This is my final project for LIS 506: Advanced Cataloging at USM, in the Master of Library and Information Science Program. I did interviews with three catalogers and presented this powerpoint to the class.
LIS 506 Final Project: Interviews with Three Catalogers
Three interviews with four
Michelle Townsend, Mississippi Library
Ruth Ann Gibson and Julie Thornton,
Elizabeth Beck, Millsaps College
The catalogers were camera shy, so
sorry, no photographs.
Mississippi Library Commission
“Today, the Mississippi Library Commission
offers a wide variety of direct and indirect
services to libraries, government agencies and
the citizens of Mississippi.” From the website
• Largest and oldest private college in Mississippi, with
5,000 students, and the second oldest Baptist college
in the U. S. Located in Clinton, a suburb west of
Jackson. There is also a Law School at a separate
campus in downtown Jackson. Where I got my
• Small, liberal-arts college, affiliated with the
United Methodist Church, home to 985
students. Located in downtown Jackson.
First Topic: RDA
• Of the three institutions I visited, only Mississippi College
has updated their original cataloging to RDA, which they
did gradually over the past 3 years. The other two
institutions plan to do so in the next year and are copying
• There were some mixed feelings about RDA. The two
catalogers at Mississippi College felt that it leaves two
much up to individual cataloger’s discretion, which leads to
inconsistency in cataloging. They are making their own
rules to add to RDA so their cataloging is consistent.
• Despite this, everyone thinks RDA will be around for a
while. There were some major improvements over
AACR2, especially with being more open to different
More on RDA
• All the catalogers I spoke with applauded RDA’s
implementation of the philosophy behind
cataloging, such as FRBR.
• Listservs and webinars were two ways catalogers
keep up with changes in RDA.
• RDA Toolkit is the most frequently used RDA
tool, but I also saw a large print RDA book.
• RDA is constantly being updated, with unpopular
rules being changed and language being clarified.
• All the catalogers I interviewed use OCLC
Connexion. Some use the browser, and some
• Other resources used: RDA
Toolkit, Classweb, WebDewey, Cataloger’s
Desktop, and some other resources built into
the OPAC software.
Dewey or LC?
• Mississippi College’s library is a medium size
library collection. However, unlike most
academic libraries, they still use Dewey. There
have been plans to migrate the collection to
LC for over 20 years, but due to understaffing
this has never happened. There is only one full
time cataloger (Ruth Ann Gibson) who has
other responsibilities and one part time
cataloger (Julie Thornton), although the Law
School has its own cataloging staff.
More on Dewey and LC
• The Mississippi Library Commission’s
collection is small enough to use Dewey, and
there is no desire to migrate to LC.
Millsaps, even though a much smaller
collection than Mississippi College, uses LC.
• All three of the institutions have hybrid
catalogs- there are records in the catalog that
are done in accordance with AACR2, RDA, and
older cataloging rules- some records being
digitizations of records going back as far as the
1950’s. Understaffing, a problem at both the
academic libraries, has made updating the
• The Mississippi Library Commission is a state
document depository, housing many state
government documents. These use a different
cataloging system which is neither LC nor
Dewey. All three institutions hold mostly book
collections with some AV and microfilm. The
collection of e-resources are expanding at the
2 academic libraries.
Millsaps’ Big Search
• Millsaps Library’s website links one first to
Bigsearch. This searches everything the library
has access to, both print and electronic. This is
a big time saver for the only cataloger at the
institution, Elizabeth Beck, since it means she
does not have to do any cataloging for e-
resources. The students or faculty simply
search Big Search, which searches both the
catalog and their e-resources which are
indexed by the vendors.
• All 3 institutions use different OPAC software.
• Ruth Ann Gibson at Mississippi College
bragged that her institution uses the best
OPAC software available, Innovative
• The Mississippi Library Commission uses Auto-
graphics, whereas Millsaps uses Sirsi-Dynix.
• Mississippi College has a backlog for most of
the year, from the time purchases start
coming in almost to the next year. Purchases
come in shortly after enrollment stats come in
at the beginning of the fall semester. Not
much of a backlog at Millsaps or MLC.
• Both of the academic libraries have archives
associated with them, both of which include
the state archives for the churches to which
they are affiliated. However, both have
archivists who do all the archival description
and cataloging, and the cataloging staff
usually have little to do with the archives.
• Both of the academic libraries said they have
no plans to use Dublin Core and haven’t used
it in the past. MLC likewise hasn’t done any
cataloging in DC yet; but there are plans to
catalog some websites for the public in the
The Future of Cataloging
• RDA was made to be compatible with formats
other than MARC, including Dublin
Core, Metadata Object Description Schema
(MODS), and Encoded Archival Description (EAD).
• Now, another RDA compatible
format, Bibframe, is being developed by the
Library of Congress together with the national
libraries of the UK, Canada, Germany, and other
• Many think Bibframe will replace MARC. It is
intended to be more internet friendly than