The Cataloging Page

This page will discuss the overall objectives and flow of the cataloging work you'll be doing. There are also links to helpful cataloging resources.

In a very basic sense the catalog is a list of what the library owns. This list includes all sorts of formats (books, scores, sound recordings, videos, etc.) The thing that makes a library catalog more than a simple list is its organization & structure. The organization and structure of catalogs (and cataloging codes) is an evolutionary process; we'll not do a course in cataloging history here (bet you're glad about that!) but there are two things you should be familiar with...

One very influential statement of the objectives of a catalog are Cutter's Objectives. Cutter's objectives are still a powerful influence on the structure and purpose of catalogs. The other is the International Standard Bibliographic Description (aka ISBD). The ISBD is not a cataloging code, but rather, it specifies a standard order for the descriptive elements of a bibliograhic record. The ISBD also set forth a system of punctuation to be used in displaying those descriptive elements. This standard helps contribute to uniformity in cataloging, which makes it easier to use records from all over the world. The two ideas that you should take from the ISBD are: Areas of description and prescribed punctuation.

You should keep these overall objectives and standards in mind as you deal with the minutia of the task-- you know, the trees and the forest!

The process of cataloging involves using rules and standards to create/edit bibliographic records. These records consist of a description of the item in hand, subject heading(s) and access points. Another vital function of cataloging (or bibliographic control) is creating and maintaining the authority structure of the catalog.

Quick Reference

Ending Punctuation for Variable Fields
Note order for Score, Sound Recording and Book records


These charts will give you a general (graphic) idea of the cataloging process.

Bibliographic record Verification in OCLC
The bibliographic record in NOTIS