Centralized cataloging refers to the process of creating and maintaining a catalog of library materials in a central location, rather than at each individual library. In a centralized cataloging system, a central organization is responsible for creating and maintaining the catalog records for all the materials in the participating libraries’ collections.
Centralized cataloging has several advantages over decentralized cataloging, in which each library is responsible for creating and maintaining its own catalog records. Some of the benefits include:
- Consistency: Centralized cataloging ensures that all catalog records are created using the same standardized cataloging rules and systems, which results in a more consistent and accurate catalog.
- Efficiency: By centralizing the cataloging process, libraries can take advantage of economies of scale and reduce duplication of effort.
- Quality: Centralized cataloging allows for more specialized catalogers to handle the cataloging of specific types of materials, which can lead to higher quality catalog records.
- Access: Centralized cataloging makes it possible for patrons to search the collections of multiple libraries at once, which increases access to materials.
Centralized cataloging is often used in library consortia, in which several libraries work together to share resources and provide patrons with access to a larger collection of materials. It can also be used by larger libraries with multiple branches, to provide a unified access to the materials of all branches in one catalog.
In summary, Centralized cataloging is the process of creating and maintaining a catalog of library materials in a central location, where a central organization is responsible for creating and maintaining the catalog records for all the materials in the participating libraries’ collections. This process offers several advantages over decentralized cataloging, such as consistency, efficiency, quality, and access. Centralized cataloging is often used in library consortia and large libraries with multiple branches.