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University Libraries - News, Events & Exhibits

Have you met...Kathleen McCallister, Cataloging Librarian

Jun 10, 2013 7:19 AM

“I like to bring order out of chaos. There is something appealing about taking items or lots of information and bringing order to it. There is an element of creativity to it. There are rules, but you can work in different ways while fitting inside the rules and still create something that can be understood by general library patrons. Cataloging is great work for people who like to organize things, and who are fulfilled by knowing that anyone who comes to look for something will find it.”

McCallister is cataloging the newly acquired C. Edgar and Julie Grissom Collection of Ernest Hemingway, housed in the Irvin Department of Rare Books and Special Collections. The Grissom collection includes more than 1,200 items by and about Ernest Hemingway published between 1914 and 2009. Adding the Grissom collection to USC’s existing Hemingway holdings establishes USC as the premiere research center for the study of Hemingway’s print works and boosts USC’s ranking as a top research center for the study of modern American literature.

Clearly, the ability to find items in the collection is going to be very important for students and scholars. McCallister will ensure that their search is easy.

“The Grissom collection came to us in very good chronological order,” she said. “I started with Hemingway’s earliest books -- just grabbed an armful and got started. All the information I glean from a book goes into the library’s main computerized database. Publication year, publisher, edition. For rare books, we make note of the binding, dust jacket, measurements, overall condition, any signature or inscriptions. You get to see the most interesting things. Just to be able to see the range of ways there are to handle a book in terms of printing and binding is interesting. This is all important information, because some scholars need to see certain editions or issues for their research."

“Most major American libraries are using the Anglo American Cataloging Rules II, which is a standardized set of rules on how to input information about a book, or a movie, or a photograph. If I walked into any other library using these rules, I could find whatever I needed very easily.”