Library Committee Handbook

Executive Committee

Building a Collaborative Cooperative Cataloging Tracking System


Technical Services Division Innovation Funding Application 

Building a collaborative cooperative cataloging tracking system (CCTS)

University Library

June 27 2013




Simply put, we need to explore more options to catalog our new foreign language materials. “In 2012 the library added over 264,000 materials in more than 220 non-English languages to the collection” This is from the Foreign Language Cataloging Group (FLCG) White Paper (currently in draft and appended to this application).


We cannot rely on OCLC records for these new materials being available in a timely manner as few libraries acquire them. We also cannot expect to hire all the cataloging expertise either full or part time who can read the languages we may need. Indeed we do not get huge quantities of titles in the more esoteric languages and so would not expect to hire regular staff to handle all those languages. We could however trade foreign language cataloging expertise with partner libraries and this is one of the recommendations of the FLCG. We do know the CIC libraries are interested in sharing expertise. We also know that the CIC collectively has contributed many foreign language records to OCLC and so have staff resources available in this area. See the Excel workbook attached here for that data and available on the G drive at:

G:\Collections Info\acquisitions    as file: CIC Contributions to OCLC


But we need a system to allow partners to efficiently and easily trade files of the work needed and then transfer the completed MARC records as well as to provide for tracking, local file management and report generation. Reports are needed for such things as measures of balanced reciprocity and turnaround times for ongoing assessment. This application is for funding to develop such a system.


We ask for funding to build a web interface to relational databases needed to share monograph cataloging with other libraries and that will also allow CAM to give records to library staff who cover public service desks and may be able to contribute to cataloging efforts when the desk is not busy.


We currently outsource cataloging to a vendor in India that utilizes such a system to provide full MARC cataloging to their client libraries and in partnership with book suppliers.

Their workflow is:

  1. Work with a major European vendor to receive uniquely identified image files that contain appropriate and descriptive title pages from their library clients new individual book purchases
  2. Allows them to receive the files and manage them centrally
  3. Allows them to assign the image files of books to offsite catalogers who each have their own work space within the system
  4. Provides for tracking and reminders to those offsite staff for each batch of work and their deadlines completely from start to finish centrally (includes check for existing copy)
  5. Allows each client access to their batches to track the batch process and completion as well as a history of all activity
  6. Provides for an alert of a completed batch, moves batch of records to a retrieval location on their server
  7. Generates alert of MARC file availability to the client that names the file to be retrieved, how to retrieve it and allows access to the local server to retrieve it
  8. Client then can import file into local cataloging system and complete processing as appropriate


See MARCNow system at:  sign in is on far right corner

Use user name

And login urbana618

Then enter the system by clicking on Marcnow. This is a robust system and is a model for one we can develop locally.


We need to develop databases for both ends of the work: the Library sending files for titles that require the cataloging and one for the Library doing the cataloging work (it is assumed that partners would fill both roles but we may test them separately). Those requiring the cataloging would need a database to describe the unique batches and their corresponding image files, when they were sent and to which partner. They will need a scan process to fully describe each book and then name the resulting scan file.  For those doing the cataloging, the system must identify items, batches and item counts and their language requirements that will also track status of the piece and the status of the record creation and delivery. They will need a relational table and process to assign each batch internally and centrally monitor its progress per staff. The system will allow for reminders to the local staff on the progress of the batch and the deadlines set for completion. Each table will be linked for central access as needed for records adds and updates as well as read only status checks by those sending a batch or those doing the batch. The tables will have a web interface and an authentication process to allow the libraries access to their records. The system will also include an email alerting process and ways to manage files for storage during the work and then for retrieval by the library requesting the work.  A reporting system will provide for tracking, status, turnaround times, and activity counts to allow partners to assess the work.

A set of guideline, policies and processes must also be set up and agreed upon by the partners, A Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) will cover the work to be done.




