In this post, we will explore the profile of the doctoral institutions that reported having 5 layers in their organizational hierarchies.  Overall, 173 people respondents 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, 50 indicated they had five layers in their reporting structures.  This was the largest group.


A five 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)
  • Coordinator or Head of Unit and Catalogers or Subject Specialists
  • Catalogers and Technicians, Copy Catalogers, or Library Assistants
  • Student or Hourly Assistants


Profile of the Library

First, we will layout the general profile of the libraries reporting a 5 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 their institution had a student population between under 1,000 and  over 40,000 with the most popular response between 10,001 and 15,000 students.

Student FTE
less than 1,000 2
1,000-5,000 3
5,0001-10,000 5
10,001-15,000 10
15,0001-20,0000 4
20,001-25,000 5
25,001-30,000 3
30,001-40,000 7
40,000+ 11
Not known 0
Not reported 0
Total 50


Collection Size

Respondents indicated that their library’s collection size ranged between less than 10,000 volumes and over 5,000,000 volumes, with almost half of respondents indicating between 1,000,001 and 5,000,000 volumes.

Collection Size
less than 10,000 volumes 1
10,001-100,000 volumes 0
100,001-500,000 volumes 4
500,001-1,000,000 volumes 8
1,000,001-5,000,000 volumes 24
5,000,000 + volumes 10
Not known 3
Not reported 0
Total 50

Annual Budget

Respondents indicated that the annual budget for their library ranged from less than $1,000,000 to over $20,000,000, but half of the respondents were not familiar with their library budgets.

Annual budget
less than $1,000,000 2
$1,000,000 – $5,000,000 6
$5,000,001 – $10,000,000 5
$10,000,001 – $20,000,000 6
$20,000,000+ 6
Not known 25
Not reported 0
Total 50


Library Employee FTE

Respondents reported that their library was staffed between 1 and over 150 employees, with the most common response being over 150 employees.

Total Employee FTE for Library
1-10 2
11-30 4
31-50 7
51-70 6
71-100 9
101-150 8
150+ 11
Not known 3
Not reported 0
Total 50


Multi-library system

Three-fifths of the 50 respondents in this category indicated that they were part of a multi-library system.  The number of libraries in the system ranged from 2 to over 10 libraries, with the most commonly reported number being 10 or more libraries.

Multi-library System
no 20
2 2
3 1
4 2
5 3
6 2
7 4
8 1
9 1
10+ 14
Not known 0
Not reported 0
Total 50

Of those multi-library systems, there was a variety of cataloging unit support, with the most commonly reported number (10 respondents) indicating at least 5 or more cataloging units supporting the multi-library system.

Multi-Library w/cataloging units
None 20
1 4
2 9
3 3
4 2
5+ 10
Not known 0
Not reported 2
Total 50


Cataloging Unit Profile

Now, we’ll take a look at what a cataloging unit in a 5 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

All 50 respondents recorded a name for their cataloging unit, with the exception of one that reported that the unit was part of the Technical Services division and had no separate name.  Two other respondents indicated that there was more than one unit that handled cataloging and metadata and reported names for both units.

Most respondents had unit names that utilized both the terms “cataloging” and “metadata,” such as:

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

Additionally the next most common names used just “cataloging” or just “metadata” on their own, such as:

  • Cataloging
  • Cataloging Department
  • Cataloging Services Department
  • Cataloging Unit
  • Metadata Creation
  • Metadata Services
  • Metadata Services Department
  • Metadata Unit
  • Monograph Cataloging
  • Serials Cataloging

Four respondents reported using “discovery” in the unit title, such as:

  • Cataloging and Discovery
  • Cataloging and Discovery Services
  • Cataloging and Discovery Services Department
  • Special Formats Metadata Management and Discovery Services

Three respondents reported using the term “technical services” in their unit name:

  • Technical Services
  • Technical Services and Collection Management
  • Technical Services and Collection Management Unit

Additional titles included:

  • BMS Bibliographic and Metadata Services
  • Collection Processing team
  • Data Management and Access
  • Digital Initiatives and Metadata Services
  • Information Management
  • Information Resources Management
  • Resource Description and Access Services
  • Resource Description Unit


Name of the Division

Sixteen of the 50 respondents indicated that the name of the division to which their cataloging unit reported was “Technical Services.”  The term “Technical Services” was also used with additional descriptive terms, such as:

  • Technical Services and Collection Management
  • Library Technical Services and Resource Management
  • Information and Technical Services
  • Collections and Technical Services

The term “Collections” was used frequently for division names, as well, including:

  • Collection Management Division (or Services)
  • Collection Strategies and Services
  • Collections and Access Management
  • Collections and Content
  • Collections and Information Management
  • Law Library Collection Services
  • Collections and Technical Services

Some respondents indicated a division name that was specific to the format of the material worked with or the processes completed in the division, such as:

  • Monographs, Acquisitions and Cataloging
  • Serials and Electronic Resources Department
  • Special Collections and Archives

Several respondents indicated a division name reflecting digitization and digital content and/or scholarship, as well, such as:

  • Center for Digital Scholarship and Services
  • Center for Digital Scholarship Services
  • Digital Resources and Discovery Services
  • Metadata and Digitization Services
  • Scholarly Resources

Additional names included:

  • Bibliographic and Metadata Services
  • Content Support Services
  • Corporate Services
  • Data and Technology Division
  • Discovery and Access
  • Information Technology Services
  • Knowledge and Resource Management
  • Library Operations Division
  • Library Technology
  • Support Services

Cataloging Unit FTE

The cataloging units in a 5 layer hierarchy are often composed of an average of 10.2 employees, with 53.4 being a professional  level (defined in the survey as a “salaried employee whose position requires an MLS/MLIS or equivalent degree”),5.1 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 1.9 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 3.4
Para-professional 5.1
Hourly 1.9
Total 10.2


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. Six of the 50 respondents indicated mixed statuses, with two or more statuses reported.   They were (3) a mix of faculty tenure and non tenure, (1) a mix of non-faculty with and without continuing appointment, (1) a mix of non-faculty without continuing appointment and unidentified, and (1) a mix of faculty tenure and non-tenure.

Faculty status of Professionals
Faculty, tenure-track 23
Faculty, non-tenure track 13
Non-faculty status, but with continuing appointment 13
Non-faculty status, no continuing appointment 5
Other 3
Not known 2
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 typically began with “Head,” “Coordinator,” or “Team Lead.”  However the common titles for professional level cataloging employees were:

  • Metadata Librarian
  • Cataloging Librarian
  • Catalog Librarian
  • Cataloging and Metadata Librarian
  • Principal Cataloger

In addition to these common titles, title variations included specific specialties such as rare books cataloging, languages or geographic region specialties, or special formats.

Para-professional catalog employees titles were most commonly reported as “Library Assistant” or “Library Associate.” The remaining were highly varied, but most often included the


  • Cataloging Assistant
  • Cataloging Specialist
  • Library Assistant
  • Library Specialist
  • Library Technical Assistant
  • Library Technician
  • Library Manager
  • Senior Library Specialist
  • Serials Cataloger

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.

Hourly cataloging employee titles were only reported by two thirds of respondents, who listed similar titles, such as:

  • Student Assistant
  • Library Associate
  • Library Assistant
  • Library Specialist
  • Library Technical Assistant
  • Library Technician

The most commonly reported titles related to student work (Student Assistant, Graduate Assistant, etc.) but they were not represented as heavily as in 6- and 7-layer hierarchies.  In addition, there was more variance in the the titles for 5-layer hierarchy cataloging hourly employees, including more subject specialties (such as Music Cataloging Librarian and  Persian Cataloger).  Together, this seems to indicate that more hourly workers are considered permanent or long-term employees with specialty training.



The majority of respondents indicated that they were outsourcing work.

Outsourced Tasks
Yes 27
No 16
Not known 0
Not reported 7
Total 50


Digital Library/Institutional Repository Work

Half of respondents indicated that their unit was supporting the work of the Digital Library or the Institutional Repository in their library.  Another 9 respondents indicated a that they were “sort of” helping with that work.

Provide support for Digital Library or Institutional Repository?
Yes 25
No 9
Sort of 9
Not known 0
Not reported 7
Total 50


Systems/Tools Used


The most common used ILS for respondents reporting a 5 layer hierarchy was Voyager and Aleph 500, followed by Sierra and Alma, Millenium, Worldshare Management, Symphony, Horizon, and Kuali OLE.

Integrated Library System (ILS)
Aleph 500 8
Alma 7
Evergreen 0
Horizon 1
Invenion –TIND 0
Kuali OLE 1
Millenium 4
Polaris 0
Sierra 7
Symphony 2
Virtua 0
Voyager 8
Worldshare Management Services 2
Other 2
Not known 1
Not reported 7
Total 50


Cataloging Utility

Connexion was the most commonly used cataloging utility.

Cataloging Utility
OCLC Connexion 41
Sky River 0
Other 2
Not known 0
Not reported 7
Total 50


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 1
DSpcae 8
EPrints3 0
Fedora/Hydra 5
Fedora/Islandora 4
Greenstone 0
Omeka 5
Other 7
We don’t have a DL 2
Not known 4
Not reported 1
Total 50


Institutional Repository Content Management System

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

Content Management System for Institutional Repository
BePress DigitalCommons 9
D-Space 10
Fedora Commons 1
Fedora/Hydra 3
Greenstone 0
Invenio 0
Opus 0
SimpleDL 0
SobekCM 3
Other 7
We don’t have an IR 2
Not known 2
Not reported 10
Total 50