Training Catalogers in the Electronic Era

Essential Elements of a Training Program For Entry-Level Professional Catalogers

The environment for libraries in general and technical services in particular is rapidly changing for a variety of economic and technological reasons. Cataloging is evolving as the trend toward re-engineering the basic structure of the library organization, including technical services gains momentum. While recognizing these changes, catalogers will be needed in the electronic era for original cataloging of unique, esoteric materials as well as for providing organization for emerging electronic formats.

This outline provides the essential elements of a training program for entry-level catalogers. Training should begin with LC copy cataloging before moving to contributed copy and finally to original cataloging. The timetable depends greatly on the individual cataloger. The total training program will probably require from six months to one year to complete.

This training outline has been developed by the Committee on Education, Training and Recruitment for Cataloging of the Cataloging and Classification Section of the Association for Library Collections and Technical Services to assist in the training of beginning professional catalogers.

  1. Job Orientation
    1. Functions and organization of Cataloging Department
      1. Tour of department, staff introductions, supplies, meetings, etc.
      2. How position fits functionally and physically into department
      3. Location of cataloging tools, dictionaries, department manuals, special equipment, etc.
      4. Mission of Cataloging Department. Department’s philosophy of cataloging.
    2. Functions and organization of Technical Services
      1. Tour and introductions of other Technical Services staff
      2. Workflow: request, order, receipt, cataloging, processing, shelving, etc.
      3. Consortial arrangements, centralization of technical processing, locations department catalogs for, any special arrangements with those locations
    3. Functions and organization of Library
      1. Relationship of library to larger institution
      2. Tour and staff introductions
      3. Overview of library organization
      4. Scheduled library meetings and committees
      5. Future significant events: new building, migration to new system, etc.
      6. Consortia and network memberships
      7. Branch libraries (tours later)
    4. Personnel issues
      1. Performance reviews
      2. Sick, vacation, leaves and personal days
      3. Promotion and/or tenure
    5. Electronic tools related to job
      1. E-mail
      2. Internet/Bitnet
      3. Personal computers/Word processing
      4. Mainframes
      5. LANs
    6. Continuing education and professional development opportunities
      1. OCLC/RLIN workshops
      2. Local, state and regional library organizations
      3. National and international library organizations
      4. Other professional development opportunities
      5. Library policy on release time and compensation
  2. Cataloging and Classification
    1. Electronic resources for cataloging
      1. Bibliographic utility
        1. Searching bibliographic utility for bibliographic and authority records
        2. Exporting records from bibliographic utility
        3. Mechanics of editing and creation of records on bibliographic utility
      2. Other potential resource files (e.g. vendor databases)
        1. Searching files
        2. Retrieving records from files
      3. Local bibliographic database
        1. What is in the online catalog
        2. Status of retrospective conversion
        3. Source(s) of all online records
        4. Relationship of local database to bibliographic utility
        5. Any cards still produced
        6. Searching local online catalog and cataloging modules
        7. Mechanics of editing and creation of records in cataloging module
        8. Authority control in local database
      4. National programs (CONSER, NACO, PCC, etc.)
        1. Awareness of programs and their purpose
        2. National program standards (core record, etc.)
        3. Use of national program records
      5. Resources available on Internet (e.g. library catalogs, LC MARVEL, etc.)
      6. Additional electronic resources (e.g. Catalogers Desktop)
    2. Nonelectronic resources for cataloging
      1. Departmental procedures manual
      2. AACR2
      3. USMARC format documentation
      4. ISBD documentation
      5. Bibliographic utility documentation
      6. Local system vendor documentation
      7. Classification schedules (LC, Dewey, NLM, etc.)
      8. LC documentation
        1. LC Rule Interpretations
        2. Cataloging Service Bulletin
        3. Subject Cataloging Manual (Subject Headings, Classification, Shelflisting)
        4. CONSER Cataloging Manual
        5. LC Subject Headings (red books)
        6. National Union Catalog
        7. ALA-LC Romanization Tables
        8. NACO Participants Manual
        9. CONSER Editing Guide
        10. Additional LC documentation
      9. Introductory cataloging and classification texts
      10. Texts on cataloging specific formats
      11. Dictionaries, gazetteers, etc.
      12. Professional journals
      13. Additional non-electronic cataloging resources
    3. Descriptive cataloging
      1. AACR2
        1. Chief source of information
        2. Title and statement of responsibility
        3. Edition; publication, distribution, etc. area; physical description; series area; notes
      2. Older cataloging rules
      3. LC Rule Interpretations
      4. Local descriptive cataloging practices
      5. Bound-withs and analytics
      6. Monograph vs. serial
    4. MARC format
      1. Leader and directory
      2. Fixed fields
      3. Variable fields
      4. Format integration
      5. Pre- and post-format integration fields
    5. Access points
      1. Names
        1. Concept of main and added entries
        2. Concept of corporate authorship
        3. Conference headings
        4. Verification of name headings
        5. Establishing name headings
      2. Uniform titles
      3. Series tracings
        1. Definition of series
        2. Series statement and entry
        3. Series numbering
        4. Establishing series headings
      4. Title added entries
      5. Local access point practice: general statement on acceptance of headings
    6. Subject Headings
      1. General principles of subject analysis
      2. General principles of subject heading system (LC, Sears, MeSH, etc.)
      3. Use of subject heading system (pattern headings, free-floating subdivisions, etc.)
      4. Local subject heading practice: general statement on acceptance of headings
    7. Classification and shelf listing
      1. General principles of classification
      2. General principles of classification scheme (LC, Dewey, NLM, etc.)
        1. Cuttering
        2. Literary classification
        3. Classed together series
        4. Classification tables
      3. Shelf listing: online, paper, or both
      4. Local classification and shelf listing practice
    8. Additional local practices and special problems
      1. Developing cataloger’s judgment and decision-making skills
      2. Issue of intercataloger consistency
      3. Determining appropriate level of treatment and cataloging effort
      4. Handling of various levels of copy: general statement and/or guidelines on acceptance of various levels of copy
      5. Balancing quantity and quality
      6. Statistics: who to report statistics to, use of statistics, etc.
      7. Handling of materials (call number and other information noted on piece, etc.)
      8. Recataloging and reclassifying
      9. Withdrawals, transfers, etc.
      10. Local processing procedures
  3. Authority Control
    1. Sources of authority records
    2. Verification of headings
      1. Name
      2. Series
      3. Subject
      4. Uniform title
    3. Cross-reference structure
    4. Local authority control practice
  4. Online Catalog Maintenance
    1. Database maintenance
      1. Responsibility
      2. Error reports
      3. Changes in form of heading
    2. Retrospective conversion
      1. Status of any project(s)
      2. Procedures
  5. Relationship of cataloging records to other records
    1. Holdings
    2. Order/payment
    3. Circulation
    4. Citation databases
    5. Other bibliographic records, including multiple versions
  6. Special formats
    1. Cartographic materials
    2. Manuscripts
    3. Music
    4. Sound recordings
    5. Motion pictures and videorecordings
    6. Graphic materials
    7. Computer files
    8. Electronic resources
    9. Three-dimensional artefacts and realia
    10. Microforms
    11. Serials
    12. Interactive multimedia
  7. Management Issues
    1. Policies dependent upon library~s mission and goals, its users, and its collection
    2. Workflow and task analyses
    3. Budget: how much of the budget can be manipulated
    4. Personnel issues: training, hiring, scheduling, job satisfaction, firing
    5. Productivity/efficiency measures
    6. Quality control
    7. Enhanced and simplified cataloging decisions and policies
    8. Evaluation and update of information retrieval system
    9. Integration of catalog (or information retrieval system) with Internet and other retrieval systems, i.e. CD-ROMs, etc.
    10. Cataloger’s judgment and decision-making skills
    11. Relations with other departments (communication, responsibilities to, etc.)
  8. The Literature
    1. Strategies for keeping current; fruitful places to look
    2. How and where to research a problem in cataloging and classification

