Cataloging Standards

The collections of the R. A. Williams Library are cataloged according to Resource Description and Access (RDA) Standards and the OCLC Bibliographic Formats and Standards, except as stated otherwise in the R.A. Williams Library Cataloging Handbook.

Books, ebooks, audio/visual materials, and print and electronic serials purchased by the library are cataloged in a timely and accurate manner. Ebooks available PDA are cataloged as time and resources allow. Ebooks and electronic serials available through the library’s subscription databases are not cataloged. Electronic serials, ebooks, and streaming videos available for free are added to the ILS when found relevant for the collection.

Subject Cataloging and Classification

The library uses two standards for subject cataloging and classification: Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) and National Library of Medicine Medical Subject Headings (NLM MeSH). The decision of which standards to use is based on main subject of the material.

  • Health and Medical Materials: Materials in the subject areas of health and medicine are assigned both LCSH and MeSH headings. Health and medicine materials are classified according to the NLM classification scheme.
  • General Materials: Materials not in the subject areas of health and medicine (the general collection) are assigned LCSH headings. Catalogers may assign MeSH headings as well if they determine that MeSH headings would improve access. General materials are classified according to the LC classification scheme.

Additional guidelines or procedures on subject cataloging and classification are contained in the R.A. Williams Library Cataloging Handbook.


The library is a member of OCLC. Cataloging staff obtain records for copy cataloging from OCLC and maintain a record of the library’s print holdings in OCLC’s WorldCat catalog. The primary purpose of maintaining holdings information in WorldCat is to support interlibrary loan. Because the library does not lend videos or electronic resources to other libraries, holding information for those resources are not added to WorldCat by the cataloging staff. OCLC records delivered by a library vendor may be added to WorldCat as part of the delivery process. The cataloging staff will leave these records or remove them manually at their discretion.

Copy Cataloging

Whenever possible, the R. A. Williams Library uses existing catalog records available from vendors or other institutions rather than creating new records. For a fee, some vendors send batched MARC records to acquisitions. The acquisitions staff load the records into SirsiDynix Symphony. The catalogers review the records and replace any unsuitable records with ones from OCLC. Vendor MARC records that are suitable are edited according to the guidelines in the R.A. Williams Library Cataloging Handbook.

If no suitable record is available from the vendor or in OCLC, the item requires original cataloging.

Original Cataloging

If no matching record for an item is available from a vendor or OCLC, original cataloging is necessary. Original cataloging is done using the OCLC Connexion interface for records being added to OCLC; all other original cataloging is done using the library’s ILS. The head of cataloging is responsible for original cataloging.

Book Repair

Book repair corrects damage that has occurred because of poor manufacture, use, abuse, or aging.

Any library staff member or user may submit a book for repair if he or she has concerns about the book’s condition. The circulation coordinator evaluates the books and decides whether they require repairs.

Books that require repair are checked out to “MENDING” in Symphony. Then they are sorted into categories according to damage and placed on the book repair shelf. A form is attached to each book that describes what repair is necessary and gives the date that the repair was requested. All books should be repaired within two months of initial request date.

Once a book has been repaired, it is returned to the stacks. If a book cannot be repaired, the circulation coordinator will consult with the head of collection development and the head of special collections to determine whether the book should be discarded or placed in special collections.

The circulation coordinator maintains a log on the library shared drive (S:\library\book repair list) to list all the books on the book repair shelf and record the damage and date of repair for all processed books.


The R. A. Williams Library maintains a collection of bound periodicals. Binding assures preservation and permanence, allowing long-term access to titles that are not available electronically.

The serials coordinator determines binding frequency. Only complete volumes are bound.

The decision to bind is made based on usage and the time the volume is expected to remain in the collection.