The goal is to develop a system that will make shared cataloging more manageable between partners. Cooperative cataloging cannot work if it is not perceived to be a priority, is reciprocal and easy to accomplish. Partner libraries need to know if it can be efficiently and easily managed and not detract from their local library and campus priorities.  This database offers both parties an opportunity to provide for a consistent process to assign work and then see if it is being done by both parties as well as the ability to look at the whole history of items done by each party by time intervals they can set. Cooperative cataloging must be efficient, equitable and measureable to succeed. 


The system will also allow for testing of distributed cataloging within the library utilizing the language skills of our skilled staff. CAM staff are already undertaking an update of the inventory of language skills to lay the groundwork for our ability to call upon that specialized knowledge.




We have experimented with models to share staff and have also looked at a variety of options to get new titles cataloged. This extends and enhances existing work. It will allow the library to utilize knowledge within the library and also enhance existing partnerships and ultimately will be part of a range of options to provide for efficient cataloging of all our collections. We can spend upwards of $25-35 per title to outsource bibliographic work that may also take some time to be delivered. We should be looking at more cooperative work within the CIC as well as CARLI and see what we can accomplish between our knowledgeable staff. The Library has hired new bibliographers skilled in important subject areas where we need to acquire material and they are busy extending our acquisitions. Much of our print collection in monographs will be coming from overseas and many will be in languages we cannot process completely internally. It makes good sense to build and test a model that will allow us to share expertise. Librarians here have already been speaking with their colleagues within the CIC about partnering along these lines.



We request funding to hire a programmer to develop this system. Inquiries with Computer Science and Engineering departments on campus indicate that an hourly rate of $25.00 to $28.00 per hour will be sufficient to attract and compensate an experienced programmer (who will likely be a graduate student pursuing an advanced degree at UIUC).  We are asking for 200 hours of time to build, test, implement and document the system.

We will be requesting that the programmer use standard language and existing tools to accomplish the work and will emphasize the need for it to be adaptable by others and sustainable over time. We request an additional $1,000 to have another programmer review the work and sign off on the model functionality, portability and sustainability.


Total amount we are asking for:

Programmer                                                                                                   6,600

$28.00 per hour  (max amount) x 200 hours plus 1,000 = 6600.00

Student Wages                                                                                               1,000

We will need student wages to assist in scanning new title front back and TOC pages for full testing (need 100 hours initially and will work with TS Division wages after that

Storage Space                                                                                                ?

We will need to review and measure this but hope we can use in house storage initially but would anticipate some growth and need for additional storage over the long term

Scanners: we will use those in house

TOTAL                                                                                                7,600.00         


The working group will include Lynn Wiley, Mary Laskowski and Michael Norman. We will pull in additional help as needed to approve of the model or to offer consultation and they would include Nicole Reams-Sotomayor, Stephanie Baker, Janet Weber and if needed, Robert Slater for the web interface.



As noted above, we would be asking that this system be built to be portable and adaptable. It should be a system any CIC or CARLI Library could use. We will be using standard cataloging rules and standard cataloging tools already in place. We will use existing scanners and we will rely on exiting documentation and processes used now to import and export files and MARC records.

As no one library can hire all the language expertise it may need, this offers a more sustainable model to address future foreign language needs.



Outline system requirements                                                  Sept 2013

Post part time project position                                                Sept 2013

Hire programmer                                                                    Oct   2013

Inventory staff language skills                                                Sept 2013

Solicit test partners in the CIC

(This also includes provisions for a basic

MOA between the Libraries during what

will be defined as an initial pilot project)                                     Sept-December 2013

Work on database build and web interface                            Oct-Dec 2013

Test and implement (locally and with a CIC partner)             January 2014

Adjust model as needed                                                         January-May 2014

Work through spring semester 2014 on use

Generate reports and Assess use                                          July-September 2014



We will assess the systems operability across participants with a brief survey

We will define what a pilot project record set should be (for example we may require a test of 300-500 records across 3-4 languages to be done over 6 months)


We will look at what cataloging was accomplished both quality and quantity and turnaround times, what languages could be covered and how reciprocal the program was between the partners.



