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Advanced eCourse: Cataloging for Non-Catalogers

An ALA eLearning Solutions and SJSU iSchool Advanced eCourse

This course teaches the fundamental concepts and practices of library cataloging, including basic descriptive and subject cataloging concepts, the creation and management of cataloging processes and workflows, the shared cataloging environment, and trends in bibliographic control that will affect libraries in the near future. It is aimed at librarians who want to know more about cataloging, including those who may have responsibility for cataloging with little preparation for it. This course approaches cataloging as a public service, and sees catalog librarians as people who have valuable expertise that they use to improve discoverability of library resources and create a better user experience.

Advanced eCourses—a format in which faculty from the SJSU iSchool will help you dig deep into cutting-edge topics during 12-week online courses, equipping you with potentially transformative knowledge and skills, and taking you from introductory through high-level content.

Please note that this eCourse can also be purchased as part of the Cataloging for Newbies eCourse Bundle.

At the end of the course, participants will

  • Understand the basic principles and practices of descriptive and subject cataloging
  • Have a basic understanding of MARC format
  • Know how to acquire MARC records
  • Know how to select and edit a record that matches a resource
  • Understand basic cataloging processes and workflows and how the role they play in the library
  • Understand the current and emerging international environment of cataloging

Course Outline

Unit One: Introduction and Descriptive Cataloging

  • Week 1: Introductions
  • Week 2: Standards and Tools
  • Week 3: Descriptive Cataloging
  • Week 4: Authority Control

Unit Two: Subject Cataloging and Managing the Cataloging Workflow

  • Week 5: Subject Cataloging
  • Week 6: Subject Headings
  • Week 7: Classification
  • Week 8: Managing the Cataloging Workflow

Unit Three: Cataloging is a Public Service

  • Week 9: User-oriented Cataloging
  • Week 10: Cataloging Content vs. Display
  • Week 11: The Future of Cataloging
  • Week 12: Review and Wrap-up

Dr. Mary Bolin is Professor and Catalog and Metadata Librarian at the University of Nebraska--Lincoln Libraries. She also teaches cataloging and metadata for the School of Information at San Jose State University. Dr. Bolin studied cataloging with Dr. Lois Mai Chan at the University of Kentucky. She is one of the founding editors of the peer reviewed LIS e-journal Library Philosophy and Practice.

If you have questions or requests regarding accessibility, contact us at or at 312-280-5100.