Category Archives: News

Twitter chat on cataloguing & classification from #uklibchat

This guest post is by Joseph Norwood and the rest of the #uklibchat team,and we hope to see a few high visibility cataloguers at the chat on Thursday:

#uklibchat is a fortnightly discussion group for librarians and information professionals, and on Thursday 23rd February between 6:30 PM and 8:30 PM, we’re going to be talking about cataloguing and classification.

An agenda for the chat is available here and can be added to if you have any questions that you would like to raise during the discussion.

These chats are a great way for librarians to share their ideas about a subject and to find out more about things that they may not often come into direct contact with at work. I’m hoping that this discussion will give people outside of cataloguing a chance to learn more about the importance of cataloguing work, and I’m sure it will also be very interesting for people who work or want to work as cataloguers. Topics to be discussed on the day include the future of cataloguing, training, and how catalogues could be presented to users.

More information about the chat; and summaries of previous chats can be found on our blog (

The #uklibchat team can be contacted by Twitter through @uklibchat if there’s anything you’d like to ask us.

High Visibility cataloguers on Twitter

We recently put a call out on Twitter for cataloguers and metadata practitioners that were willing to be included in a comprehensive list, and got a great response.

Screenshot of cataloguing-metadata list

The list provides a simple and quick way to find cataloguing Tweeps to follow, and can be found here. Follow it (and @HVCats) to keep up to date with what is being discussed in the metadata world and hopefully get some high visibility ideas too. Most of you who already use Twitter will be aware of the Magical Metadata Fairies Twitter list (formerly called Troublesome Catalogers) maintained by Becky Yoose (@yo_bj) which is also a great source of twitter cataloguing discussion. Our list probably has more of a UK bias at the moment (though we’re hoping that will change over time) and also only includes people who have specifically requested to be added.

If you’d like to be included on the list please message @HVCats.

CPD23 for everyone

Here’s something interesting. I’m looking forward to engaging with this, and after a colleague posted it to our team blog, so far 4 of us have decided that we’re going to give it a shot. I’m really pleased about this as it gives the 4 of us a chance to ‘work’ together, as well as engage with other IP’s engaged in the program, some of whom I’m hoping I’ll already ‘know’! This is a good chance for cataloguers and metadata people to engage with other IP types, and I’m hoping to see some of you on the program. I’ll be using my personal blog ( and twitter profile @scarlettlibgirl rather than the HVCats one, so please follow me and I will reciprocate.

All following info totally ripped from Katie Birkwood as per her suggestion – thanks Katie!
Free CPD coming up!
23 Things for Professional Development
is a free online programme open to information professionals at all stages of
their career, in all types of role, and anywhere across the

Inspired by the 23 Things programmes for social media, this new
programme will consist of a mixture of social media “Things” and “Things” to do
with professional development. The programme starts on 20 June and will run
until early October 2011.

Each week the CPD23 blog will be updated with details of
the next thing to be explored. Catch up weeks and reflection weeks are built
into the programme, so it’s not a problem if you’re going to be away for a week
or two!

Please do spread the word to any friends, colleagues, or groups
that might be interested: please pass on this message and link to If you’re on
Twitter follow @cpd23 and tweet with the
hashtag #cpd23.

Venessa Harris

Guest post: Cataloguing 23 Things, some thoughts from Helen Stein

We’re delighted to host this guest post from Helen Stein – @NunuThunder on Twitter – about the intriguing idea of a Cataloguing 23 Things. We’d love to hear your ideas, suggestions, thoughts on this in comments below!


A few days ago I got together the courage to offer a little help to someone who had asked a cataloguing-related question on Twitter. I typed my answer in less than 140 characters and was breezily about to hit ‘send’ when it struck me that this would be my debut in helping anybody with a cataloguing question.

Big Moment! I didn’t want to get it wrong (publicly wrong – Twitter is a big public place). So I moved away from the return key, grabbed my AACR2 & MARC21 guidance and double checked what I was about to say out loud.

Happily for the person asking the question there are folks out there who know this stuff like the back of their hands and part of the reason for my anxious perusal of Chapter Six and then Chapter Three was that over the past year or so I have been watching them all swap ideas and suggestions about interpreting cataloguing rules and tag wrangling without feeling like I could join in.

