Cataloging Librarian Rebecca Culbertson Wins ALCTS Award

Untitled-6Rebecca Culbertson, an Electronic Resources Cataloging Librarian at UC San Diego, has received the 2015 Ulrich’s Serials Librarianship Award from the Association for Library Collections & Technical Services (ALCTS), a division of the American Library Association (ALA). Culbertson is being honored for her achievements in serials librarianship, including mentoring a generation of catalogers and serving as “a champion for cataloging education.”

“Becky has truly made enormous contributions to cataloging,” said University Librarian Brian Schottlaender. “Her concept of using one bibliographic record for multiple providers of online serial titles—known as the Provider-Neutral concept—has become the accepted practice for online monographs as well. As a former cataloger myself, I have a great deal of respect for her work and am grateful for her many efforts.”

Culbertson began working for the UC San Diego Library (then the Undergraduate Library) in 1967, under Melvin Voigt, the University’s first University Librarian. She remembers seeing the Geisel Library under construction and the big move to the building after its completion in 1970. Technology, she recalls, was not what it is today: “There was not even a functioning Xerox machine.” Originally from Lansing, Michigan, Culbertson graduated from Kalamazoo College and the University of Michigan School of Library Science. She worked as a cataloger at the University of Michigan for three years, and then did a six-month stint at the University of Georgia, while her husband was in Naval Supply Corps School.

Culbertson will be honored and formally presented with her award—which includes $750 from ProQuest—on June 27 at the ALCTS awards ceremony at the ALA’s 2015 Annual Conference in San Francisco. Maria Collins of North Carolina State University’s Hunt Library is receiving the award along with Culbertson. As a longtime mentor to many budding catalogers over the years, Culbertson’s advice is simple: Learn to make effective use of the catalog. After 50 years, she is still enthusiastic about librarianship and finds the future of library and information work—“the steady drumbeat of the move towards Open Access both through local digitization efforts and repositories”—exciting.

Among her many contributions to the field, she has been an active contributor to CONSER and Program of Cooperative Cataloging (PCC) task groups, and has worked tirelessly to develop and promote clear standards for the cataloging and communication of serials information, as well as the effective presentation of journals though accepted standards.

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