6.1 Responsibilities of Catalogers


  • Carry the primary responsibility for the development and maintenance of those parts of the catalog that pertain to collections under their jurisdiction. This means all functions necessary for the creation and maintenance of the catalog* that are not assigned to paraprofessionals or authority control personnel.
  • Understand and effectively use standard tools for creating catalog records. Catalogers are responsible for their own continuing education and keep current on updates, developments and changes in standards and tools required for their work. This includes being proficient in all functions in our bibliographic utility (OCLC) such as merging records, setting or removing holdings, reporting errors, and having full functionality in creating and updating records.
  • Lead the way in researching new techniques and technologies for cataloging, share findings with colleagues, and make recommendations for implementation in department processes as appropriate.
  • Participate in national/international standards development as appropriate.
  • Identify standards changes that require modifications to the catalog, including data structures such as MARC and EAD. Catalogers also identify standards changes that necessitate the update of existing data elements or the addition of new data elements, and ensure these changes are implemented within in their areas of jurisdiction.
  • Coordinate with subject librarians and/or curators to ensure that bibliographic access, collection arrangement, and cataloging priorities meet reference and collection management needs.
  • Provide supervision to paraprofessionals and students under their direction. This includes reviewing and authorizing work as needed.
  • Perform original cataloging as required for collections assigned to them. Original cataloging includes 1) creation of a bibliographic record when no copy can be found in source files; 2) creation of a full bibliographic record when the only available copy is minimal, preliminary, or substandard; 3) reformatting available copy or re-cataloging to update standards or alter treatment.
  • Perform or direct copy cataloging in the following areas: 1) non-book materials, including serials; 2) rare or other special collections items; 3) items in non-roman scripts; 4) other foreign language material lacking copy at time of receipt; and 5) items with copy containing errors or problems beyond the scope of copy cataloging personnel.
  • Complete or refer processing of cataloged items: transfer the OCLC record into the local system, enter appropriate MARC holdings information, barcode, and create item records, and deliver to the lettering room.
  • Determine appropriate treatments for series or multipart monographs. In cases where the treatment (fully analyzed, traced, and classified separately) has already been established in the NACO file, paraprofessionals may process the items without consulting the cataloger. However, catalogers retain authority to change treatment to improve access or meet local needs.
  • Complete cataloging of items referred by paraprofessionals. This includes determining appropriate classification for items when no useable call number is found with copy, or when specialized classification is required, such as subject bibliography or Mormon literature.
  • Do all authority work related to their cataloging. This includes establishing unique access points for entities, resolving conflicts between new and existing access points, creating original authority records, and modifying existing authority records as needed.
  • Assist with retrospective conversion and reclassification of collections in their assigned subject areas.
  • Carry the final responsibility for resolution of problems and errors in their assigned areas. This includes maintaining the integrity of the catalog by identifying and correcting access point problems or referring them to authority personnel.
  • Have authority in all instances to alter bibliographic copy, treatments, or classification of previously cataloged materials in their assigned collections to achieve optimum bibliographic control and access.


Maintained by: John Wright

Last Updated: October 2020


*The term “catalog” includes Symphony, ArchivesSpace, CONTENTdm, and other databases where metadata are maintained by catalogers.

Location / Hours

The Catalog Department is located on Level 6 of the Harold B. Lee Library. The Department is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.