Now, What Do You Want Me to Do? New and Emerging Roles for Cataloging and Metadata Librarians

Session Description

The roles and responsibilities within library cataloging units have been shifting over the past decade and will continue to shift dramatically in the coming years.  In 2016, the Organization and Structure of Cataloging Units in Academic Libraries survey aimed to take a snapshot of that shift. The survey received almost 700 responses from the U.S. and international library community.  One of the focal points of the survey was an investigation of the types of tasks that Cataloging and Metadata Librarians are asked to perform, as well as the anticipated skills needed to meet future demands.  Some of the surprising trends involved the increasingly hybrid workloads of cataloging and metadata librarians as they take on dual roles in Special Collections, Electronic Resources, Acquisitions, and other library units.

One of the ways to visualize this shift in work and responsibilities is to map out existing workflows, particularly between library units.  In early 2017, the Utah State University Libraries engaged in a workflow mapping process across the Technical Services division in order to better understand the changes in how library collections are acquired, ingested, and maintained. The data resulting from this process helped inform staffing and organizational decisions for the library.  This presentation will utilize the results from the 2016 survey, as well as real-time survey answers from the ALCTS Exchange participants, to demonstrate how tasks and responsibilities are divvied out both within and outside of the traditional cataloging unit.  It will then demonstrate ways, such as workflow mapping, for cataloging and technical services units to identify how the division of responsibilities and patterns of work in their own organizations provides the blueprint for the cataloging/metadata professional of the future.

Session Format




    Liz Woolcott

  • Liz Woolcott, Head of Cataloging and Metadata Services, Merrill-Cazier Library, Utah State University
    Liz Woolcott is the Head of Cataloging and Metadata Services for Utah State University Libraries. She has worked in cataloging and metadata coordination for 13 years.  She currently serves as the Vice Chair of the ALCTS Metadata Interest Group and is the co-founder of the Library Workflow Exchange. She holds an MA in History and an MLS from the University of North Texas. Her research interests include workflow analysis, project management, and impact assessment.

    Jeremy Myntti

  • Jeremy Myntti, Head of Digital Library Services, J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah
    Jeremy Myntti is Head of Digital Library Services at the University of Utah Marriott Library. This position allows him the opportunity to work closely with those in the library converting material from analog to digital, creating and maintaining the metadata for our collections, and preserving our digital assets. In addition to serving on several ALCTS committees, he will assume the position of President of OLAC after ALA Annual this coming summer.

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