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Library Technical Services: Cataloging

An informative guide for library staff

What is Cataloging

Cataloging is the process by which the LTS department creates and maintains the database of books, journals, audiovisual materials, etc., that are owned by FSCJ. Materials "owned by FSCJ" include online resources for which FSCJ libraries have purchased access. You can search this database in our online catalog.

Every title in our Libraries--whether physically located here or accessible on the Web through library purchase--is described in a separate record which contains the information that you see as a user plus extensive computer coding. This coding is called the MARC record--Machine Readable Cataloging. Coding each element in the record allows the user to fine tune a search down to the smallest element such as date, format, language, location (in a particular FSCJ library or on the Web). You can do more specialized searching by clicking on the “Advanced Search" link in the catalog. 

The libraries receive too many new materials for the LTS department to key in the data for every title. For this reason we utilize the services of a bibliographic utility to share cataloging records with other libraries. Our utility is OCLC (Online Computer Library Center) which has a membership of more than 72,000 libraries in 170 countries and territories. The database contains more than 300 million records.

When a matching record is found in OCLC, the record is checked for accuracy and then loaded into the catalog. When no record exists, the LTS department creates one and enters it into our catalog and into OCLC for other libraries to use in the future.