Conversations with Catalogers in the 21st Century

By Elaine R. Sanchez | Go to book overview

9    CATALOG AND METADATA LIBRARIAN:
A FOOT IN BOTH WORLDS

Lynnette M. Fields

Catalog librarians are trained to make description and access decisions about materials and information. Currently, these decisions are based on the AngloAmerican Cataloguing Rules, second edition (AACR2) and MARC21. Metadata librarians also make description and access decisions, and even though the decisions are based on different standards, they require some of the same thought processes. This essay will focus on the challenges I faced as a long-time cataloger transitioning into a metadata librarian, while retaining catalog librarian responsibilities. It can be difficult doing both, especially when dealing with the unfamiliar procedures and the proliferating standards involved in creating metadata, but there are also advantages. A strong understanding of the basic concepts of cataloging can be very helpful when trying to learn the basic concepts of metadata creation; and understanding metadata creation can inspire a cataloger to take a look at traditional cataloging workflows with a different eye.

My experience as a cataloger encompasses over twenty-five years. This tenure includes ten years managing a cataloging department, teaching cataloging as an adjunct instructor and as a cataloging trainer for a private company that provides MARC training, software, and database processing services for catalogers, libraries, and library vendors. Throughout my career, I have kept up with cataloging standards and cataloged materials in all formats.

In January 2009, I began my current position as a catalog and metadata librarian at Southern Illinois University–Edwardsville (SIUE), a medium-sized Midwestern university. The primary responsibilities of the job are original and adaptive metadata creation and cataloging in all formats, including serials, utilizing OCLC, CONTENTdm Digital Collection Management Software and Voyager, focusing on serials, nonprint, and special-format materials. While

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