Fundamentals of Cataloging

Monday, 1/13/2020 - Friday, 2/21/2020
Monday, 3/23/2020 - Friday, 5/1/2020
Monday, 6/1/2020 - Friday, 7/10/2020
Monday, 8/3/2020 - Friday, 9/11/2020
Monday, 10/12/2020 - Friday, 11/20/2020
Description: This six-week online course is a basic primer for library cataloging concepts and practices. It covers:
  • principles underlying cataloging practice,
  • examples illustrating the principles in practice,
  • tools used in cataloging practice such as AACR2, RDA, Library of Congress Subject Headings, Library of Congress Classification, MARC, OCLC, BIBFRAME, and
  • processes used by catalogers in creating bibliographic records.

Fundamentals of Cataloging (FOC) begins with a discussion of how cataloging assists users in finding resources and of the value of standardization of practice. These foundations are then given practical grounding in the work of creating bibliographic descriptions, the process of subject analysis, and summarizing content utilizing classification. Standards such as MARC bibliographic and authority formats, Library of Congress Subject Headings and Library of Congress Classification are discussed. The shift in focus from format-based cataloging to entity-relationship model cataloging is taken from the FRBR foundation to the RDA practical application, with a final look at RDF triples and BIBFRAME. In all areas, the value of standards is illustrated and discussed. There is a heavy reliance on examples from actual practice throughout the course content.

2020 Sessions
  • Session 1:  January 13 – February 21 - SOLD OUT
  • Session 2: March 23 – May 1 - SOLD OUT
  • Session 3: June 1 – July 10 - SOLD OUT 
  • Session 4: August 3 – September 11
  • Session 5: October 12 – November 20


Format:  Students receive login instructions one week prior to the course start date.  Students have 24/7 access to the course site for the six-week period, and aside from assignment and quiz deadlines, the course may be completed at their own pace.  Instructors provide guidance and feedback as students work their way through the course material.  Weekly, instructor-moderated chat sessions are the only live course events that students are asked to attend.

Weekly Chat Schedule:  The following times are tentative and may change according to instructor availability.

Week One: Thursday at 1:00 pm CDT
Week Two: Thursday at 1:00 pm CDT
Week Three: Thursday at 1:00 pm CDT
Week Four: Thursday at 1:00 pm CDT
Week Five: Thursday at 1:00 pm CDT
Week Six:Thursday at 1:00 pm CDT

Learning Outcomes

Students will gain a basic understanding of library cataloging concepts and practices.

Who Should Attend

As a fundamentals course, FOC is tailored for librarians and library support staff new to cataloging, librarians and library support staff from other units who want to know more about cataloging, and experienced cataloging librarians and library support staff seeking continuing education and networking opportunities.

Cataloging librarians in countries other than the U.S. and library school students or graduates developing skills to help get a job or identify areas of interest in library work may also benefit from this course.


Teressa Keenan is Head of Bibliographic Management Services at University of Montana, Missoula.

Bobby Bothmann is Metadata & Emerging Technologies Librarian and Professor at Minnesota State University, Mankato.

Debbie Benrubi is Technical Services Librarian at University of San Francisco.

Katharine Leigh is Head of Cataloging and Metadata Services at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana.

Marcia H. Barrett is Cataloging & Metadata Strategies Librarian at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Shannon Tennant is Coordinator of Library Collections at Elon University in North Carolina.



$139 ALCTS members; $169 nonmembers

Any requests for cancelation or changes to registration must be received in writing by ALCTS or the ALA registration department (MACS) no later than 7 days prior to the start of the course and are subject to a $40 processing fee.

How to Register


Register online using the online learning registration site. Courses are listed by session date. Click on the “register link” located to the right of the session you are interested in.  You will be prompted to login with your ALA member ID or create a guest account, to begin the registration process.

By Mail

Register by mail using the print registration form. Tip: If you’re unable to open this “register by mail” link, right-click the link and save the form to your computer.
For registration related questions, call 1-800-545-2433 and press 5 and speak to our customer service representatives.

ALCTS Code of Conduct

Please review the ALCTS Statement of Conduct before registering.

Tech Requirements

A Moodle-developed site is composed of self-paced modules with facilitated interaction led by the instructors. There are predetermined start and end dates and a suggested pace which include interaction with the instructors and your classmates. Students regularly use the forum and chat room functions to facilitate their class participation. Section quizzes are offered and feedback given, however, there is no final class grade.

The course website will be open for 1 week prior to the start date for students to have access to Moodle instructions and set their browser correctly. The course site will remain open 1 week after the end date for students to complete any sections and submit the course evaluation survey.


Contact Hours - 24 hours

ALCTS defines contact hours in line with the IACET standards on Continuing Education Units.

Certificates of completion are sent upon successful completion (passing score of 70% or higher) of the course.


For questions about registration, contact ALA Registration by calling 1-800-545-2433 and press 5 or email

For all other questions or comments related to the webinars, please contact


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