In this post, we will explore the profile of the doctoral institutions that reported having 7 layers in their organizational hierarchies.  173 responded answered this question:

“Beginning with the highest level of administration in your specific library, (for example, the Director/ Dean/University Librarian level) record the reporting or organizational structure of your library in relation to your cataloging unit, including all “hierarchical” levels within the cataloging unit itself or any units that primarily report to cataloging.  Do not include any divisions, units, or departments that are not in a direct reporting line to cataloging or between the cataloging unit and the top level administration in your library. “

Of those respondents, 18 indicated they had seven layers in their reporting structures.  This was the second smallest group (the smallest being a 2 layer reporting structure.)


A seven layer reporting structure broke down along these lines:

  • Library Director (often titled Dean, University Library, etc.)
  • Assistant Library Director (often titled Associate Dean, Assistant Dean, or Assistant University Librarian)
  • Division Head
  • Coordinator or Head of Unit
  • Cataloger or Subject Specialist
  • Technician, Copy Cataloger, or Library Assistant
  • Student or Hourly Assistant


Profile of the Library

First, we will layout the general profile of the libraries reporting a 7 layer hierarchy.  This will cover such details as the institutional student FTE, library collection size, annual budget, library employee FTE, and whether it is part of a multi-library system.

Student FTE

Respondents to this category indicated that a student population of between 10,000 and 40,000 with the most popular response between 25,001 and 30,000 students.

Student FTE
less than 1,000 0
1,000-5,000 0
5,0001-10,000 0
10,001-15,000 3
15,0001-20,0000 2
20,001-25,000 2
25,001-30,000 5
30,001-40,000 2
40,000+ 3
Not known 1
Not reported 0
Total 18


Collection Size

Respondents indicated that their library’s collection size ranged between 1,000,000 and over 5,000,000 volumes, with the majority of respondents indicating between 1,000,001 and 5,000,000 volumes.

Collection Size
less than 10,000 volumes 0
10,001-100,000 volumes 0
100,001-500,000 volumes 0
500,001-1,000,000 volumes 0
1,000,001-5,000,000 volumes 13
5,000,000 + volumes 4
Not known 1
Not reported 0
Total 18


Annual Budget

Respondents indicated that the annual budget for their library ranged from 1,000,000 to over 20,000,000, but only half of the respondents were familiar with their library budgets.

Annual budget
less than $1,000,000 0
$1,000,000 – $5,000,000 1
$5,000,001 – $10,000,000 4
$10,000,001 – $20,000,000 1
$20,000,000+ 3
Not known 9
Not reported 0
Total 18


Library Employee FTE

Respondents reported that their library was staffed by 31 to over 150 employees, with the two most common responses being between 101-150 employees and over 150 employees.

Total Employee FTE for Library
1-10 0
11-30 0
31-50 1
51-70 1
71-100 1
101-150 7
150+ 7
Not known 1
Not reported 0
Total 18


Multi-library system

Just over half of the 18 respondents in this category indicated that they were part of a multi-library system.  The number of libraries in the system ranged from 4 to over 10 libraries, with the two most commonly reported numbers being 5 libraries and 10 or more libraries.

Multi-library System
no 7
2 0
3 0
4 2
5 3
6 1
7 1
8 0
9 1
10+ 3
Not known 0
Not reported 0
Total 18

Of those multi-library systems, almost half were supported by just one cataloging unit.

Multi-Library w/cataloging units
None 7
1 5
2 1
3 3
4 0
5+ 2
Not known 0
Not reported 0
Total 18


Cataloging Unit Profile

Now, we’ll take a look at what a cataloging unit in a 7 layer hierarchy looks like. First, we’ll look at the name of the unit and the division it reports to.  Next, we’ll examine average employee FTE for the cataloging unit, as well as the faculty status of the professional cataloging employees, and the titles for those positions.  Following that, we will look at how often outsourcing is done and whether the unit helps out with the digital library or institutional repository. Finally, we will look at system that cataloging employee work with – such as the ILS, cataloging utility, and content management systems for the digital library and institutional repository.

Name of the Cataloging Unit

17 of the 18 respondents reported a name for their unit.  Six of these responses included both of the terms “cataloging” and “metadata” with a differing identifier of the unit, including:

  • Cataloging and Metadata Department
  • Cataloging and Metadata Services
  • Cataloging and Metadata Unit
  • Metadata and Cataloging Department
  • Cataloging  and Metadata Services Unit

Three respondents reported titles with just the term “cataloging”, including one which also used the term “description” in the title, such as:

  • Cataloging
  • Cataloguing Department
  • Cataloging and Description

Six respondents reported titles with just the term “Metadata,” including one that used the term “discovery” in the title, such as:

  • Metadata Services
  • Metadata Services Team
  • Metadata Development
  • Metadata and Discovery Services

The remaining two respondents used titles such as:

  • Resource Description and Metadata Services
  • Data Management and Access


Name of the Division

One respondent reported that the division was unnamed.  The remaining 17 reported a variety of division names, half of which included traditional keywords such as “Technical Services” or “Collections”:

  • Technical Services
  • Collection Services
  • Collections
  • Collections and Technical Services Department

Additional titles included:

  • Content Division
  • Delivery Services
  • Information Management Services Council
  • Special Collections
  • Data & Technology Division
  • Cataloging, Acquisitions, and Processing Department

Two respondents indicated that reporting lines were split – with the overall unit reporting to the library administration, but employees reporting elsewhere.