Selected Bibliography

Cataloging & Classification Quarterly. New York: Haworth, 1981-

Cataloging Service Bulletin. Washington, D.C.: Cataloging Distribution Service, Library of Congress, 1978-

Chan, Lois Mai. Immroth’s Guide to the Library of Congress Classification. 4th ed. Englewood, Colo.: Libraries Unlimited, 1990.

Chan, Lois Mai, Phyllis A. Richmond, and Elaine Svenonius, eds. Theory of Subject Analysis: A Sourcebook. Littleton, Colo.: Libraries Unlimited, 1985.

Clack, Doris M., ed. The Making of a Code: The Issues Underlying AACR2. Chicago: American Library Association, 1980.

Gorman, Michael and Paul W. Winkler, eds. Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules. 2nd ed., 1988 revision. Chicago: American Library Association, 1988.

Library of Congress Rule Interpretations. 2nd ed. Washington, D.C.: Cataloging Distribution Service, Library of Congress, 1989-

Library Resources and Technical Services. Chicago: American Library Association, 1957-

Manheimer, Margaret L. Manheimer’s Cataloging and Classification: A Workbook. 3rd. ed., by Jerry Saye. New York: Dekker, 1991.

Maxwell, Margaret F. Handbook for AACR2: Explaining and Illustrating the Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules. 1988 revision. Chicago: American Library Association, 1989.

Rowley, J. E. Organizing Knowledge: An Introduction to Information Retrieval. 2nd ed. Aldershot, Hants; Brookfield, Vt.: Ashgate, 1992.

Saye, Jerry D. and Sherry L. Vellucci. Notes in the Catalog Record Based on AACR2 and LC Rule Interpretations. Chicago: American Library Association, 1989.

Taylor, Arlene G. Cataloging with Copy: A Decision-Maker’s Handbook. 2nd. ed. Englewood, Colo.: Libraries Unlimited, 1988.

Technical Services Quarterly. New York: Haworth, 1983-

Weihs, Jean Riddle. Nonbook Materials: The Organization of Integrated Collections. 3rd ed. Ottawa: Canadian Library Association, 1989.

Wynar, Bohdan S. Introduction to Cataloging and Classification. 8th ed., by Arlene G. Taylor. Englewood, Colo.: Libraries Unlimited, 1992.

copyright 1995