Three Days in the Life…

I have very little discipline. I had every intention of posting every day this week about my  job as a librarian. The week is half over and this is the first time I’ve visited my blog since Monday.

So, what do I do at the library? Well, my job title is “Electronic Resources Cataloging Coordinator.” In a nutshell,  I keep my eye on the “big picture” in terms of electronic resource (eresource) cataloging to make sure nothing falls through the cracks plus I catalog eresources.

We subscribe to many eresources and have only a few staff cataloging them. There are two serials catalogers who do print and electronic. Their supervisor also catalogs print and electronic resources, but not just serials.

I catalog mostly eresources (databases, websites, and other online documents plus statistical data) with the occasional printed codebook thrown in for good measure. I used to catalog CD-ROMs but those are now cataloged in another unit. Every now and then I receive a serial on CD-ROM to catalog.


I try to get to the library before 9am and am usually successful (I’m not a morning person).

I work on the second floor of the library in a room shared by five people. I end up giving directional assistance to lost patrons because my cubicle is closest to the door. The second floor is divided into two sections and you can’t get from one to the other via the second floor…

I check email and respond to anything that can’t wait when I arrive at the library. Then, I look around my desk to see what I want to work on. The nice thing about being a cataloger is that I can choose what I work on (within reason – if something’s a “rush” or something, of course I catalog it first) and when I work on it.

This morning, I edited some bibliographic records (the online equivalent of catalog cards) for some titles that are part of our subscription to Alexander Street Press (ASP). As part of our subscription, ASP provides MARC records, so rather than doing the cataloging myself, I retrieve the file of records, make a few modifications to the records and load them as a batch into our online catalog, Voyager.

The cataloging for the ASP titles is fairly good and consistent, so the only modifications I make to the records are adding a local call number “Electronic Resource” and removing unnecessary fields and subfields. I useTerry Reese’s wonderful MarcEdit to make these changes. After I resave the file of records, I batch-load them in Voyager. This is just a matter of starting a macro (written using Macro Express) and letting it run. The macro opens the file of records, adds a field to the record for our cataloging statistics, saves the record, and creates and saves a holdings record.

Unfortunately, while the macro is running, I can’t use my computer for anything else, so I have a laptop. While records are loading, I use the laptop to do other cataloging–the things that can’t be batch loaded.

Today I worked on material (social science data and accompanying documentation) from Data and Statistical Services, a part of the library’s Social Science Reference Center.

Well, the train is getting ready to go into the tunnel, so I’ll stop now. (I’m also a cellist and am currently playing in the orchestra for West Side Story on Broadway. I’m headed to the theater now…)

Stay tuned!

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