The major objective of libraries is to see that optimum use is made of their collection by leading each reader or student as directly as possible to the materials he needs. As an aid to the achievement of this purpose, nearly all libraries find it helpful, indeed necessary to improve upon their books and other materials, one or more forms of subject control. Cataloguing and classifications are among such forms of organizing knowledge inherent in library collection.
There are two basic purposes of libraries; the conservation and the exploitation of library materials. Cataloguing and classification as technical processes are concerned with both of these. They can help where two conflicts, by obviating the handling of unwanted materials as well as ensuring that the wanted items are found and used. Materials are selected, they come into the library; they are classified and catalogued among other processes; they are stored, finally, when the information in there is needed, they are retrieved.
What makes library different from other collections is the organized nature of its collection. There is this systematic arrangement of materials which facilitates easy accessibility and retrieval. There would be chaos; confusion and difficulty in retrieval of information materials in the library are not properly organized. A library is worthless without organization. In the absence of organization, writes Okoro (1999:30), “ the user (no matter the level of education) would get lost in any library since it would the days, weeks and even months to find any particular book.
Think of yourself staying in a room at night without light. You will not only be directionless, but also confused. This is also the state one will be left if our library collections are not organized. There are two basic concepts in library organization. They are classification and cataloguing.
Cataloguing involves the descriptions of document or item highlighting eight major areas: title/statement of responsibility area, note area and (publication), edition area, series area, note area and ISBN/ISSN area. Simply put, cataloguing shows the following about the book: author, title, place of publication, publisher and year of publication.
The library catalogue is the major finding tool in libraries. The library catalogue arose from cataloguing and classification which depends on the type of scheme being used by the library. The library catalogue which is called the card catalogue in library is the major index to its holdings. The cards contain information about every back in the library be in textbook, reference works, indexes or periodicals. All these information materials are indexed alphabetically on these cards that are three-by-five inch (7.5cm x 12.5cm) in size. These catalogue cards are filed in a card cabinet that is built with drawers and number A-Z. The guide letters on the drawers show which cards are in each drawer.
The library catalogue cards are of three kinds: subject cards, author cards, and title cards. In most libraries in Nigeria, author and title cards are collected in a single alphabetical catalogue. The other which is subject catalogue is an embodiment of the library holdings grouped according to subjects. They are filed in a separate cabinet, but the system of arrangement still remains A-Z. Both cabinets are placed conspicuously in a strategic position in the library for easy access.
Classification is the art or grouping like things together. All the numbers of a group or class produced by classification share at least one characteristics which members of the other class do not possess. For instance; butterfly, moth, housefly, cockroach could be housed under one characteristics which is invertebrates, a common features which rats, or rabbits and squirrels do not possess. Through classification, we cope with the multitude of unorganized impressions received by our senses. We can use classification to impose order on chaos. Classification simplifies the process of thought Let us look it from this angle.
Supposing we have a bundle of shirts, it may be divided into colour, size, materials, cleanliness etc. if the shirts are sorted according to materials, we will have something like silk shirts, cotton shirts, woolen shirts, nylon shorts etc. these characteristics are fundamental to the nature of the shirts and they are natural characteristics.
Classification of library resources, simply defined as a systematic arrangement by subject of books and other materials on shelves, catalogue and index entries in a manner which is most useful to those who seek definite piece of information. In other words, classification is the process of categorizing similar item and bringing them together. At the end of the exercise every member of a group so classified has at least one feature distinguishing it from members of other groups.
The making of classification is infact one of the most significant processes in learning, developing the ability to generalize; to make abstractions; is a necessary stage in the formation of concepts and the mastery of ideas. It is an integral part of the process of thinking and has therefore an important role to play not only in the coding and arrangement of information but also in the main activity of reference service, helping an acquirer to sort out his ideas into a pattern, a structural system of knowledge. Nevertheless, one is always at liberty to adopt either a ‘general scheme’ which embraces the whole field of knowledge or a ‘special classification scheme’ that embraces only one subject and its cognates. Some of the best known classification scheme in use today include: the Dewey Decimal Classification Scheme ?(DDC), the Bibliographic classification of Henry Bliss, the Colon classification of Ranganathan, the library of Congress classification scheme (LC), the Universal Decimal Classification (UDC).
HISTORICAL BACKGROUND OF ABIA STATE UNIVERSITY, UTURU,
Abia State University, Uturu was founded in 1981 as Imo state university. It was created based on the Imo state university law number 4 of 1981 and number 21 of 1985 as amended by the Imo state University (amendment edict number 5 of 1991).
The creation of states by Babangida administration in 1991 gave birth to Abia state as she was created out from the old Imo State. Abia State inherited the Imo State University during the sharing of assets between these two sister States. Based on the provisions of Abia State University edict of 1995, the name of the university was changed formally to Abia State University, Uturu.
