Cataloging Electronic Resources and Metadata: Employers' Expectations as Reflected in American Libraries and AutoCAT, 2000-2005

Article excerpt

The institutional roles of libraries evolved from that of local resource repositories to global gateways for access by the new millennium. Twenty-first century library users demand access to electronic materials. Library school students and employers articulate expectations for entry-level cataloger positions that include understandings and familiarities with a theoretical basis for cataloging e-resources. Therefore, entry-level catalog librarian position announcements provide insight into requirements regarding graduate education, expertise, and preferred preparations for these positions. This empirical research study explores 266 entry-level cataloger position announcements published during a five-year period in order to determine the importance of cataloging e-resources as articulated by employers. A rigorous content analysis methodology enabled the researcher to identify employers' expectations and requirements among public, special, and academic libraries. Recommendations include the expansion of cataloging courses, addition of metadata schema to LIS course offerings, and the need for increased numbers of faculty teaching in these areas.


Much of the future relevance for libraries will be derived from the services they provide, especially those functions of identifying, organizing, and providing access to information resources with no distinction made regarding ownership or delivery method.1 During the closing decades of the last century, the institutional roles of libraries evolved from that of local resource repositories to global gateways for access.2 In her discussion of the continual change and updating of electronic resources (e-resources) and their impact on libraries, Younger states that "there is no escaping the fact that technology has moved us into a transition from a print-based world to an era in which scholarly discourse will be conducted largely within a globally networked electronic environment."3 Consequently, library users challenge librarians to provide immediate access from anywhere.4

To meet these challenges, Atkinson encouraged librarians to study the changing needs of the academic community and to design services that will meet those needs more effectively than services offered by other agencies inside or outside of academe.5 The symbiotic relationships among reference, acquisitions, and cataloging functions establish a foundation and foster an inevitable fusion of these operations. Librarians have had to rethink assumptions about which materials to hold locally, new resource sharing relationships, consortial partnerships and document delivery packages from commercial sources.6

Twenty-first century library users demand access to electronic materials. They use computers to search and receive information, create documents, and communicate with others. Libraries are increasingly spending collection development funds for current online access in lieu of purchasing print materials.7 In addition, librarians handle manifestations in an increasing array of physical formats, depend on adynamic diversity among technologies to access materials, and face the implications of providing information support in an environment in which physical remoteness becomes the rule rather than the exception.8

Expanding access beyond the resources in local and regional collections to libraries worldwide have presented significant and unique issues to librarians. E-resources have already overtaken print resources in their importance to research library collections. Scholars want broad access to digitally reformatted materials and use and prefer information that can be accessed from desktops, especially finding aids, catalogs, abstract and indexing services, and online journals. Gray literature is available with a few keystrokes.9

Librarians have to determine how best to provide access, incorporating e-resources (particularly e-journals) into traditional collection development policies and determining how electronic materials should be indexed and cataloged. …


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