Questions that will be addressed: Did we accomplish more cataloging across more languages. Is the model working, did our partners(s) accomplish more cataloging. Are both partners satisfied and ready to continue post pilot project. Is this a model that can now be shared with additional partners.

If the model is not working as needed, what can be done to correct that and with what resources?



Submitted June 28, 2013

LWiley with input from Mary Laskowski and Michael Norman





FCLG Paper


Foreign Language Cataloging Group White Paper


dated June 21, 2013



Last fall, the Foreign Language Cataloging Group was formed at the suggestion of Lynn Wiley, Head of Acquisitions, and Michael Norman, Head of Content Access Management (CAM), to evaluate current cataloging needs for foreign language materials at the University of Illinois Library, and to use the findings to write a white paper recommending necessary changes and improvements.  The Group’s discussions benefited from its broad membership that included area studies subject specialists as well as CAM catalogers.  In addition, we received input from the following:

The expert contributions of these language specialists are very much appreciated. We are also grateful for additional cataloging and acquisitions data provided by Lynn Wiley and Michael Norman.  The Group’s discussions focused on coming up with both long-term and short-term recommendations for foreign language cataloging, including the improvement of existing workflows and possibilities of future collaboration among CIC-member libraries with respect to collection development and management as well as cataloging of non-English language materials.


In the early 1980s, cataloging was decentralized to subject-oriented “departmental” libraries, with additional cataloging being done by the Special Languages Library or “area studies” libraries.[1]  Five years ago, due in part to budget constraints and staffing level changes, the library initiated a wide-sweeping process to examine priorities, the New Service Model (NSM) program. Among other changes, NSM implementation resulted in the creation of the “International & Area Studies Library,” formed by the merger of the Slavic & East European Library, the Africana Library Unit, part of the collection of the Latin American & Caribbean Library, and the Asian Library. Further implementation of NSM recommendations has resulted in changes to technical services, most notably in the recentralization of cataloging and the dispersion of cataloging from the CAM unit to other units within technical services. 

Currently, three units within technical services perform cataloging: Acquisitions, CAM, and Collection Management Services (CMS).  In 2009 some of the copy catalogers formerly in CAM moved to the Acquisitions department, where the majority of the English language and Western European copy cataloging is now completed.  This makes it possible for CAM to focus on original cataloging, and cataloging of electronic resources and non-roman language material.  Additional assistance came from CMS, a unit that works on projects such as moving large amounts of material for library mergers, who helped to substantially reduce backlogs by hiring students with either language or basic cataloging skills to search and copy-catalog non-English material.

Comparing staffing levels dedicated to foreign language cataloging before and after NSM changes is somewhat complicated by the additional duties that were performed by cataloging staff when they were officially part of the area studies libraries. However, foreign language librarians have estimated a significant decrease in full time cataloging staff, as shown in the following table. The levels of material cataloged during the same period has not shown a directly corresponding decrease, primarily because of the copy cataloging performed by CMS students to reduce backlogs.  The backlog material that remains is more likely to require either complex or original cataloging. Permanent cataloging staff is needed to process this material as well as keep up with new material as it arrives in order to prevent additional backlogs.








% Change

Full time


Full time


Slavic/East European/Eurasian








Latin American/Caribbean (Spanish)



















South Asian





Middle East























The work that has already been accomplished in eliminating the majority of the backlog, in conjunction with the addition of newly hired staff, makes this the ideal time to examine options for the redesign of workflow to strive for optimal use of language or cataloging expertise. Through strategic use of the language and cataloging skills of new IAS faculty and incorporating the language skills of technical services staff, we can achieve better description (e.g., through addition of original script) and improved subject access (LCSH and classification).

To meet these goals, communication and coordination are essential. Everyone working on foreign language cataloging should be part of a structured communication system that identifies and matches needs (what and where the material is) and staff resources (language skills inventory, cataloging skills).

