U.S. Government Information

Government Resources

Five Colleges of Ohio

Historical Cataloging: Plan of Action

APRIL 1998

The April 16, 1998 meeting of the Five Colleges Documents group focused on the Plan of Action for the Original and Historical Cataloging Project. We received approval from Mellon to redirect Mellon funds to activate this project. At the time of our meeting it appeared that $200,000 was available to us for the project. Since then, $153,031 has been verified for this project by Tish Emerson. Agreement was reached on the following plan. We also discussed concerns related to the project which are stated at the conclusion.

I. PARTICIPANTS: All five colleges will be participating in this project: Denison, Kenyon, Oberlin, Ohio Wesleyan, Wooster.

II. GOALS: We want to have the historical materials in the Government Publications Departments of our colleges to be as accessible to our patrons as other library materials. Currently, most of these materials are not in our catalogs. Depository designations of the 5 Colleges are: Ohio Wesleyan (1845, the oldest in Ohio), Oberlin (1858), Kenyon (1873), Denison (1884), and Wooster (1966).

III. DURATION OF THE PROJECT: The Mellon Foundation has agreed to a three year time period as we requested. The project will begin with a centralized training session for the student workers in June of this year.

IV. PROCEDURE: After discussing various options open to us, unless a better option is presented to us, agreement was made to further investigate OCLC's Tech Pro service. They are set up to do this project, especially if we can send them only the original titles. (Otherwise, this will be a very large project for them.) It was agreed that we would need to do the first two steps (mentioned below) at our own institutions using student workers, designated staff (in most cases, the Government Publications staff), and a Coordinator.

Agreement was reached on hiring a Coordinator specifically for the project. Important qualifications for this job is that s/he have cataloging experience (preferably in OCLC, and III, or equivalent), know and worked with government publications extensively, successful administrative and organizational skills, and know basic library skills. Preference would be for this person to have taken cataloging courses in the AACR2 format, and know how to interact and relate well with people. Responsibilities would include, but not be limited to, organizing the project in each of the five colleges, making sure that each college is working on a unique class and not a class being processed by another college. S/he also will be responsible for coordinating the packing up, delivering, and collecting, on completion, the original titles from the five institutions that will be handled by Tech Pro (The final decision on Tech Pro has not been made; other options may be discussed at May's meeting.). Many of these materials are fragile in nature and they need "extra care." S/he will be the contact person between Tech-Pro and the institutions, and will have a major role in organizing the 5 Colleges Government Publications training session for the students doing the linking and OCLC record identification and downloading. S/he will be responsible for spot-checking student work at each institution to be sure it is done as we agreed. It was agreed that the library administrators would be requested to work on hiring the Coordinator; at that level, adjustments and accommodations can be agreed upon.

Priority classes in each collection have been established (and will be reviewed again for the May meeting). In our Project Proposal we stated that three main steps need to be taken to identify the original cataloging that needs to be done. It is necessary to 1) link titles to records in local catalog, 2) find OCLC quality records for those titles not represented in the local catalog and download them. After these steps are taken, the titles which require original cataloging will be identified.

Student library workers (with emphasis on work-study students) will be hired, preferably beginning in June/July to begin on-site work. It was agreed that a centralized training session in early summer is needed; we all need to follow the same guidelines and procedures. During the summer students would work half-time (possibly two students), and during the school year 10-12 hours or as agreed. The most inexpensive time to use the OCLC service for the historical material is before 9 am, after 5 PM, and on the week-ends. When possible (probably not during summer hours), these times should be considered. This will also reduce competition for terminal use within the institutions.

A plan for the preservation of materials in poor condition should also be implemented and these materials should be cared for in each institution.

Quality of the record is a major consideration. In some cases there will be a brief or incomplete record in catalogs; if this can not be enhanced easily it will be a candidate for original cataloging.


1. To use the grant judiciously, we have suggested that each library absorb the costs of project's student workers. The library administrators will need to approve this.

2. The elimination of the position of Project Coordinator was mentioned as a cost-cutting measure. This would make it harder to ensure that everyone is following the procedures agreed upon. It would also be more difficult to coordinate sending the fragile materials to the cataloging service and returned to the correct institutions, to facilitate contact between Tech Pro and the institutions, and to make on-site visits to coordinate this project.

3. We need to be sure that we have government publications staff at each institution during the project. Ohio Wesleyan currently has a temporary position which runs out at the end of June.

4. We need to work with Frank Wojcik to understand how CONSORT will take advantage of Oberlin's records, and vice versa.

5. The directors need to agree on the Tech Pro terms. Is there room for negotiation?

6. The grant of $153,031 will not cover all that we want to do, especially as we planned the project with the figure of $200,000 in mind. Priority lists will be followed so that each institution will begin with their top priorities. Also if libraries pay for student workers out of their budget, this will help.


WRITTEN BY BARBARA L. BELL, WITH INPUT FROM THE COMMITTEE MEMBERS: Jennnifer McMullen, Damon Hickey, Mary Prophet, Beverly Gage, Priscilla McIntosh, Andrea Peakovic, Donna Wilson, Cecilia Robinson, Tom Hinders, Terry Maloney-Rose

Five Colleges Page    -     Ohio Five Documents    -     Cataloging Project
URL:  http://www3.wooster.edu/Library/Gov/Ohio5Docs/Catalog/Plan.html
Editors:  Jennifer E. McMullen and David J. Miller
The College of Wooster Libraries, March 2001