This press release describes the merger of acquisitions and cataloging functions at the Library of Congress:
"The new organizational structure--the Acquisitions and Bibliographic Access Directorate (ABA)--fully merges acquisitions and cataloging functions, streamlines workflows and deploys staff to take advantage of their unique language and subject skills," said ABA Director Beacher Wiggins. He noted that the new organization will be better designed and staffed to acquire new digital materials, which will be processed in the same work units as collections in printed and other formats.
The merger of acquisitions and cataloging functions ends an older industrial model of work, in which an incoming book moved slowly along an assembly line of stand-alone acquisitions and processing units. Twenty years ago, staff in Order, Exchange and Gift or Cataloging in Publication divisions acquired a title and then handed it off to highly specialized librarians in separate Descriptive Cataloging and Subject Cataloging divisions for description, subject analysis, classification and assignment to a particular place on a shelf. Whole-book cataloging, which merged descriptive- and subject-cataloging functions in the early 1990s, began the trend toward centralized processing to eliminate duplicative efforts and speed up "throughput"--the time it takes to make a new book findable by catalog users and to get it on the shelf to be served to readers.