Utility, Library Priorities, and Cataloging Policies
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Banush, David; LeBlanc, Jim
This paper seeks to provide a philosophical framework for choices made about library priorities and cataloging policy, the contexts in which they are made, and the consequences they have for users. The authors invoke the notion of utility as a philosophical backdrop for dealing with competing library choices and the fallout from those prioritizations. They then look at how general utilitarian principles can contextualize the layers of wants, needs, and resource allocations in the research library environment. Finally, they examine issues and recent developments at the Cornell University Library as a case study with which to illustrate some of these principles.
Cataloging policy; utilitarianism; library priorities; pragmatism; user needs