Cataloging: Beyond Books

Jan 3, 2024


When we think about cataloging, most of us think about books. Scanning ISBNs, putting spine labels on, and stamping the book with your library’s name are almost universal tasks. However, as libraries have gone beyond including only books and other printed materials, so have library software systems. When choosing library software, make sure that it helps you to keep up with the ever-changing expectations and needs of your patrons by enabling you to add non-book items easily.


Common (and Uncommon) Non-Book Resources

Media such as DVDs, Blu-Rays, and CDs are common types of non-book items, and library software packages are likely to have built-in categories and possibly cataloging templates to help you describe a resource to your patrons with number of discs, running time, etc.
More and more, libraries of all sorts are lending a variety of materials—everything from Chromebooks to cake pans and microphones to museum passes. What information needs to be included in the resource record, and how do you make sure that the records are consistent? Written guidelines such as a style guide can help. However, if your ILS has templates for cataloging items, you can ensure that important information isn’t left out.


    Templates, whether built-in to the software or ones you create yourself, give staff a form to fill in with the information they have. Serial numbers and hardware specifications for laptops, additional parts included with kits, and the measurements of a cake pan can be entered simply by putting information into the blanks.
    Some library software systems have built-in templates for different item types, while others allow you to edit and build your own. The ability to copy an existing template and tweak it to fit a different item type can save time, as you won’t have to “reinvent the wheel” once you create something that works for you. Being able to add the MARC fields that you need to a template and change their labels to better reflect the information they contain is an extremely useful function.

      Categories and Loan Rules

      Creating categories for your resources will enable you to control how and if these items circulate by allowing staff to assign specific loan rules to different item types. If you want a laptop to circulate for a shorter period than a fishing pole, you will want to have a way to tell your library system that the two items are different. One way this is done is with categories, such as Equipment, that you assign resources to.


        Cataloging “non-traditional” library resources can be challenging. However, with an ILS that contains the tools you need to create accurate resource records, you will be better equipped to face the challenge and get those items to the patrons.


        About Surpass Software 

         Surpass is the easy-to-use, cloud-based library management system for libraries of all types and sizes. Whether you’re a school, church, museum, business, or any other organization with resources to lend, Surpass is likely a good fit for you. We pride ourselves on being affordable and flexible, with an expert support team ready to help you at a moment’s notice.

         Schedule a free demo to see Surpass in action.


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