News in 2016

Latest updates: April 2016
Roles and responsibilities of cataloguers
And what cataloguers get up to when their services are no longer required

Latest updates: February 2016
Cataloguers should be thinking about competency skills in the fundamentals of RDF

News in 2015

Latest updates: 14 December 2015
Useful description of the role of a cataloguer from CILIP
ALA MidWinter mashcat event

News in 2014

Latest updates: 27 October 2014
Cataloguers as leaders: An interview

Latest updates: 20 January 2014
Cataloguers! Use your skills to help make those WW1 diaries searchable!

Latest updates: 6 January 2014
A cataloguing blog

News in 2013
Latest updates: 30 September 2013
The next ALCTS e-forum will be a discussion on Technical Services staff working in a front-facing role
The 10 essential qualities of a cataloguer

Latest updates: 23 September 2013
Not sure if I've listed this anywhere before, so here is a link to the prestigious journal, Cataloging and Classification Quarterly.
10 qualities for success!

Latest updates: 8 April 2013
Excellent blog post on the importance of cataloguers and the training of cataloguers

Latest updates: 25 February 2013
The future of cataloguing
Cataloguers and blogging

Latest updates: 18 February 2013
Interesting thoughts on cataloguing
Cataloguing hidden collections

Latest updates: 18 June 2012
What is expected of cataloguers?

Latest updates: 24 May 2012
Serving users - from a "backroom" perspective.
Further thoughts from a cataloguer on serving users.

Latest updates: 20 February 2012
Cataloguers learning to programme. Some support sites for codeacademy

Latest updates: 23 January 2012
Who should be doing the cataloguing?
Report of the session held on 21 January 2012 by ALCTS for copy cataloguers

Latest updates: 16 January 2012
For the age of digitisation, more thoughts on the role of cataloguers

Latest updates: 22 December 2011
Do we all use coloured slips?
Learning to live with "good enough"
How to catalogue a puppy!

Latest updates: 4 November 2011
We need humour!

Latest updates: 4 August 2011
2010 paper on the development of AACR - way back when!

Latest updates: 1 August 2011
Look out for the June 2012 issue of this journal!
Look no further than here for a list of authoritative cataloguing resources
Someon blogging their thoughts on cataloguing

Latest updates: 31 July 2011
Explanation (2011) of a survey from 2010 on what cataloguers think about their profession
And here are the results
Rivalry? Between Public Services and technical Services? Surely not! Some interesting thoughts!

Latest updates: 29 June 2011

Archive of material shared at webinar: Cataloguing efficiencies that make a difference.

Latest updates: 22 June 2011

Working in a 21st century technical services department

Potential skills needed by 21st century librarians

Definition and discussion of descriptive catalgouing

Set of slides outlining descriptive cataloguing

Latest updates: 15 June 2011

Suggestions for cataloguing efficiencies

Suggestions for good cataloguing practice

One person's experience of cataloguing training

Latest updates: 25 May 2011

Skills for the cataloguers of today

Latest updates: 11 May 2011

How cataloguers prefer to learn

More on how people learn

Latest updates: 13 April 2011

Looking back to look forward? An article on cataloguers from 2007

Latest updates: 16 March 2011

A slide presentation on new workflows for new generation libraries

Fantastic site for helping you keep up-to-date with all that is happening

A great post on the raison d'etre of being a cataloguer

The value and role of the cataloguer according to ALCTS

Are you a cataloguer or an applied metaphysician?

Latest updates: 26 January 2011

Looks who's over at high visibility cataloguing!

Latest updates: 19 January 2011

Who might be the patron saint of cataloguing?

Co-operation amongst library staff


Preamble to link below.

The role of the cataloguer in 21st century – preamble

Since this article was written there has been much in the professional press about the changing role of cataloguers, particularly in these economically difficult times. Of especial relevance was the article by David Bennett (2009a), which tackled the idea of seeking new avenues for “back room” staff, and the follow-up blog article (2009b) which concentrated on the marketing of “back room” staff and their activities. In her article Kealy (2009) discusses the importance of identifying skills gaps in her library service with a view to ensuring that all library staff (not just cataloguers) have the skills needed for the future. Further enhancements of the cataloguer’s role are suggested by Meagher and Brown (2009).

The value of social tagging has been the subject of enormous debate, as has the development of new generation OPACs and resource discovery systems, all areas where the expertise of the cataloguers can be tapped into. Electronic resource management, usage statistics, digital preservation and the digitising of educational resources are also areas in which cataloguers can prove use their skills.

More recently, Harris and Carty (2010) have striven to improve the general awareness of what cataloguers can do and how they can help develop library services of the 21st century. Their joint High-Visibility Cataloguing blog (2010) is an attempt to both promote and raise the profile of the role of cataloguers to library staff in general and to encourage cataloguers to emerge from their “back rooms” to help provide a dynamic and valued library service.

  1. Bennett, David E. (2009) Principles of assertive action: how to go about getting what you want. Philoslibris [WWW] David E. Bennett. Available from: [Accessed: 20 December 2010].
  2. Bennett, David E. (2009) Where next for the back room? Gazette, 11-24 September, pp. 19
  3. Harris, Venessa and Carty, Celine (2010) High visibility cataloguing [WWW] Venessa Harris and Celine Carty. Available from: [Accessed: 20 December 2010]
  4. Harris, Venessa and Carty, Celine (2010) Show and tell. Gazette, 2 December, pp. 15
  5. Kealy, Karen (2009) Do library staff have what it takes to be a librarian of the future? Library Management, Vol. 30, No. 8/9, pp. 572-582
  6. Meagher, Elizabeth S. and Brown, Christopher C. (2009) Turned loose in the OPAC: URL selection, addition, and management process. Library Hi Tech, Vol. 28, Iss. 3, pp. 360 – 376

Role of cataloguers in the 21st century

Latest update: 12 January 2011
Feeling flush? New book on cataloguing just published!

