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Cataloging Tools and Resources: Home

Overview of standards underlying library cataloging, with links to sources for the tools.

Cataloging Tools and Resources


Providing complete cataloging for a library collection requires simultaneous use of four, sometimes five, different standards and guides. This LibGuide will explain the tools needed, along with information on the sources for them.

Elements of Cataloging and Classification

To "catalog" a book or other form of library material involves several interrelated processes which all contribute to the achievement of Charles Ammi Cutter's "objects" for a catalog:

  • To enable a person to find a book of which the author, title, or subject is known
  • To show what the library has by a given author, on a given subject, or in a given kind of literature, and
  • To assist in the choice of a book.

(Adapted Rules for a Printed Dictionary Catalogue, by Charles Ammi Cutter, 4th ed., 1904, p. 12.)

Thus, catalogers prepare a description of an item, assign subject headings, determine a shelf location using a classification system, provide a link to the electronic item, if appropriate, and code that information with both MARC tags or metadata so that it may be displayed in local online catalogs and, if the library catalogs with OCLC, in WorldCat. Each element of the cataloging process is addressed in other tabs of this Guide, along with sources for the cataloging tools needed.

General Bibliography

Cataloging and Classification

The fourth edition of the late Lois Mai Chan's classic Cataloging and Classification covers the analysis and representation of methods used in describing, organizing, and providing access to resources made available in or through libraries. Since the last edition published in 2007, there have been dramatic changes in cataloging systems from the Library of Congress. The most notable being the shift from AACR2 to Resource Description and Access (RDA) as the new standard developed by the Library of Congress.

Introduction to Cataloging and Classification

A new edition of this best-selling textbook reintroduces the topic of library cataloging from a fresh, modern perspective. * Delineates the new cataloging landscape * Shares a principles-based perspective * Provides introductory text for beginners and intermediate students * Emphasizes descriptive and subject cataloging, as well as format-neutral cataloging * Covers new cataloging rules and RDA

Standard Cataloging for School and Public Libraries

A proven resource for librarians and students, this updated classic opens the door to understanding current library cataloging processes, shows you how to use them to create standard catalog records, and provides guidance in managing the cataloging workflow. * Describes today's new cataloging tools and shows how they are applied to real resources in various media, sharing numerous examples that illustrate the points raised * Explains the way library catalog records are produced for online catalogs * Describes MARC formats and explains how they relate to new metadata schemas such as MARC XML, the Dublin Core, and BIBFRAME * Discusses how to set goals and objectives, supervise others, evaluate outputs, and report to and interact with internal and external players in the world of libraries * Includes examples and illustrations of all tools and offers practice exercises to reinforce understanding

Sudden Position Guide to Cataloging and Metadata

Have you been given cataloging or metadata responsibilities in your library without formal training? Do you have experience cataloging one specific type of resource, and now you have been asked to catalog unfamiliar items? Or are you just beginning your library cataloging career and you aren’t sure where to find the help that you need? Sudden Position Guide to Cataloging and Metadata will be a good starting point to learn about the principles and standards of resource description in order to prepare you to tackle your new cataloging or metadata duties. Throughout this guide, many resources and tools are shared to help you have more success in your cataloging and metadata career.

Key Resources