Online Cataloging Resources for the School Library

Cataloging in General MARC Formats Authorities Presentations MARC: Beyond the Basics ppt Electronic Resources

"Details are all there are". -  Maezumi

"We think in generalities, but we live in detail". -  Alfred North Whitehead

"No amount of genius can overcome a preoccupation with detail".  -   Levy's Eighth Law

Jesse Shera's Two Laws of Cataloguing:
Law #1  No cataloguer will accept the work of any other cataloguer.
Law #2  No cataloguer will accept his/her own work six months after the cataloguing.

"Cataloging rules and their application change over time because knowledge is growing, changing, and developing. While cataloging has rules, practices and a legacy, the application of the rules is an art that requires the ability to balance the rules with experience and the needs of the library.
Cataloging is both a science and an art.
A process based on rules and practices is a science.
A process applying those rules to the needs of a particular library is an art.
Two catalogers may both follow the rules and create different catalog records that are both correct. A "cataloger" not following the rules may create a situation that makes if difficult for readers to find books in the future. Cataloging is a process to communicate with library users at a future moment.
The difference between a collection of books and a library is the organization and cataloging. The skill of the cataloger is understanding the world of books and knowledge and the ability to organize and describe them based on rules to enable readers to find them. This adds value to the books and makes the collection more valuable.
-- Daniel Stuhlman, Stuhlman Management Consultants   (
Visit The Librarian's Lobby for more words of wisdom from Daniel Stuhlman!
Library Cataloguing Aids -
This site stands on its own as a directory of tools to help the cataloger. Most of the sites linked and annotated below are accessible from this wonderful page "compiled by Lynne LeGrow, Cataloguer - Halifax Public Libraries Nova Scotia, Canada."


Cataloger's Reference Shelf -
The Library Corporation provides the Cataloger's Reference Shelf provides cataloging resources including MARC Data Formats (bibliographic data, authority data, classification data, and community information); MARC Code Lists (countries, geographic areas, languages, relators, sources, and description conventions); Other Reference Manuals (Archival moving image materials: a cataloging manual, Cataloging rules for the description of loose-leaf publications, CONSER cataloging manual, CONSER editing guide, Descriptive cataloging of rare books, Graphic materials: rules for describing original items and historical collections, LC classification outline, LC Cutter tables, Library of Congress rule interpretations, LCSH: Principles of structure and policies for application, Map cataloging manual, and NACO participants' manual); and Subject Cataloging Manuals (classification, shelflisting, and subject headings).
Cataloging and Processing: A Resource for School Library Personnel -
This web site provides an index to the manual published by the Manitoba (Canada) Ministry of Education and Training. The table of contents includes the following chapters: Library Organization; Rules and Authorities; Organizing a School Library; Automation; Descriptive Cataloguing; Subject Headings; Classification; Audiovisual Materials; Typing Catalogue Cards; Filing Cards; Processing; MARC Cataloguing for Manitoba School Libraries; Sources of MARC Records; and appendices: Abbreviations; Glossary; and Bibliography. The whole document (143 pages) is available for downloading (pdf/262KB)
Cataloging Internet Resources: A Manual and Practical Guide -
A beautiful online cataloging manual kept up-to-date by the Online Computer Library Center.
Cataloging MP3s: The Sound of Things to Come? -
This article from the MC Journal: The Journal of Academic Media Librarianship (v.7, n.2; Fall 2000) considers some of the issues involved in cataloging these downloadable audio files.
Cataloging Templates -
These PDF files provide very useful templates for cataloging books, electronic resources (not web sites), kits, sound recordings, and video recordings.
Cataloguer's Toolbox -
This is a terrific web site maintained by a university technical processing department. Links are provided to many tools by activity: Authority work, Catalogue maintenance, Classification, Cuttering, Description, Language Handling, Management / Training, MARC record manipulation, and Subject analysis. Also to tools by format: Archival materials, Books, Cartographic materials, E-journals, Gov docs, Music, Rare books, Remote electronic resources, Serials, Theses & dissertations, and Visual materials. And tools by subject: Art, Law, and Medicine. Memorial University of Newfoundland.
Dewey Services -
This is the home page for the Dewey Decimal System at the OCLC. It does not include the entire DDC but it does provide regular updates to the System at: Stay current with ongoing updates to the DDC. The DDC is now available on a subscription basis via the web at WebDewey. Another free resource from OCLC is Classify, a site where you can search for materials and find out how others inWorldCat have classified them in both Dewey and LC.
A Guide to Cataloging DVDs -
This guide, available in both HTML and PDF formats, gives instructions on how to catalog these nonprint items which are becoming more and more common in libraries. Instructions are based on AACR2 Chapters 7 (DVD Videos) and Chapter 9 (DVD-ROMs). Developed by a committee of academic librarians from a number of American universities. (The Libraries of the State University of New York at Buffalo)
Mapping New LCSH with DDC Numbers -
As new Library of Congress subject heading are announced DDC maps them to specific numbers. This page gives access to the weekly updates offered by this service.
Open Directory Project: Cataloging - [ ]
This directory of web sites about cataloging provides access to more Internet sites where you can continue to explore the wonderful world of cataloging.
Parts of a Book (and Other Cataloguing Definitions) -
Short list of terms used in describing books. Lynne LeGrow.
Technical Processing Online Tools -
This comprehensive website provides links to online resource to help with all technical processing tasks including cataloging. It is maintained by library staf at the University of California, San Diego. Included on the site is: Electronic Resources Cataloging - This page provides access to links on various sites about how to catalog electronic resources or what were previously referred to as "computer files." Specific pages refer to online cataloging guidelines, cataloging of materials available through direct access and remote access, and other kinds of online cataloging resources.
The Whimsy of Cataloging -
"'I want to be a cataloger.'  For a lot of library school students – and many librarians – that seems to be as appealing a statement of career purpose as 'I want to be a crash test dummy' or 'I want to clean up after the elephants at the circus.'  Many students dread their required cataloging class as if it were a root canal. So why would anyone possibly choose to spend their life as a cataloger?" This site is part of the Library & Information Science Professional's Career Development Center.
PBS MARC Records -
Download MARC records in both html and MS Word format for PBS programs here.