I did however join in with a conversation about “metadata technology” and how people would like to learn about it, because apparently I found this less daunting…

Thus the idea of a cataloguing 23Things (Cat23) came about. 23Things is an approach which has been used to introduce people to using Web 2.0 platforms such as blogs, wikis and Twitter. It’s a way of breaking down barriers to understanding what such tools are, how they can be useful and so on. The original suggestion to build Cat23 was made because this approach seems to be an effective way for people to learn through practice.

Consequently a small group have been thinking about Cat23, identifying groups it might appeal to and what sorts of things it could cover. Early thoughts are that Cat23 could be useful to:

  • lone workers, who cannot easily mange time away from the workplace to undertake formal training
  • those who find themselves cataloguing by default with little or no experience in working with a variety of materials
  • distance learners (like myself!), who want to undertake further study
  • experienced cataloguers who need to use a different set of rules from normal, or who wish to pick up knowledge about new standards, and
  • those who wish to expand their professional skills but find workplace training budgets are not available to cover it.

As for coverage, there are many obvious inclusions – such as commonly used rules, data structures and classification systems, LMSs and OPACs, new rules and hybrid environments, linked data and XML, etc – but there has also been a strong emphasis on including worked examples so that Cat23 would accentuate practical learning. Obvious difficulties such as copyright implications for worked examples and the fact that many cataloguing tools require subscriptions are playing in our minds but it is encouraging that there seems to be a real appetite right now for a strong, mutually supportive learning community within cataloguing.

A recent initiative saw the Cataloguing & Index Group of CILIP hold a 2-day e-forum, moderated and excellently summarised by Celine Carty and Helen Williams. Enthusiasm for more was evident and certainly there are plenty of willing voices ready to lend help when it is sought. Cat23 may yet prove to be part of a broader picture in which cataloguers support one another’s continued learning.

And for anyone who questions the worth or impact of this sort of online support I’d like to point out that I did eventually hit ‘send’, letting my answer to the question someone asked on Twitter show up on people’s timelines ‘though I half expected the words to look wobbly, echoing in appearance the querulous sound of my voice in my own head as I read it back. This small step was made possible by all the cataloguers I’ve been following online, as well as by my reading and the workplace experience I’ve had of cataloguing. Thanks guys.

Nominate a cataloguer as Library Journal Mover & Shaker!

Cataloguers/metadata librarians/tech services people should all please read this post. It’s something we feel sums up everything we are trying to achieve and believe to be true at High Visibility Cataloguing.

Those of you based in the UK might be less familiar with the annual Library Journal Movers & Shakers so for a bit of background on it, have a look here, but also you might be interested to know that this year there were two British people on the list (the ever-wonderful Ned Potter and the inspiring Lauren Smith). Every year, Library Journal asks for nominations for that year’s crop of Movers & Shakers who are “50 or more up-and-coming individuals from around the world who are innovative, creative, and making a difference“.

You can probably tell where this is going – where are all the cataloguers? Well, please read the great guest post below by Becky Yoose (@yo_bj), Shana L. McDanold (@slmcdanold), Jen Young (@jen_young) and Laura McElfresh (@lauramac95) about why we should make a huge effort to nominate cataloguers for LJ Movers & Shakers this year and what they have done about it. Those of you on Twitter may have seen some of this discussion but by bringing it to High Visibility Cataloguing, we’re hoping to reach even more people and widen participation with the aim of finally getting some cataloguer recognition out there! If nothing else, we will gather together a list of people doing great, innovative, creative things in the world of cataloguing and making a difference.


This year those of the cataloging persuasion participate in an annual event that is predictable like the changing of the seasons.

Another year comes, and another Library Journal’s Movers and Shakers awards are announced. Another round of well deserving librarians, paraprofessionals, and librarian-type people are recognized for outstanding work, innovation, and extraordinary achievements within the library and information field. And, without fail, catalogers bemoan the lack of catalogers in the announced list.

Why does this award invoke such a reaction? The Library Journal’s Movers and Shakers award, currently in its tenth year, has recognized over 500 individuals and gives an international platform for these individuals to communicate their achievements and projects. The award is seen by many in the library profession as a overview of the latest innovations in the field as well as an indicator of future leadership. The award gives credibility to those innovations, projects, and ideas and the people who bring these things into fruition.