Cataloging Unit FTE

The cataloging units in a 7 layer hierarchy are often composed of an average of 14.5 employees, with 4.2 being a professional  level (defined in the survey as a “salaried employee whose position requires an MLS/MLIS or equivalent degree”), 7.8 para-professional employees (defined in the survey as a “salaried employee whose position does NOT require and MLS/MLIS or equivalent degree, although such a degree may be held by the employee in the position”), and 2.5 hourly employees (defined in the survey as “non-salaried, non-benefited position, usually paid by the hour, and whose position does NOT require an MLS/MLIS or equivalent degree, although such a degree may be held by the employee in the position”.

Average Cataloging Unit FTE
Professional 4.2
Para-professional 7.8
Hourly 2.5
Total 14.5


Faculty Status of Professional Cataloging Employees

When it came to determining the faculty status of the professional cataloging employees, there was a variety of responses. Below is the a breakdown of each time a status was indicated. Five of the 18 respondents indicated mixed statuses, with two or more statuses reported.   They were:  (1) mix of faculty and non faculty, (1) mix of faculty tenure and non-tenure, (1) mix of non-faculty with and without continuing appointment, (1) mix of faculty and other (adjunct/temp), and (1) mix of faculty tenured, faculty non-tenured, and other (hourly MLS degreed).

Faculty status of Professionals
Faculty, tenure-track 7
Faculty, non-tenure track 5
Non-faculty status, but with continuing appointment 6
Non-faculty status, no continuing appointment 2
Other 4
Not known 0
Not reported 0


Titles of Cataloging Unit Employees

Professional cataloging employees often included the unit head as well as those performing the day to day professional cataloging duties.  Titles for non-administrative positions included:

  • Catalog Librarian
  • Principal Cataloger
  • Catalog and Metadata Librarian
  • Metadata Analyst
  • Metadata Librarian
  • Metadata Specialist
  • Cataloging and Metadata Librarian
  • Monographic Librarian
  • Serials Librarian
  • Principal Serials Cataloger
  • Metadata Project Specialists

In addition to these commons titles, title variations included specific specialties such as rare books cataloging, languages or geographic regions, or special formats.  Some newly emerging specialties such as “Research Data Librarian” were also recorded.

Para-professional catalog employees titles were highly varied, but most often included the following:

  • Cataloging Specialist
  • Cataloging Technician
  • Cataloging Assistant
  • Catalog Maintenance Assistant
  • Cataloger
  • Copy Cataloger
  • Library Assistant
  • Library Associate
  • Library Specialist

Like the professional cataloging employee titles, many of the para-professionals had very specific speciality titles that reflected the format, language, geographic region, or area of the library for which they worked.  However, almost half of the respondents recorded that para-professionals in their institution had titles reflecting a leadership or coordinator role for specific tasks, indicating that many of the day-to-day functions of the department were overseen by employees at this level.

Hourly cataloging employee titles were only reported by eleven of the respondents, eight of which were student based positions, such as:

  • Student Assistant
  • Metadata Student Assistant
  • Graduate Student Assistant

The remaining had some variation of “specialist,””clerk,” or “associate” such as:

  • Cataloging Specialist
  • Cataloging Specialist, Sr.
  • Acquisitions Specialist
  • Maintenance Specialist
  • Library Clerk
  • Library Associate
  • Cataloging Associate

Like the previous two categories, many titles reflected specifics of their jobs duties or specialties.


The majority of respondents indicated that they were outsourcing work.

Outsourced Tasks
Yes 11
No 3
Not known 0
Not reported 4
Total 18

Digital Library/Institutional Repository Work

One third of respondents indicated that their unit was supporting the work of the Digital Library or the Institutional Repository in their library.  Another 5 respondents indicated a that they were “sort of” helping with that work.

Provide support for Digital Library or Institutional Repository?
Yes 6
No 3
Sort of 5
Not known 0
Not reported 4
Total 18


Systems/Tools Used


The most common used ILS for respondents reporting a 7 layer hierarchy was Sierra, followed by Millenium, Voyager, Alma, Symphony, and Aleph 500.

Integrated Library System (ILS)
Aleph 500 1
Alma 2
Evergreen 0
Horizon 0
Invenion –TIND 0
Kuali OLE 0
Millenium 3
Polaris 0
Sierra 5
Symphony 1
Virtua 0
Voyager 2
Worldshare Management Services 0
Other 0
Not known 0
Not reported 4
Total 18


Cataloging Utility

Connexion was the most commonly used cataloging utility.

Cataloging Utility
OCLC Connexion 11
Sky River 0
Other 3
Not known 0
Not reported 4
Total 18


Digital Library Content Management System

There was a fairly even spread of digital library content management systems, but the most reported CMS was CONTENTdm.

Content Management System for Digital Library
Collective Access 0
DSpcae 2
EPrints3 0
Fedora/Hydra 1
Fedora/Islandora 3
Greenstone 0
Omeka 2
Other 3
We don’t have a DL 0
Not known 1
Not reported 2
Total 18


Institutional Repository Content Management System

D-Space was the most commonly used CMS for Institutional Repository in this category.

Content Management System for Institutional Repository
BePress DigitalCommons 2
D-Space 4
Fedora Commons 1
Fedora/Hydra 1
Greenstone 0
Invenio 0
Opus 0
SimpleDL 0
SobekCM 0
Other 0
We don’t have an IR 1
Not known 2
Not reported 7
Total 18