All Media Guide: Comprehensive Database of Music, Film, and Games -
Looking for names of performers, producers, etc. or titles of films, music, musical groups, etc.? This comprehensive entertainment database consists of several separate files, which overlap and contain links to each other: All music guide (, Classical search (, All movie guide (, and All game guide ( This collection of web sites covers the individuals associated with over 430,000 popular sound recordings, over 70,000 classical sound recordings and over 160,000 movie titles. Databases are interlinked so that searching for someone who is in one file links the user to the other databases where the person is found also.
Library of Congress Authorities -
This is the granddaddy of authority files. The "big red books" are now online and provide links to authority records for subjects, names, titles, and name/titles. Even if you use Sears subject headings this is useful because you can see many more relationships among subject headings looking at the authority records from LC.
Library of Congress Catalog -
This one is pretty obvious but don't forget to open up the "Full Record" or the MARC record for full cataloging information.
MARC 21 Authority Records for GASFD Genre Terms - [tiny url]
From the Association for Library Collections & Technical Services, this web page provides access to information about the GSAFD (Guidelines on Subject Access to Individual Works of Fiction, Drama, Etc.) headings now placed in the 655 field of the MARC record. "The Guidelines constitute a recommendation for national standard practice in the provision of genre and subject access to individual works of fiction, drama, poetry, humor, and folklore in all formats [including film, radio and television]." There is a link <> to a downloadable file of the authority headings as well as a text version of the authority records which prints out to about 33 pages.


Understanding MARC Bibliographic: Machine Readable Cataloging -
This comprehensive 46 page document gives a good introduction to MARC cataloging. Originally developed by Follett Software Company it now resides at the Library of Congress web site. Chapters include: What is a MARC record and why is it important?; and reference materials including lists of MARC fields and their uses, a sample record in various formats, AV records, and a bibliography. There is a short review, "MARC 21 Content Designators," at the end of the document (and which is reproduced at the bottom of this page) to help reinforce the concepts presented. Also available in Korean, Portuguese, Spanish and Russian translations.

MARC Standards -
This page lists links to various documents which help in formatting MARC records according to standards set by the Library of Congress Network Development and MARC Standards Office. "The MARC formats are standards for the representation and communication of bibliographic and related information in machine-readable form." Links are provided to the following: MARC en ESPAÑOL; Understanding MARC Bibliographic -- a brief description and tutorial (see entry above); General information; MARC Formats; MARC Development; MARC in XML; MARC and FRBR; MARC Records, Systems and Tools.
MARC 21 Concise Format for Authority Data -
All the information you could possibly want for how to properly develop your authority database.
Specifications for Record Structure, Character Sets, and Exchange Media -
Describes the structure of MARC 21 records, the character repertoires and encodings used, and the formatting of records for exchange on via electronic file transfer, diskettes, and magnetic tape. This document provides technical information on these topics and is intended for the use of personnel involved in the design and maintenance of systems for the exchange and processing of MARC 21 records.
Tag of the Month -
"Need help understanding MARC tags? Turn to Tag of the Month. This helpful resource features a new topic every month, including a description of the tag's uses and working examples." Follett Software


Integrating Resources: A Cataloging Manual -
This comprehensive 141 page document is the latest manual used by LOC to catalog integrating resources. A bibliographic resource that is added to or changed by means of updates that do not remain discrete and are integrated into the whole; can be finite or continuing. Examples include updating loose-leafs and updating Web sites (AACR2). The main characteristic of an integrating resource is that the updates are integrated into the resource as a whole and do not remain as discrete parts. This characteristic distinguishes them from serials, the other type of continuing resource, which are issued in a succession of discrete parts.
Cataloging Electronic Resources: OCLC-MARC Coding Guidelines -
This set of guidelines is intended to assist catalogers in creating records for electronic resources in WorldCat, the OCLC Online Union Catalog. These guidelines pertain to OCLC-MARC tagging (that is, content designation). Cataloging rules and manuals (such as AACR2) govern the content of records.
Guidelines for the Use of Field 856 -
Field 856 in the MARC 21 bibliographic, holdings, authority, classification, and community information formats is used for electronic location and access information to an electronic resource. The field may be used in a bibliographic or holdings record for a resource when it or a subset of it is available electronically. In addition, it may be used to locate and access an electronic version of a non-electronic resource described in either the bibliographic record, a portion of the resource described, or a related electronic resource. This paper gives guidelines on the use of field 856 and is current as of March 2003.
Specifications for Record Structure, Character Sets, and Exchange Media -
Describes the structure of MARC 21 records, the character repertoires and encodings used, and the formatting of records for exchange on via electronic file transfer, diskettes, and magnetic tape. This document provides technical information on these topics and is intended for the use of personnel involved in the design and maintenance of systems for the exchange and processing of MARC 21 records.
Tag of the Month -
"Need help understanding MARC tags? Turn to Tag of the Month. This helpful resource features a new topic every month, including a description of the tag's uses and working examples." Follett Software

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Created by the Bessie Chin Library webspinner: August 2004; updated October 2004. Return to Librarian's Help Page |
© Tom Kaun, Library Media Teacher -- Bessie Chin Library @ Redwood High School, 395 Doherty Drive, Larkspur, CA 94939 -- 415-945-3662