Catalogers, however, make up a very slim margin of previous award winners. If one analysed the positions of each Mover and Shaker up to 2010 (as one Laura McElfresh did),  only five out of the 464 individuals were catalogers (using the word cataloger liberally). The lack of catalogers, or Techical Services staff in general, being recognized as Movers and Shakes is by no means a trivial matter.

Why would anyone choose a cataloger to be a Mover and Shaker anyway? Catalogers are stereotypically classified as the traditional, risk-adverse breed in the library environment. They are the rule lawyers, the one who shoots down anything that challenges the established order of things. Interestingly, one can speculate that catalogers are looked upon in the library community like librarians are looked upon in the general public: prudish, unfriendly, and resistant to change.

Inside the cataloging and metadata community, many are quick to conclude that cataloging isn’t interesting, exciting, or “sexy” enough for any cataloger to gain notoriety outside of their own community. They don’t see much benefit in fighting this view, noting that they would be fighting a losing battle. What’s innovative about standards and formats, anyway? No one outside of the cataloging really understands what they do, so why bother?

The problems with maintaining the status quo in relations between catalogers and the rest of the library community have long lasting consequences, some of which have been playing out in the community for a while: reduction in cataloging staff and activities and devaluation of duties and responsibilities. If the works of catalogers form the foundation of the library, then neglecting or cutting corners in maintaining that foundation overall weakens the ability for others to build off of that foundation, including many of the initiatives featured in the Movers and Shakers list.

In reality, there is an increased need for cataloger skills in dealing with the metadata created from the fast-evolving information environment. Catalogers and Metadata Librarians alike are in a unique position to influence information organization, access, and discoverability, which leads into influencing the future of libraries. This position has seen many collaborative and innovative efforts: the CRCC RDA Testing Task Force, RDA vocabularies, High Visibility Cataloging, and various continuing education/training opportunities ranging from the formal SCCTP to informal discussions on various online platforms like Twitter. The training and continuing education efforts are especially important due to the reduction of formal cataloging training in library schools and workplaces.

In response to this year’s cycle, a few catalogers have started an effort in making sure that some can answer in the affirmative to the question, “How many people actually nominated a cataloger?”  Catalogers on the Radical Cataloging (RADCAT) listserv and on the Magical Metadata Fairies Twitter list have started and encouraged others to nominate possible catalogers for the award. While RADCAT has seen some push to nominate catalogers, the main push has been through Twitter. Many started naming possible people for nomination in tweets (with the appropriately named #ManchurianCataloger hashtag). It was noted, though, that the nomination process requires a reference in addition to the nomination. There was also a question as to the best way of getting a nominee noticed by the ones reviewing the nomination forms. The general consensus was to create a list of potential nominees and to focus on a small number to increase the possibility of getting noticed. To help keep track of potential nominees, Laura McElfresh created the Manchurian Cataloger form, where people can submit potential nominees. Laura has also made the spreadsheet behind the form publicly available so others can see who could be a reference for a potential nominee. Since the nomination process is based on multiple interviews, nominators should focus on making the strongest case possible for nominees to make that nominee stand out in the crowd.

The #ManchurianCataloger form and entries can be found at, and, if you’re inspired by some of the entries there, head over to the 2012 Movers and Shakers nomination form and nominate someone. Happy nominating!

Cataloguing book chat

For those cataloguers/catalogers who choose high visibility on Twitter, you may have already heard that we’re thinking of having a Twitter book club for cataloguing book chat. It started because quite a few of us were excited to be receiving our copy of Conversations with Catalogers in the 21st Century, edited by Elaine R. Sanchez. This isn’t exactly a High Visibility Cataloguing initiative, it just organically grew out of Twitter chat but it’s a great way to promote discussion about our profession and our futures so it seems a great fit for us here.

We would love to attract as many interested people as possible, so we’ll be tweeting our cataloguing book chat using the hashtag #catbkchat (Twapperkeeper archive thanks to Heather Pitts). If you’re not on Twitter, then please feel free to add to the comments here as part of the book discussion or to add links to posts about the book on your own blog (and with your permission we’ll tweet the links too, to reach the Twitter cataloguing people too).

We haven’t tried this before, I think I’m right in saying it’ll be a first Twitter book club for most of the people taking part. We already have cataloguers from the US, Canada and the UK taking part. We’d love you to join in or, if you don’t have the book available, then hope you can follow the discussion and learn something from it or promote more discussion that way.

The book is in sections, so we’ll probably take a section at a time – more details to follow….