Honoring Jay Weitz

Submitted by Michelle Hahn on behalf of the Music OCLC Users Group (MOUG) board

MOUG has always been a part of the fabric of MLA. And Jay Weitz has been a part of MOUG for 90% of its existence. Joining OCLC in 1982, he has been responsible for an immeasurable improvement to the descriptions of music materials in WorldCat and, by the transitive property, all of our catalogs.

Preceded as the official OCLC representative to MOUG in its first 10 years by Ron Gardner, Joan Schuitema, Glenn Patton, and Sharon Walbridge, Jay was named as our permanent liaison in 1989 and continued as such until his retirement in June of 2023. However, one thing is certain: Jay will remain a critical piece of us for eternity.

In 1985, we saw the predecessor of the “Questions and Answers” column in the MOUG Newsletter, originally titled “Correspondence from OCLC.” One might say this was the spark that started it all, and it began with coverage from Jay regarding the indexing of the MARC 028 field (which houses identifiers such as the plate number, matrix number, issue number, and other publisher’s numbers).

That column has continued to delight us all, eventually leading to the publication of his book, Cataloger’s Judgement, in 2003. In his foreword to the book, H. Stephen Wright noted that “Questions and Answers” was a “gold mine…[Jay] responded not in the stilted officious voice of [the guidelines and policies], but in a friendly, casual tone that suggested that he was one of us.”

During any event where music catalogers and catalog users have gathered, Jay has welcomed all questions, even the simple ones, and has been gracious to provide answers for everything. What started as a regular session for MOUG’s annual meetings titled “Ask OCLC” where Jay would answer such questions live for the group’s benefit, carries on under the moniker of “Ask Everything,” where Jay has continued to bless us with his wit and wisdom.

Jay was recognized early on by MOUG as the 2004 recipient of its highest honor, the Distinguished Service Award, and later by the Music Library Association with its Citation in 2019.

For many years, the MOUG Board held its annual Summer meeting in Columbus, Ohio, sharing accommodations at the Harrison House Bed & Breakfast, owned by a friend of Jay’s, and within walking distance of Jay’s home. Much of the meeting was held in Jay’s dining room. And, of course, none of it would have been possible without the generosity of Jay and his wife, Esther.

Throughout his long career, Jay has made extensive contributions to the music cataloging community. Jay’s breadth of knowledge regarding cataloging practices past and present, OCLC products and beyond, is unparalleled. His responses to cataloging-related questions on email distribution lists and in OCLC webinars consistently display a depth, thoroughness, and generosity of knowledge sharing that make the person asking (and everyone reading or listening in) feel more informed and enlightened. Those who have met him in person can also attest to his understated humor, kindness, and humility.

In our judgment, Jay Weitz is the top.

The last word