Absolutely no surprise Elizabeth that that was the gist of cataloging education at your institution, I believe that the Univ. of Washington remains one of maybe two or three library schools that still offer true cataloging courses beyond the broad, generic "information organization" class that everyone has to take. And even so, there is little time to actually learn descriptive practices, classification, subject analysis and application of subject and/or genre headings, etc. in a classroom setting. I am fortunate to get the depth of experience that I did and yet it wasn't even close to "real life" when I landed my first cataloging position at the Univ. of Georgia. I encourage anyone coming into the cataloging profession to learn who the experienced catalogers are, near and far, and get connected. Beyond ALA and SLA organizations like the Online Audiovisual Catalogers Inc. are so valuable. Learn your skillset and then in time turn and help other new catalogers joining the ranks. Ignore the naysayers and don't despair because you will find members of the cataloging profession by and large willing to share and teach and mentor.


From: Program for Cooperative Cataloging <[log in to unmask]> on behalf of Elizabeth Jarcy <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Tuesday, April 16, 2019 4:02 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [PCCLIST] Modified vendor records
As a recent MLS graduate who is now a professional cataloger, I just want to chime in and say I hardly learned about cataloging in library school. I remember after we discussed MARC in introduction to information organization I cried because I was so confused (the professor was not a cataloger). The actual cataloging classes were rarely offered, and weren’t offered during my attendance. I remember making a MARC record for an archival collection—the rest of the class found it a pointless activity in something they’ll “never use”.

I remember on a couple occasions my professors referring to catalogers dismissively, like catalogers don’t form the backbone of bibliographic access.

What I’m trying to say is that the lack of incoming catalogers starts at the base of library science education. It is not well-explained, either in how it actually works (MARC, RDA, AACR2, etc) or why it’s so very important. Catalogers are, for some reason, painted as crazy outliers by others in the library profession. It is both annoying and distressing.


On Apr 16, 2019, at 3:39 PM, Greta de Groat <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

And back in 1983 when i started library school, i was told not to go into cataloging, since it was a dead profession and shortly there would be no professional catalogers.



Greta de Groat
Stanford University Libraries

On 4/16/2019 12:31 PM, Stephen Early wrote:

Back in 1985, when I was preparing for library school, a librarian at my alma mater whom I interviewed for advice gave me the following: “if you want guaranteed employment once you get your MLS, study to be a cataloger, because no one wants to be a cataloger. Better yet, study to be a serials cataloger, because most catalogers don’t want to be serials catalogers.”  



Stephen T. Early


Center for Research Libraries

6050 S. Kenwood

Chicago, IL  60637

773-955-4545 x326

[log in to unmask]

CRL website:



From: Program for Cooperative Cataloging [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Ann Heinrichs
Sent: Tuesday, April 16, 2019 1:55 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [PCCLIST] Modified vendor records


At a conference I attended last year, tech services people discussed "succession planning" -- planning for, nurturing, and mentoring the next generation of catalogers. One issue was that fewer and fewer MLIS students want to be catalogers. (How could anyone resist the delicious field of cataloging?!) So there is both a dearth of the "pull" factor and a dearth of the "push" factor.


On Tue, Apr 16, 2019 at 1:38 PM John Gordon Marr <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

That’s typical, but how much of that attrition (in general) and the reduced number of catalogers (in general) has been due to budgetary constraints (themselves due to political decisions in funding bodies) and/or acceptance of vendor-provided catalog records that go unreviewed?


John G. Marr


Zimmerman Library

University of New Mexico

Albuquerque, NM 87010

[log in to unmask]


         **"I really like to know the reasons for what I do!"**

                                             Martha Watson


Opinions belong exclusively to the individuals expressing them, but sharing is permitted.




From: Program for Cooperative Cataloging <[log in to unmask]> On Behalf Of Beth Guay
Sent: Tuesday, April 16, 2019 11:13 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [PCCLIST] Modified vendor records


My institution had 14 catalog librarians (librarian and equivalent masters degrees), including those in supervisory roles. Today there are 6 by my count, including those in  supervisory roles.


My question is, do library administrators value cataloging as much as they once did? I had a conversation with an administrator whose eyes glazed over as I discussed how I work on catalog records one-at-a-time, on ***one name authority or series authority record one-at-a-time*** and so one ... So every year in my self evaluation I connect at least a few of these NACO "one at at timers" to the Libraries' collections and to their future value (that is the future value of the records once library linked data migration takes place) ... the good news is that we have faculty status at my institution, which means that in addition to administrators, a peer review committee from across the Libraries read what I write, and I know that they value my work ... 




Ann Heinrichs

Metadata/Cataloging Librarian | The Paul Bechtold Library

Catholic Theological Union

5401 S. Cornell Ave. | Chicago, IL 60615 |