In this post, we will explore the profile of the doctoral institutions that reported having 3 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, 23 indicated they had three layers in their reporting structures.  This was the fourth largest group.


A three layer reporting structure broke down along these lines:

  • Library Director (often titled Dean, University Library, etc.)
  • Coordinator or Head of Unit and Catalogers or Subject Specialists
  • Technicians, Copy Catalogers, or Library Assistants


Profile of the Library

First, we will layout the general profile of the libraries reporting a 3 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 to  over 40,000 with the most popular response between 10,001 and 15,000 students.

Student FTE
less than 1,000 1
1,000-5,000 3
5,0001-10,000 4
10,001-15,000 5
15,0001-20,0000 4
20,001-25,000 1
25,001-30,000 2
30,001-40,000 1
40,000+ 2
Not known 0
Not reported 0
Total 23


Collection Size

Respondents indicated that their library’s collection size ranged between 10,001-100,000 volumes and over 5,000,000 volumes, with over half of respondents indicating between 100,001 and 1,000,000 volumes.

Collection Size
less than 10,000 volumes 0
10,001-100,000 volumes 2
100,001-500,000 volumes 7
500,001-1,000,000 volumes 7
1,000,001-5,000,000 volumes 5
5,000,000 + volumes 1
Not known 1
Not reported 0
Total 23


Annual Budget

Respondents indicated that the annual budget for their library ranged from less than $1,000,000 to $10,000,000, but just under half of the respondents were not familiar with their library budgets.

Annual budget
less than $1,000,000 1
$1,000,000 – $5,000,000 7
$5,000,001 – $10,000,000 5
$10,000,001 – $20,000,000 0
$20,000,000+ 0
Not known 10
Not reported 0
Total 23

Library Employee FTE

Respondents reported that their library was staffed between 1 and 150 employees, with the two most common response being 11-30 employee and 31-50 employees.

Total Employee FTE for Library
1-10 3
11-30 6
31-50 6
51-70 4
71-100 1
101-150 1
150+ 0
Not known 2
Not reported 0
Total 23


Multi-library system

Just over half of the 23 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 two most commonly reported numbers being 2 or 3 libraries in the system.

Multi-library System
no 12
2 3
3 3
4 0
5 2
6 0
7 1
8 0
9 0
10+ 2
Not known 0
Not reported 0
Total 23

Of those multi-library systems, there was a variety of cataloging unit support, but the most commonly reported number (4 respondents) indicated that just 1 cataloging unit supported the multi-library system.

Multi-Library w/cataloging units
None 12
1 4
2 3
3 1
4 0
5+ 2
Not known 0
Not reported 1
Total 23


Cataloging Unit Profile

Now, we’ll take a look at what a cataloging unit in a 3 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

Six of the respondents indicated that they did not have a distinct cataloging unit with its own name.  Four of those 6 reported that the cataloging staff were part of a larger “Tech Services” unit, and the last two indicated that the cataloging staff were dispersed into other units in the library.

Of the remaining respondents, 7 reported the name “Technical Services” and 5 reported the name “Cataloging“.  All other responses were:

  • Cataloging & Metadata Management
  • General Collections Cataloging
  • Metadata
  • Special Collections Cataloging
  • Technology and Digital Initiatives

Name of the Division

Nine of the 23 respondents said their unit reports to the Dean, Library Director, or an associate director and did not report a larger division name or designation.  Of those that reported a division name, the most commonly reported name was “Technical Services.”  Additional names included:

  • Academic Resources
  • Archives & Special Collections
  • Collection Development and Management
  • Discovery and Technology Services
  • Government Documents
  • Information Resources Management, and Support Services
  • Monograph Team
  • Virtual Services

Cataloging Unit FTE

The cataloging units in a 3 layer hierarchy are often composed of an average of 5.0 employees, with 2.1 being a professional  level (defined in the survey as a “salaried employee whose position requires an MLS/MLIS or equivalent degree”),2 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 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 2.1
Para-professional 2.0
Hourly 1.0
Total 5.0


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. Only 1 of the 23 respondents indicated mixed statuses, with two or more statuses reported.   They reported a mix of faculty tenure and non-tenure professionals.

