The roles and responsibilities within academic library cataloging units have gradually been shifting over the past several years. To deal with these changes, catalogers on both the librarian/faculty levels as well as professional or paraprofessional staff have had to respond by shifting workloads to ensure that necessary cataloging tasks are carried out. With many of these new and upcoming tasks and workflows that academic library cataloging units are completing comes change to the organizational structure of these units.
This research project has been designed to gather information about the past, current, and future organizational structures of academic library cataloging units. As part of the study, a survey was widely distributed in March and April 2016 requesting academic librarians and staff members to offer information about the cataloging units at their organizations. The survey response deadline was April 30, 2016, and data is currently being analyzed to be made available through publications, presentations, and on a website.
The survey data revealed several compelling trends about the recent changes in cataloging staffing models used by academic libraries with disparate sizes and funding levels. Trends include how the organizational structure of cataloging units have changed over the past decade, future plans for restructuring cataloging, and shifting responsibilities while assuming new iterations of traditional cataloging and metadata related roles.
In addition to discovering how cataloging units have changed in response to needs and trends in academic libraries, special attention is being paid to the type of work that is completed both inside and outside of the cataloging unit along with new responsibilities that have been shouldered in the recent past or will be acquired in the future. These roles and responsibilities can be directly related to the size of the library (both collection size and staffing), the overall structure of the cataloging unit, and the unit’s place within the institution.