Current environment and trends

In 2012 the library added over 264,000 materials in more than 220 non-English languages to the collection (See Voyager Statistics).  Subject librarians acquired non-English materials from numerous regions and areas, including Africa, East Asia, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, and South Asia. With strengths in the humanities and social sciences, the foreign language collections at the University of Illinois add great value and uniqueness to the collection, as evidenced by the library’s recent interlibrary lending. In the past 5 years, 10% of our lending has been in less commonly taught languages (LCTL), i.e., foreign languages other than Italian, French, German, and Spanish, based on data provided by the Collections Office.


taught languages


Less-commonly taught languages



Total Loans

































In order to assess current practice as well as areas where additional support is needed in the cataloging of foreign language materials, we met with bibliographers in the International & Area Studies Library. The questions we prepared were intended to learn what languages, regions, and formats are currently collected, and if there will be changes regarding collection plans. While the collection profiles already cover various languages and geographic areas, all bibliographers anticipated changes in their profiles, including the expansion of geographic areas and languages, as well as the addition of new formats. For example, the Slavic approval plan will add Turkey; the Middle East collection will include additional languages and more DVDs; and the East Asian collection is expecting to acquire more electronic publications. These changes and others to collection profiles will continue to add uniqueness to the library’s foreign language collections.

The trend to expand profiles to create more unique collections has important implications for foreign language cataloging at the University of Illinois. Primarily, the shift toward building deeper, more distinctive collections within area studies will increase the amount of original cataloging required for foreign language materials. Because the very nature of the collections will be more unique, new material is likely to be in demand by a wider audience. This will require trained staff with language expertise dedicated to the original cataloging of new acquisitions to ensure that materials are processed quickly and accurately. Providing access to the collection is good stewardship of our investment in the collection.

Additionally, in order to support the discovery of foreign language material, cataloging must meet minimum standards that include subject analysis and classification, the establishment and use of name authorities, and the use of original script when possible.[2],[3] The value of these standards was emphasized by IAS bibliographers in discussions with the working group, as access to foreign language material is particularly hindered when they are not met, and enhanced when they are.

Possibilities for Collaboration

In a meeting with the AUL for Collections and Technical Services, the working group learned that modification of collection profiles to create more distinctive collections mirrors a trend among our peer institutions as bibliographers work together to minimize redundancy by increasing collection depth in more specific areas. Examples of implementation include the collaboration between Duke University and the University of North Carolina to collect East Asian materials,[4] as well as the collection agreement between the University of California at Berkeley, Stanford University, and the University of Texas at Austin for materials from Latin America.[5]  The success of such collaborative work in collection development can serve as the inspiration for a corresponding expansion in collaboration to include cataloging. Such collaborations with peer institutions could take a variety of forms, with the ultimate goal of libraries sharing language expertise to help ensure timely and accurate cataloging of non-English language materials.[6],[7],[8],[9]

Preliminary investigation completed by the working group shows tremendous potential value to be gained from collaborative cataloging. For more information, see “CIC Contributions to OCLC”, which details the results of OCLC searches for specific languages and cataloging agencies within the CIC. The data enables comparison of the number of records for foreign language material created by the University of Illinois Library with the numbers created by each of the other CIC institutions, along with percentages of total records in OCLC for each language. Separate worksheets show each institution’s top languages. On the worksheet sorted by top languages for the University of Illinois, languages that can still be supported by current U of I catalogers are highlighted.  This initial analysis serves as a starting point for discussion with peer institutions to explore the potential of collaboration in cataloging.

