Production Benchmarks for Catalogers in Academic Libraries: Are We There Yet?

By Charbonneau, Mechael D. | Library Resources & Technical Services, January 2005 | Go to article overview

Production Benchmarks for Catalogers in Academic Libraries: Are We There Yet?


Charbonneau, Mechael D., Library Resources & Technical Services


This paper examines existing library and personnel literature to determine whether any strides have been made among academic libraries in determining cataloging productivity benchmarks. The perceived importance of performance evaluations based on quantitative and qualitative standards is explored, as is the intended effect of established cataloging production norms. The pros and cons of cataloging benchmarks are analyzed from four different perspectives: library administration, library human resources, cataloging managers, and cataloging staff The paper concludes that additional research is needed in order to determine whether established production cataloging benchmarks are feasible and meaningful within academic libraries.

**********

In the library field, we seem to have been generally hesitant to discuss productivity, and even more reluctant to compare libraries or staff in terms of individual or institutional production data. While the library literature has regularly publicized figures for library budget dollars allocated and works circulated per year per capita of user population, little attention is given to reporting library production data linked to cost or staff and attempts to propose the publication of library performance data for purposes of comparison have not been popular propositions.--Judith Jamison Senkevitch, "Analyzing Productivity in the Era of Accountability."

With increasing frequency, heads of cataloging operations within academic libbraries receive surveys in the mail, e-mail messages from colleagues, and read postings on electronic discussion lists that begin:

   Within the Technical Services Department here at X University, we
   have started to grapple with the idea of setting general production
   benchmarks for cataloging staff. I would appreciate if you would
   share any standards or benchmarks that you currently have in place
   or the outcome of debate.

In the current environment of dwindling budgets and increasing focus on individual and institutional accountability within the workplace, renewed discussions about establishing formal cataloging productivity benchmarks are not surprising. And yet, the debate surrounding this topic appears to be just as controversial today as it was three decades ago.

A benchmark is a standard by which something is measured or evaluated. The term "production benchmarks" refers to an established set of criteria developed to measure and compare quantitative and qualitative output. In the manufacturing world, benchmarking helps determine the standards that will be used to create a product, evaluate how effectively the product or the individuals creating the product meet the defined standards, and increase overall productivity. Cataloging production benchmarks are the standards or norms designed to evaluate cataloging output. Cataloging output is defined in terms of quantity (number of items cataloged) and quality (accuracy and uniformity of the intellectual work performed). This paper examines the various issues surrounding the implementation of cataloging production benchmarks in academic libraries from several perspectives.

No one would argue with the idea that managers of cataloging operations are responsible for making sure that their staff are fully trained, have the tools they need to do their jobs, and are organized effectively, and that workflows are smooth. All would agree that a successful manager monitors the situation within a cataloging unit on a daily basis to ensure that the work is getting done and that backlogs do not develop. This cannot be accomplished without managers focusing much of their attention on cataloging productivity. However, when asked to define or set measurable cataloging production benchmarks, many managers are reluctant or unable to do so.

As a profession, we are often accused of spending too much time focusing on the quality of the final cataloged product instead of on than quantity of cataloged records we produce. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Production Benchmarks for Catalogers in Academic Libraries: Are We There Yet?
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.