built up the class's knowledge collectively, but moved slowly. 5: The comparisons of different cataloging standards will be helpful with making decisions in the future. 6: Exercises followed by discussion were very useful. 7: In-depth discussion and training using subject heading thesauri and rules. Yes, the intellectual level was exactly what I had hoped. 8: I really appreciated HZ's use of so many different genres of visual material—and the commonalities between describing them (as well as across many different standards). Intellectual level was challenging without being frustrating. 9: Completing VR catalog records, MARC fields, examining ephemera, GM cataloging rules.—Yes.


4) If your course left its classroom to visit Special Collections (SC) or to make other field trips away from your classroom, was the time devoted to this purpose well spent?


1: While it was great to spend time with Library of Congress Prints and Photographs staff and collection, it was a LONG trip to make in one day. Wonder if we should have stayed at UVA and gone to SC here ... or maybe HZ will someday offer the course on her home turf? 2: Yes—wonderful to get a sense of how the Prints and Photographs division at LC operates, and good to meet other librarians working in this field. 3: Yes. Our field trip to the LC's Prints and Photographs Division exposed us to LC's rich array of collections, cataloging practices and work flows. 4: Yes—it was very good to see the department, hear from other members of staff there, and appreciate how cataloging is managed in phases. 5: The time traveling back and forth to D.C. was no fun, but HZ made it worthwhile by engaging in conversations with students about their work and concerns with visual materials. The actual activities at the LC were worth the trip. 6: Extremely well spent. 7: Yes. LC was tremendously helpful. 8: Yes, though I wish DC weren't such a long haul. Spending time at the LC in the photography collection made it all worth it. 9: The time at LC was a very positive experience.


5) What did you like best about the course?


1: (see 2nd half of response to #3) 2: HZ's wonderful teaching and enthusiasm, and being able to learn from others trying to bring their picture collections to light. 3: The instructor's deep historical knowledge and expertise about this highly specialized area of cataloging and collection management. 4: The visit to LC and the instructor. 5: The chance to meet other librarians and archivists that also work with visual materials so that my particular problems could be put into perspective and I could gain new insight through discussion. 6: Class discussions and exercises were very educational and useful. 7: The encouragement given by the instructor. The closeness of the class towards the middle to end of the week. The level of experience of the instructor. 8: HZ - she is such an excellent, patient and supportive teacher. Inspiring. 9: HZ is a remarkable teacher and person. I look forward to communicating with her in the future.


6) How could the course have been improved?


1: N/A 2: I don't think it could; Helena covered everything and more. 4: Retitling [the course] an introduction to? 5: Maybe a field trip other than the LC. 6: I would like to have a printed version of the catalogue records we worked on in class for future reference. We talked about them, but I would like to see (in written form) how HZ would catalog the items we worked on. 7: Classes held outside? Seriously—in no way. 8: I can't think of anything at all. 9: I can't think of any way this course could be better.


7) We are always concerned about the physical well-being both of the RBS teaching collections and of materials owned by UVa's Special Collections. If relevant, what suggestions do you have for the improved classroom handling of such materials used in your course this week?


1: N/A 2: Everything was considerately handled. 4: No concerns. 5: Everyone handled the materials with care. 6-7: The materials were wonderful. 8: I think we were all very gentle.


8) If you attended the Sunday and/or other evening lectures, were they worth attending?


1-2: N/A 3: Yes, as a means of conveying to us some of RBS's own historical legacy. 4: No. 5: Somewhat. 6: I found the documentaries [film night] worth attending. The lecture was not very interesting. 7: Sunday for TB's opening remarks—the history of RBS. N/A for the other events. 8: I actually didn't attend ... 9: The Sunday lecture was an appropriate introduction to the week.


9) Did you get your money's worth? Any final or summary thoughts, or advice for other persons considering taking this course in a future year?


1: N/A - institution paid tuition ... and I hope what I learned will prove useful to them as well as me personally/professionally! 2: Definitely. 3: Absolutely, and highly recommend RBS for library administration as well as hands-on practitioners. 4: Yes. This course builds up into a solid basis for cataloging visual materials, particularly for those unfamiliar with the concept. 5: Yes, got my money's worth. 6: Yes. 7: Yes. I will hopefully be back. The intense week of classes requires you to forge relationships with classmates—his can prove vital to future endeavors. I just wish the course could be a bit longer. Advice: stay on the Lawn. Go to RBS. Be gregarious. 8: This is the best learning experience I have had in a long time. 9: I feel that I did get my money's worth. I would like to attend another class in the future if I can afford to do so.


Number of respondents: 9





Institution gave me leave: 89%

I took vacation time: 0%

N/A: self-employed, retired, or had summers off: 11%



Institution paid tuition: 67%

I paid tuition myself: 0%

N/A: self-employed, retired, or scholarship: 33%



Instution paid housing: 78%

I paid for my own housing: 11%

N/A: stayed with friends or lived at home: 11%



Institution paid travel: 78%

I paid my own travel: 22%

N/A: lived nearby: 0%


There were 2 rare book librarians (22%), 3 archivist/manuscript librarians (33%), 1 curator of prints and drawings (11%), 1 full-time student (11%), and two image curators (22%).