Mission Statement

The mission of the Cataloging Unit is to describe and organize Cornette Library resources in accordance with national standards and local practice so that patrons may identify and retrieve appropriate materials from the collection to meet their information needs.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

The following list contains examples of questions that the Cataloging Unit often receives:

Please visit the Departments contacts page.

The Cataloging Unit is responsible for helping the Cornette Library serve its dual mission of providing access to information resources for the University community and acting as a cultural and intellectual resource for the region by:

Producing bibliographic records for the online catalog which:

  • describe the physical nature of a work,
  • supply appropriate terms (authors, subject, titles) by which these records may be searched and retrieved, and
  • include the call number to show shelving location and indicate overall subject content;

Attaching item records to their corresponding bibliographic records which:

  • give a location code telling where an item is held,
  • identify the physical format of an item,
  • show the circulation status of an item, and
  • record the enumeration (copy or volume information) of an item;

Creating check-in records for currently received serial issues which:

  • indicate the publication frequency of a serial and when the next issue should be received,
  • alert staff when a serial issue has not been received and needs to be claimed, and
  • update the corresponding summary holdings statement for individual serial titles; and

Processing items added to the library collection which:

  • allows these items to be checked out through the use of barcodes,
  • presents a shelving arrangement through the use of call number labels,
  • provides a patron reminder for when materials need to be returned through the use of "date due" stickers; and

Performing a variety of database maintenance activities which:

  • directs patrons to locate what they need with the presence of "see" and "see also" references in the online catalog,
  • flags "on-the-fly" items which were initially circulated without a full bibliographic record and now require cataloging,
  • keeps an accurate and current inventory of library materials by deleting bibliographic and corresponding item records from the catalog when those materials are withdrawn from the collection; and
  • permits temporary bibliographic and corresponding item records to be created (and later deleted) for reserve class items.

An access point can be a code, name, word or phrase used to search or retrieve bibliographic records from the library catalog. Examples of access points include ISBN (International Standard Book Number) codes, geographic names such as Texas, and phrases such as computer literacy.

The Cornette Library uses Library of Congress Classification (LCC) rather than the Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC) system due to LCC's overall academic orientation. Each classification schedule has been developed and continues to evolve under a group of subject specialists. In addition, libraries using LCC found that it was more efficient in their cataloging operations to simply accept LCC call numbers on cataloging records that had originated from the Library of Congress.

Library of Congress call numbers are alphanumeric notations (a combination of letters and numbers) that contain main classes, subclasses, further subdivisions, and Cutter numbers. Main classes are represented by a single capital letter, subclasses are formulated by two capital letters, subdivisions are recorded using arabic numbers from 1 to 9999, and Cutter numbers are alphanumeric strings used to separate individual works on the same subject.

Example: Perspectives in nutrition (4th Ed.) by Gordon M. Wardlaw.
Call NumberMeaning
QPNutrition (main class [Q] and subclass [QP])
141General works, treatises, and textbooks (subdivision)
.W38Cutter number formulated by author's last name
1999Publication or copyright date of work

In the construction of subject headings, the Library of Congress considers user needs, current usage, and "literary warrant." In an attempt to meet user needs, the Library of Congress assumes that subject headings allow the patron to locate an item of which the subject is known and to find what the library has on a subject. To ascertain the current usage aspect of subject heading construction, reference works such as general indexes and thesauri are consulted, as well as current literature in the specific field. The concept "literary warrant" refers to the literature on which the subject headings are based. In other words, subject terms used in works taken from the library's own collection are in turn, used in the formulation of subject headings.

Within classification systems, such as the Library of Congress, the overriding principle is to organize information by academic discipline (fields of knowledge) rather than by subject. As a result, the same topic could be located in many different areas of the collection. For example, a book on Texas could be classed in law, medicine, or history. How a topic is viewed within a discipline then, as well as the individual author's approach or perspective, can determine where a book is located (classed) within the library collection.

A serial is a publication produced in any format which is issued in successive parts (each part possessing a chronological or numeric designation) and is intended to be published indefinitely. In contrast, a monograph is an item consisting of one part or parts where publication is considered to be completed with a finite number of parts. An example of a serial is a periodical, newspaper, journal, or annual. The definition of a serial is currently undergoing some revision in the library community with the introduction of e-journals (electronic journals).

An ISBN is an International Standard Book Number and an ISSN is an International Standard Serial Number. Both numbers function as a unique identifier for individual monograph and serial titles.

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