Heads of Cataloging Discussion Group
(ALCTS Cataloging and Classification Section)
ALA Midwinter 2001

The discussion topic was “When former copycatalogers become paraprofessionals: issues of transition.” Elaine Franco (UC Davis) introduced the topic with a report from UC Davis on original cataloging by what they call “special copy catalogers” (a paraprofessional rank) and the shift of responsibilities for faculty catalogers toward workflow management, training and revision, and policy setting. Ten years ago, Davis did its cataloging on RLIN and had a list of “good” libraries from whom copy was assumed to be acceptable with minimal revision. Now, the situation is more complex as sources of copy have diversified. Training forums are held on such topics as corporate entry, OCLC guidelines on when to make a new record, and printing vs. edition, with trainees encouraged to bring examples. Areas still done by original catalogers include special collections, analytics for collections (microform and other), new formats, and archives.

At Indiana, non-MLS catalogers do authenticated CONSER records, NACO work, Enhance on OCLC but not BIBCO. Technical services went through a major reorganization about two years ago which made the shift in responsibilities easier. Indiana had used students to do easy copy cataloging but found it troublesome and stopped using students.

Other practices used at various institutions:

Contrary to NYU practice where senior copy catalogers mostly work with harder holdings and workflow, many other institutions emphasize training for complex copy (including related edition and upgrade to AACR2 with authority searching).