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Six tools to simplify cataloging

Over the past year, I’ve discovered a number of handy, free tools for cataloging those materials we receive that do not come pre-cataloged. Here are a handful of tools that could save you lots of time.

1. Classify offers automated advice for assigning classification numbers and subject headings. Searchable by standard numbers, author, title, and subject heading, the database covers books, magazines, journals, and music and video recordings.  It does DDC and LCC and presents lovely orange pie charts displaying frequencies of numbers and headings.

2. Amazon to MARC converter and IMDb to MARC Converter by allows users the ability to create and export MARC records for books and movies from available Web data.

These converters transform XML product descriptions into bibliographic records which are readable and loadable by most Integrated Library Systems. These free records are very useful for small institutions with a small budget or the purposes of ordering new titles, especially if these titles cannot be obtained from more traditional sources.

3. Want to add Web resources to your catalog? Simply enter a URL and Web2Marc will generate a downloadable MARC record compatible with Alexandria, Destiny, and other catalog software.

4. Library of Congress Authorities allows users to search and browse:

  • 265,000 subject authority records
  • 5.3 million name authority records (ca. 3.8 million personal, 900,000 corporate, 120,000 meeting, and 90,000 geographic names)
  • 350,000 series and uniform title authority records
  • 340,000 name/title authority records
    Associated references and scope notes are also provided.

Searching the related (and huge) Library of Congress Online Catalog provides access to brief records, full records, subject headings, and MARC tags.

5. OCLC Dewey Services shares the following handy summaries—Ten Main Classes] [Second Summary – The Hundreds Divisions] [Third Summary – The Thousands Sections]
[100] [200] [300] [400] [500] [600] [700] [800] [900]

6. Finally, both the Cataloguer’s Toolbox (Bibliographic Control Services , Queen Elizabeth II Library, Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada) and the Internet Library for Librarians are portals linking to a huge variety of cataloging resources.

(See this LibGuide for other handy library links.)

Joyce Valenza About Joyce Valenza

Joyce is an Assistant Professor of Teaching at Rutgers University School of Information and Communication, a technology writer, speaker, blogger and learner. Follow her on Twitter: @joycevalenza


  1. Lisa Morein says:


    This will prove invaluable for me. Thanks. L

  2. Hi Joyce:

    What a wonderful resource this is! So often, cataloging seems to be forgotten while so many other issues involved in school librarianship are highlighted over and over again.

    I first got into this when buying VHS tapes for a new school library (i.e. over 15 years ago)–no cataloging available! On a leave of absence I decided to do somethings about it. The story is told at our web site:

    I’m so proud now–we have a database of over 110,000 MARC records for non-print materials, including streamed media, that can be downloaded from the website, once a school or district takes out a subscription. Many of these records are not available elsewhere. That’s because I started hounding educational video distributors to send us viewing copies for cataloging and eventually, they did.

    I’d love to know what you think–we’ve got a sample of “bullying” MARC records that anyone can download free of charge, just to see how the service works.

    Thanks, Joyce.

  3. Thanks for such a clear, annotated list! Although I am not currently in a library position, I will finish my certification in a few weeks and will definitely return to your blog post to help me when I do get a position as an LMS. My question is: Which one of these have you found the most useful to you personally in public school libraries. After coming from a school that does not any automated system, I found that as incredibly inadequate to run an effective program; thus, if I do enter into that position, I would like to be prepared to argue for having such a system in place and how much more efficiently the library could be run, creating an atmosphere of simplicity for my students and staff and, hopefully, increase usage of our library, which is woefully underused. Thanks!


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