ABSU AND ITS LIBRARY
Academic library is the heart of every academic institution and this makes it so imperative that every academic institution must have a well established library. In the light of the above, Abia state university came in force with the parents institution. From1981 to 1986, Abia University have two libraries as a result of its campus system. The campuses were the Etiti campus and the Aba campus. The Etiti campus served as the main campus whose library served the colleges (now facilities) of humanities and social sciences, biological and physical sciences and social sciences, and school of Architecture. The Aba campus library served the colleges of Business Administration and legal studies. In 1987, the university relocated to its permanent site at Uturu and the campus libraries were merged into a single university library.
Presently, Abia State University has five (5) departmental libraries, the Faculty of Legal studies, library and information science, the foreign language and Translation Studies (FLATS). Language Centre, (French), Abia State University Teaching Hospital, Aba and Faculty of Agriculture Ventinary Medicine, Umudike have their own libraries different from the central university headed by a professional librarian, the other faculties or departmental libraries are manned by paraprofessionals.
The library has estimate stock of over 5,500 book volumes and 8,400 serial volumes presently. Available statistics of users as at May 2007 shows that Abia State University Uturu, library has a total registered number of students (users) of 4,500
Abia state university Uturu library renders a lot of services to its users. The readers, services Abia State University, uturu, library are carried out in three units- the reference unit, the circulation unit and the serial section
REFERENCE SERVICES SECTION
This unit of reader’s services is headed by Prince Ulu O.Ulu. The section is located besides the main library building. The unit gives direct reference assistance to the users. Other sub-services in this unit are-
- User - education on the use of reference materials like encyclopedia;
- Advisory roles on research works;
- Photocopying of parts of information materials and long essay and dissertations in the case of research projects, only photocopy of chapters 1, 2 and references
- Answering of user queries;
- Guides and notes;
- Quick referencing and long range referencing the reference units of the library houses books and reference materials like encyclopedias, dictionaries, directories, long essays and dissatation etc.
CIRCULATION SERVICES UNIT
Circulation unit of Abia State University, Uturu, Library is headed by Chineyere Osueke (MRS). The services that are carried out in this unit include the following:
- Charging and discharging book loans.
- Statistics of users and books consulted and returned, to daily basis;
- Shelving and reshelving
- Clearance of users;
- Registration of users; and running of closed - shelve (reserve bookroom)
Mr. Uzoma David A. heads the serial unit of the readers’ services of Abia State University, Uturu, Library. The major activity of this unit is to give users direct assistance to the use of the serial materials in the unit.
1.2 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
Objectives serve as guide to any researcher. They enable the researcher to focus his or her mind on specific areas of the research without being influenced by personal prejudices. Therefore the objectives of this study are:-
- To find out the importance of cataloguing and classification in library services.
- To identify the cataloguing code or scheme used in the libraries under view.
- To ascertain the role of cataloguing and classification in the arrangement of library materials.
- To ensure easy accessibility and retrieval of library materials.
- To determine the problems that militates against cataloguing and classification.
- To proffer solutions to the identified problems.
1.3 AIMS/PURPOSE OF STUDY
The purpose of this study therefore is to carefully and clearly explain the relevance of cataloguing and classification in library and information science curriculum in respect to students in IMSU and FPNO. The newcomers into the field of librarianship and the layman may not know the importance of this twin concept in practical applications. However, after going through this work one will definitely be in a position to understand and appreciate the indispensability of cataloguing and classification in organizing and enhancing knowledge.
Considering the time and numerous forms of imposition on collection in forms of subject control taken by ABSU library for the purpose of organizing and accessing knowledge, this study has been limited only to the relevance of cataloguing and classification in achieving this purpose.
Other dimension of cataloguing and classification such as cataloguing rules codes, cataloguing arrangement and classification schemes will be briefly treated as to enable a fuller understanding of the argument that follows.
There will be no limitation as to the sources of information for this study as books and non-book materials will be refereed to and consulted. Nevertheless, there may be financial problem as a result of the economic crunch in the country. This might limit the extent of literature search, the volume of the work and study design. However, great effort will be made to make sure that the inherent limitations do not hinder the production of a qualitative work that will serve intellectual and academic purpose as intended.
1.5 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
- What are the importance of cataloguing and classification in library services?
- What are the cataloguing codes or scheme used in the libraries under view?
- What role do cataloguing and classification play in the arrangement of library materials?
- In what ways can one ensure easy accessibility and retrieval of library materials?
- What are the problem that militates against cataloguing and classifications?
- in what ways can the problem associated with cataloguing and classification be solved?
To conduct research for this study, various ways have been mapped out.
Firstly, personal experience obtained through observation of the operation of some libraries and also record inspection of what already existed in this field of cataloguing and classification will come into play. References on these valuable records and lecture notes will contribute to the generalizations that will be reached at the end of this work. The consciousness of producing a qualitative work will lead the researcher to many places including institutions, libraries, information center and even a book vendor.
Personal interview with persons considered knowledgeable in this field of research will be conducted. The purpose is to find out facts that may not be adequately taken care of in the questionnaire.
Finally, a set of questionnaire will be distributed to librarians, students in IMSU and FPNO and those that re knowledgeable in the field of library science.