When I talk to new librarians, one of the most common questions I get is “How do I catalog?,” or “What is a MARC record?” Understanding MARC records and cataloging can be complicated, especially if you’ve never been formally trained. Even if you took a cataloging class in library school, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the small details.
I have a philosophy regarding cataloging that may not be shared by everyone. Cataloging can become time-consuming and take us away from other, more important things we should be doing (like teaching, collection development, etc). As I’ve said before, we all need to remember that the catalog police does not exist! No one is going to come take away your degree or take away your job if your catalog isn’t up to a certain standard. So do your best to create a catalog that is consistent and easily searched by your students, but don’t feel guilty or incompetent if isn’t perfect.
Here are some links I hope you find helpful:
Don’t know what a MARC record is? Then start here…
- Understanding MARC (Library of Congress)
Here are some cataloging links specifically for school librarians…
- Six Tools to Simplify Cataloging (Joyce Valenza / School Library Journal)
- Essential Links: Cataloging & Classification (AASL)
- Cataloging 101: Cataloging Made (Almost) Easy (AASL)
- Guidelines for Standardized Cataloging for Children (ALCTS)
- Catalog It! A Guide to Cataloging School Library Materials by Allison Kaplan & Ann Marlow Riedling
Finally, I want thank everyone for the positive feedback regarding the first interview in my Interview With a School Librarian series. I already have five more interviews completed and scheduled to be published in the coming weeks. I would love to make this an ongoing series, so please let me know if you’re interested in being interviewed. If youvwork in school libraries, I want to talk to you regardless of your experience, education, or title.
How do you feel about cataloging? Please leave any thoughts or useful resources in the comments below!