CatDept 101: Three Levels of Cataloging

Three Levels of Cataloging

1. What are the three levels of cataloging and what do they mean?

Monographic material moving through the Catalog Department’s new work flows are cataloged at one of three levels.

Level 1 (Full MARC21 Record) records have LC classification and LC subject headings

Level 2 (Minimum MARC21 Record) have LC classification, but do NOT have LC subject headings

Level 3 (Minimum MARC21 Record) have “in process” accession number (NO LC classification) and do NOT have LC subject headings. Level 3 records represent a “managed backlog” that will need to be upgraded to at least Level 2 at a future time. Until then, these materials are shelved in a special area where they are available to the public.

2. How they get used?

A high priority for the Department is to move as much material as possible out to the public. The reality is that we do not have near enough catalogers to create Level 1 records for all the material coming into the Department. If there is not a Level 1 record in OCLC at the point of cataloging, the use of level 2 and level 3 records allows us to meet this goal. We do try to honor Level 1 flags put into books by selectors. This is not always possible, as the number of our original catalogers has been significantly reduced.

3. Do minimum level 2 and 3 records ever get upgraded?

Both level 2 and level 3 records are possible candidates for upgraded records via OCLC’s Bibliographic Notification Service. If, after we catalog a level 2 or level 3 record, another OCLC member upgrades a record, we get the new record via this service. Level 3 records that do not get upgraded over a period of time will need to be upgraded manually. We’re also currently experimenting with batch retrieval and loading of upgraded records for level 3 (“in process”) records.

 Armanda (April 28, 2010)