A White Paper on the
Future of Cataloging at
January 15, 2006
The Task Group on the Future of Cataloging was charged to identify current trends that will have a direct impact on cataloging operations and to define possible new roles for the online catalog and cataloging staff at Indiana University.
▪ Increase in the purchase of online resources and decline in purchased print materials for most disciplines, primarily in Western-European languages ▪ Growth and acceptance of open-access peer reviewed online publications ▪ Implementation of institutional repositories to support information access and preservation ▪ Mass commercial digitization ventures offering alternative ways for libraries and library users to access online content ▪ New developments in library services designed to meet the needs of a variety of diverse users in an ever changing environment ▪ Decreased economic support for libraries and collection budgets ▪ Increased reliance on outside vendors for services and products ▪ New focus on identifying unique locally-held collections for digitization and user discovery ▪ Continued importance of the online catalog within a distributed networked environment
The need for cataloging expertise within the I.U. Libraries will not be diminished in the coming years. Rather, catalogers of the future will work in the evolving environment of publishing, scholarly communication, and information technology in new expanded roles. Catalogers will need to be key players in addressing the many challenges facing the libraries and the overall management and organization of information at Indiana University.
The Task Group’s research over the past nine months has resulted in the identification of four university-wide or multi-campus strategic directions that should be pursued or explored further:
▪ Facilitate the formation of new partnerships between cataloging departments and other units, both internal and external to the libraries. ▪ Actively seek ways to build on catalogers existing expertise and expand their work into other forms of non-MARC metadata. ▪ Review internal cataloging operations at the local and system-wide levels with the goal of gaining improved efficiencies. ▪ Continue to monitor and prepare for the evolution of the online catalog.
At the Feb. 18, 2005 Council of Head Librarians (CHL) meeting, a discussion took place regarding a presentation made by Deanna B. Marcum (Associate Librarian for Library Services, Library of Congress) at the Ebsco Leadership Seminar held during the 2005 ALA Midwinter meeting in Boston.[i] Ms. Marcum’s paper centered on the future of cataloging in today’s world of internet access, improved indexing and retrieval tools, and mass digitization projects. At the conclusion of her remarks, Ms. Marcum issued a challenge to the library community to help redefine cataloging as we know it today by working towards a model more in line with the “world of Google.”[ii]
CHL recommended that a group be formed and charged to provide an overview of current trends in libraries and technical services, identify possible new roles for cataloging staff, and identify future strategies aimed at revitalizing cataloging operations at Indiana University. The final charges and list of task group members were approved by CHL in April 2005 and the group began its work in May.