A cataloger is a professional who is responsible for creating and maintaining the library catalog, which is a comprehensive and organized list of all the materials available in a library’s collection. This includes books, journals, magazines, newspapers, videos, audio recordings, and other types of materials. The cataloger’s main task is to ensure that the catalog is accurate, complete, and up-to-date, which allows users to easily locate and access the materials they need.
To do this, catalogers use a variety of tools and techniques, including:
- Metadata and cataloging standards, such as MARC (Machine-Readable Cataloging) and RDA (Resource Description and Access), to create accurate and consistent catalog records
- Authority files, such as the Library of Congress Name Authority File, to ensure that proper names and subject headings are used consistently
- Classification systems, such as Dewey Decimal and Library of Congress, to organize materials into logical categories
- Library automation systems, such as integrated library systems (ILS) to store, maintain and retrieve catalog data.
In addition to cataloging new materials, catalogers also review and update existing catalog records, ensuring that they are accurate and up-to-date. They also assist users with searching the catalog and locating materials, and may provide training on how to use the catalog effectively. Catalogers may also work with other library staff to develop and implement policies and procedures related to cataloging and classification.