Faculty status of Professionals
Faculty, tenure-track 9
Faculty, non-tenure track 7
Non-faculty status, but with continuing appointment 5
Non-faculty status, no continuing appointment 1
Other 2
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. Other than the unit head designation, the most popular title used was “Cataloging Librarian.”  Additional titles included:

  • Associate Law Librarian for Technical Services
  • Cataloging and Metadata Librarian
  • Collection Development and Acquisitions Librarian
  • Coordinator of Cataloging and Metadata
  • Digital Collections Librarian
  • Discovery and Access Coordinator
  • Electronic Access Librarian
  • Electronic and Continuing Resources Catalog Librarian
  • Electronic Resources and Metadata Law Librarian
  • Electronic Resources Librarian
  • Journals Librarian
  • Media Cataloger and Assessment Coordinator
  • Metadata and Emerging Technologies Librarian
  • Metadata and Resource Management Librarian
  • Metadata Lead Librarian
  • Metadata Librarian
  • Metadata Librarian and Linked Data Librarian
  • Print Resources Librarian
  • Reference and Cataloging Librarian
  • Serials and Authority Control Librarian
  • Special Collections Cataloger
  • Special Formats Cataloger
  • Special Formats Cataloging Librarian
  • Systems Librarian
  • Technical Services Coordinator
  • Technical Services Librarian


Para-professional catalog employees titles were reported by only 15 of the 23 respondents.  The most commonly reported titles were “Library Assistant” or “Staff.” The remaining included the following:

  • Acquisitions/Serials Supervisor
  • Cataloging Assistant
  • Cataloging technician
  • Clerk
  • Copy Cataloger
  • Library Associate
  • Library Systems and Metadata Specialist
  • Library Technician
  • Metadata Technician
  • Technical Services Assistant
  • Technical Services Officer


Hourly cataloging employee titles were only reported by eleven of the respondents.  The two most common responses were “Student Assistant” and “Technical Services Assistant.”  Additional titles included:

  • Cataloging Assistant
  • Library Assistant
  • Library Associate
  • Library Paraprofessional
  • Library Specialist
  • Metadata Assistant(s)
  • Senior Library Specialist
  • Senior Library Technical Services Coordinator
  • Serials Technical Assistant
  • Student worker


The majority of respondents indicated that they did not outsource any work. The 3-layer hierarchy and 2-layer hierarchy groups were the only groupings that had a majority of respondents reporting no outsourcing work.

Outsourced Tasks
Yes 7
No 15
Not known 0
Not reported 1
Total 23


Digital Library/Institutional Repository Work

Twelve respondents indicated that their unit did not provide a supporting role for the work of the Digital Library or the Institutional Repository in their library.  Five respondents indicated a that they were “sort of” helping with that work and five respondents replied that they were providing support for the Digital Library or Institutional Repository.

Provide support for Digital Library or Institutional Repository?
Yes 5
No 12
Sort of 5
Not known 0
Not reported 1
Total 23

Systems/Tools Used


The most common used ILS for respondents reporting a 3 layer hierarchy was Voyager, followed by Sierra, Aleph 500 and Symphony.

Integrated Library System (ILS)
Aleph 500 3
Alma 1
Evergreen 0
Horizon 0
Invenion –TIND 1
Kuali OLE 0
Millenium 2
Polaris 0
Sierra 4
Symphony 3
Virtua 0
Voyager 5
Worldshare Management Services 2
Other 1
Not known 0
Not reported 1
Total 23


Cataloging Utility

Connexion was the most commonly used cataloging utility.

Cataloging Utility
OCLC Connexion 22
Sky River 0
Other 0
Not known 0
Not reported 1
Total 23


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 3
EPrints3 0
Fedora/Hydra 0
Fedora/Islandora 0
Greenstone 0
Omeka 1
Other 3
We don’t have a DL 0
Not known 1
Not reported 9
Total 23


Institutional Repository Content Management System

BePress DigitalCommons  and D-Space were the most commonly used CMS’s for Institutional Repositories in this category.

Content Management System for Institutional Repository
BePress DigitalCommons 4
D-Space 4
Fedora Commons 0
Fedora/Hydra 0
Greenstone 0
Invenio 0
Opus 0
SimpleDL 0
SobekCM 0
Other 1
We don’t have an IR 0
Not known 0
Not reported 13
Total 23