Analysis of the feasibility of collaborative cataloging would require some initial decisions. One of the first would be whether it would be necessary to have a shared catalog. An accepted standard of cataloging would be required. Additionally, the best way to efficiently and equitably share workflows and staff would need to be identified. This need was addressed in a joint project between UC Santa Barbara and UC San Diego. In order to focus on evaluating the potential benefits of shared cataloging, participants chose to not measure equitable sharing of staff time, but did list possibilities for such measurement through use of “cataloging credits or debits.” [10]  An article describing a collaborative OhioLINK project also offers ideas for meeting this need in the discussion of “methods of compensation.”[11]  With the current constraints on limited resources, it is especially important to identify the most effective means of cataloging, both locally and collaboratively. Further investigation is needed to explore the requirements for and benefits of collaborative cataloging between the University of Illinois Library and other CIC libraries.


Considering the expected increases in the library’s foreign language collections, the need to make those materials discoverable, and the anticipated opportunities for collaborative cataloging, the Group presents the following list of recommendations regarding foreign language cataloging at Illinois.

  1. The prioritization of non-English language expertise should be incorporated into the recruitment and hiring process of cataloging faculty and staff.
  2. Surveys of foreign language skills should be updated and current workflows evaluated in order to ensure that existing expertise is adequately and effectively utilized.


  1. Training for cataloging should be centralized and standardized, and should include basic cataloging knowledge for subject specialists. Current staffing should be evaluated to consider whether additional resources are needed to support the critical need for ongoing training.


  1. In order to support discovery, foreign language cataloging should include a minimum standard of establishment and use of name authorities, application of LCSH and classification, and use of original scripts when possible.
  2. Cataloging processes for non-English material should be coordinated across the Library. The recently-hired Foreign Language Cataloging Specialist should oversee a communication system that identifies the needs (languages, backlogs, catalog records to be enhanced) and resources (language and cataloging skills) so that these resources can be most effectively used to meet the needs of both existing and developing collection development priorities.


  1. Catalogers should work with subject specialists to develop procedures for evaluating benefits of using vendor records. Catalogers should further provide assistance in discovering the potential of using cataloging tools to create and enhance records.
  2. Ongoing evaluation of cataloging workflows should continue in order to adapt to the changing environment.


  1. The Library should continue to investigate trends and evaluate opportunities for collaborative cataloging. A working group should be formed to pursue cataloging cooperation and sharing of expertise with peer institutions to build on the language strengths of each institution.




CIC Contributions to OCLC

See Shared Drive

G:\Collections Info\acquisitions  and file: CIC Contributions to OCLC


[1] Williams, James W. "The Decentralization of Selected Technical Services at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign." Technical Services Quarterly 4 (1987): 5-19. Web. 15 Apr. 2013.

[2] ALCTS. Final Report of the ALCTS Steering Committee on Non-English Access, May 2010.

[3] ALCTS. Report of the ALCTS Non-English Working Group on Romanization, December 15, 2009.

[4] See Bolick, Hsi-Chu. “The East Asian Collection of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.” Collecting Asia: East Asian Libraries in North America, 1868-2008. Ed. Peter X. Zhou. Ann Arbor: Association for Asian Studies, Inc., 2010. 281-292.

[5] “Research Library Cooperative Program: Latin American Collections Statement of Principles.”

[6] El-Sherbini, Magda. “Sharing Cataloging Expertise: Options for Libraries to Share Their Skilled Catalogers with Other Libraries.” Cataloging & Classification Quarterly 48.6–7 (2010): 525–540.

[7] Nyun, James Soe, Karen A. Peters, and Anna DeVore. “‘Insourcing’ of Cataloging in a Consortial Environment: The UC Santa Barbara–UC San Diego Music Copy Cataloging Project.” Cataloging & Classification Quarterly 51, no. 1–3 (2013): 82–101.

[8] Maurer, Margaret Beecher, Julia A. Gammon, and Bonita M. Pollock. “Developing Best Practices for Technical Services Cross-Institutional Collaboration.” Cataloging & Classification Quarterly 51, no. 1–3 (2013): 179–193.

[9] “Cornell and Columbia Libraries to Build a Joint Technical Infrastructure.” Jan. 16, 2013.

[10] Nyun et al., 96.

[11] Maurer et al., 187-189.