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Michele Lockleair
LIS 604 Article Review 8
Dr. Carmichael
22 July 2016
La Barre, K. (2010). Pauline Atherton Cochrane: Weaving Value from the Past. Libraries & the Cultural
Record, 45(2), 210-237. Retrieved from
Pauline Atherton Cochrane is one of the most cited authors in the literature of information
science (210). She has spent her life working on document retrieval and subject analysis tools. She did
not start out in this field, but it found her and she was hooked. Even as a teacher, she worked and
involved her students in this work. She started out in the social sciences field and her first job after
college, in 1951, was with Corn Products Refining Company. She went on to get her masters in library
science and became a reference librarian at the Chicago Public Library. She held positions as an assistant
professor and cross-reference editor on the 1960 revision of World Book Encyclopedia while she was
working on her doctorate. She attended many conferences and was traveling all over the world.
Around this time, she met S.R. Ranganathan and was amused by his theories. She joined
Classification Research Study Group and began research that would extend Ranganathans theories of
classification and subject access for use in libraries and information centers (215). In 1960 Cochrane
became the assistant project director on the National Science Foundations Documentation Research
Project at the American Institute of Physics and began her career as an Information Scientist. She then
began to evaluate the Universal Decimal Classification (UDC) for use in a retrieval systems and
developed a machine-readable version of the UDC integrating indexing and search terms into an online
retrieval system (218). It was shortly after this that she became tired of work and travel and decided to
return to teaching.
She obtained a position at Syracuse University where she taught courses in abstracting,
indexing, thesaurus construction, cataloging, and computer-based reference services. Her and her
students were at the front lines in using and testing the MARC-1 (machine-readable cataloging) record

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format. She served on multiple committees for both library and information science, and education.
Over the years she continued to partner with others and explored ways to augment MARC, which soon
developed into testing and evaluating subject access in online public access catalogs (OPAC) (222). In
the 1980s she was one among many calling for changes to the Library of Congress Subject Headings
(LCSH) to make them more suitable for online searches.
She earned many awards and recognitions in many fields for all of her work and it has been said
her greatest contribution is her effort to create an awareness among her students, among librarians
and information scientists that all have a common purpose and can learn from each other for the
improvement of all (227). One of her students said that she recognizes the beauty and necessity of
both improvisation and precision in the organization of knowledge (229). In 2009, at the age of 80,
Cochrane was still engaged in the LIS world.
LaBarre has written a dry detail of Cochranes life. This article reads as if it is more about the
field of classification (which Cochrane was a huge part of) than about Cochrane herself. LaBarre has tons
of dates, agency names and peoples names and they all get jumbled up, which detracts from being able
to truly learn about the life of an amazing, talented, and intelligent woman. More anecdotal
information would have made this piece more readable and enjoyable instead of a spreadsheet of
extraneous details that no one will remember by the time they reach the end.