Automated cataloguing, also known as machine cataloging, is the process of using computers and software to create, edit, and maintain library catalog records. This process is used to automate many of the tasks involved in cataloging library materials, such as creating bibliographic records, assigning subject headings, and adding classification numbers.
Automated cataloging systems can be used to create records for a variety of library materials, including books, journals, newspapers, audio and video recordings, and digital materials. The systems can be used to import records from external sources, such as library vendors or other libraries, or to create records from scratch.
The main advantage of automated cataloging is that it can significantly reduce the time and resources required to catalog library materials. Automated cataloging systems can process large numbers of records quickly and accurately, which allows libraries to keep their catalogs up-to-date and to make their collections more discoverable to patrons.
Examples of automated cataloging systems include Integrated Library Systems (ILS), Library of Congress’s Cataloging Distribution Service (CDS), and the OCLC’s WorldCat. These systems can be used to create bibliographic records, assign subject headings, and assign classification numbers for materials in various formats, such as books, journals, and audio-visual materials.
It’s worth noting that even though automated cataloging can greatly improve the efficiency of the cataloging process, it’s not a replacement for human expertise and knowledge, as the automated system will require editing and review by cataloging experts to ensure the records are accurate, consistent, and meet the library’s standards.
There are several systems that are commonly used in automated cataloging in libraries, including:
- Integrated Library Systems (ILS): These systems are used to automate many aspects of library operations, including cataloging. An ILS typically includes a catalog module, which can be used to create and maintain bibliographic records for library materials, assign subject headings, and assign classification numbers.
- Cataloging Distribution Service (CDS): This service, provided by the Library of Congress, offers a variety of bibliographic data and cataloging products and services to libraries worldwide, including cataloging records, authority records, and classification numbers.
- OCLC’s WorldCat: OCLC WorldCat is a global catalog of library collections, holding records of books, articles, and other materials held by libraries worldwide. WorldCat can be used to import records from external sources, such as library vendors or other libraries, or to create records from scratch.
- MARC (Machine-Readable Cataloging) format: MARC is a standard format for the representation of bibliographic information in machine-readable form. Many automated cataloging systems use MARC format to create and maintain bibliographic records.
- Dublin Core: Dublin Core is a set of metadata element definitions and guidelines for encoding and transmitting metadata about online resources. It is widely used for describing resources available on the web, and some libraries use it for cataloging digital resources.
These systems can be used in different combinations and configurations depending on the specific needs of the library, and can be integrated with other systems such as financial systems, circulation systems, and acquisitions systems to improve the overall efficiency of the library.