Today's update: 10 December 2010
The life of an unemployed cataloguer
A whimsical view of cataloguers!

Today's update: 8 December 2010
A "high-visibility" blog for cataloguers!
The cataloguers of today
Is there a need for cataloguers?
This is precisely why we catalogue to the nth degree - for the day when our OPAC can use and display the information we've fed it!
And, Dewey, LC, Ranganathan - and Waterstones!

Today's update: 7 December 2010
A cataloguer's view of the future of catalogues and cataloguers.
The role of cataloguers in the 21st century

Today's update: 29 November 2010
One person's view of what it's like to be a cataloguer!

Today's update: 10 August 2010
An account from someone who's been in cataloguing for 50 years!

Today's update: 16 June 2010
The value of cataloguers!


Getting on in the world of work

The acceleration trap in cataloguing departments

Today's update: 26 April 2010
MARC in a digital world

Today's update: 13 April 2010
So, how are your programming skills?

Today's update: 8 February 2010
Apparently, 2010 is the year of cataloguing research!

Today's update: 11 January 2010
So much information on what cataloguers of the future will be doing. Here's a blog that enthuses about something we already do!

Today's update: 8 December 2009


RDA to be published June 2010

*What next for the backroom

Following on from his article in the Gazette (Where next for the back room? 11-24 September 2009, pp. 19) David E Bennett makes further comments in his blog on the future of backroomservices.

Today's update: 11 November 2009

*Cataloguing in the future

How might cataloguing on the web look?

Today's update: 30 September 2009

*What makes a good cataloguer?

If you are looking to employ a cataloguer, are there any specific qualities that you should be looking for to ensure you get the best possible cataloguer?

Today's update: 25th August 2009

*New roles for media cataloguers

Presentation on new opportunities

*How to keep up-to-date

The role of the cataloguer in the 21st century is changing - keep up!

*Cataloguers and metadata

Buried deep in this presentation is the idea of cataloguers improving metadata, particularly for virtual or digitised images, using LCSH.

*Roles for cataloguers

A presentation from Jennifer Bowen at the ALA conference 2008, on the eXtensible Catalog Project.

*More new roles for cataloguers

A presentation from Charlene Chou at Columbia University Libraries on new roles for cataloguers

*What skills are expected?

A paper outlining some research that was done on what skills an entry-level cataloguer was expected to have.

*Benefits of public-facing duties

Article on what how a cataloguer can expect to benefit from working on enquiry desks - and the benefits to an enquiry service from using cataloguers to staff the enquiry desk.

*New cataloguing models

An article by Robert Wolven of Columbia University on the need to change the model of cataloguing.

*Future of cataloguing

A presentation from the BL on the future of cataloguing, with a focus on what the BL do. This is from 2007, but maintains relevance.

*Future of cataloguing paper

A paper on the future of cataloguing from Indiana University (2006) which again remains relevant today.

*Roles for cataloguers

This short paper (2007) contains a useful reminder (in section 4) about "database management", including authority control and re-classification, and highlights the wide variety of resources that are now being catalogued, for example, webpages. Reference is also made to Omekwu's previous paper (2005, published 2008 in The Electronic Library*) in which he identified 26 roles for cataloguers.
*I have a paper copy of this article if anyone is interested in reading it).

*Blogs for librarians

A list of someone's top 100 blogs for librarians

*Musings of a library studies student

A library studies student's thoughts on cat and class

*Specifically cataloguers!

Musings on cataloguing.

*Not just cataloguers!

Blogs for librarians.

*LC report

LC report on the future of bibliographic control (quite old and possibly superseded (see RIN report below))

*Report on bibliographic record production

Quite a long document produced by RIN (Research Information Network - see also Miscellaneous, Social Bookmarking) on the production of bibliographic records.

*What will you be using?

In the future will you be using your lms or WorldCat Local?

*Cataloguing workflow

The re-design of cataloguing workflow at BL

*Cataloguing teams

Is the idea of cataloguing teams, as at LC, transferrable to other institutions?

*Standards for cataloguers

Standards from OCLC for their cataloguers.


Skills for the cataloguer of the future and a simplified list!

*The future of cataloguing

Interesting musings on the future of cataloguing and cataloguers, mentioning RDA, FRBR, metadata etc..

*Cataloguing scenarios

Pop over to the Dublin Core Metadata Initiative for some possible cataloguing scenarios.


Finally, cataloguing is being recognised for the valuable contribution it is making to current information retrieval ...

*New classification scheme!

Those developers over at LibraryThing are dissatisfied with traditional library classification schemes, like DDC, LOC, UDC etc. so are considering developing their own, called Open Shelves Classification.
Further information can be found on the dedicated OSC LibraryThing wiki.

*Future roles for cataloguers

Article on the changing role of the cataloguer and what they might expect to do in the future!

*The future of catalogues

Article on the changing nature of catalogues.

*Cataloguing or metaloguing?

Karen Calhoun, Vice President, WorldCat and Metadata Services for OCLC, talks in her blog about the transition from traditional cataloguing to what she calls metaloguing.

*De-skilling or re-skilling?

A survey on the future of cataloguing in Australia and New Zealand.

*Metaloguers? In 1996?

Way back in 1996, the ROADS project (an elib funded project) was talking about the demise of cataloguing and MARC!