As an instructor who is responsible for teaching the Organization of Information, aka the Cataloguing and Classification course, I feel frustrated in preparation for the undergraduate class like this nowadays. Several professional societies and users communities around the world in the field of library and information/information technology sciences have launched many metadata schemes as well as linked data standards to accelerate the operability across various information retrieval systems in digital circumstances. The principles of information or knowledge organization shift from static, fixed guidelines (e.g. Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules—AACR, and MAchine-Readable Cataloging—MARC) to dynamic, flexible frameworks (e.g. Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records— FRBR, and Resource Description and Access—RDA)
I don’t want to complain that new metadata schemes are better or more suitable for the changing environments of information and learning than traditional standards. It is about a number of topics my students have to study in their courses on information organization that concern me.
In the information studies (IS) program of Chulalongkorn University Faculty of Arts’ Department of Library Science, there are three courses in connection with organizing information we have offered for our undergraduates. The first requisite course is Organization of Information. It gives the students an overview of this area study—cataloguing, classification, subject headings assignment, and the creation of information records. Abstracting and Indexing Services is another subject that our IS undergraduates have to be prepared for their real careers in information and library work. Finally, for every senior student at my Department they have to take a course in subject analysis to learn how to construct thesauruses for specific purposes.
In my opinion, all of the above-mentioned courses are not enough for our IS students in the present time. It is obvious that we, information organization instructors in Thailand, must do our homework by being really prepared to research on new issues such as information architecture, data asset management, content management systems and taxonomy construction, and teach those bodies of knowledge to our IS younger generations.
Lessons taught in Thai IS schools in relation to the organization of information and knowledge need to go beyond library environments. I personally believe that our graduates can make a major contribution to information professions not just only cataloguer if they gain fresh new approaches of organizing information from us. They can do something more and differently. We are part of maintaining our graduates’ positions in the changing marketplace where information architects, metadata specialists, and taxonomists gradually become job positions necessary for the information service sector in Thailand.