This summer, I am taking ILS506 - Information Analysis and Organization (aka the cataloging class). Only in the third week of class, it has become incredibly apparent to me that this is one class that would be much easier in a traditional classroom setting. I have a reasonably good background in MARC format, indexing rules, LCSH, authority work, etc. I worked as a government documents assistant and did copy cataloging of said government documents for several years. Despite this, reading and figuring out AACR2 rules on your own is a highly difficult task. Online classes take self-discipline, but a class with incredibly detailed oriented (and confusing as heck) rules requires more than simple self discipline. I have read the relevant sections of AACR2. However, reading them is no way to get the intricacies of creating Title statements / Statement of responsibility in MARC 245 fields. I would think that working through examples in a classroom setting with guidance from the professor would be wonderful!!!!!
This is in no way a criticism of my current class. The professor has provided detailed answers to the exercises and notes based on discussion questions raised by students. I think he is doing a great job so far. This is just an observation - and is the first time I have missed the face-to-face interaction. I really need to sit down and spend much more time doing the exercises. I think that repetition will be the key to getting some of this stuff down pat. And, yes, I so badly want to look at official cataloging records in OCLC - but I will persevere in order to learn this stuff!!!