Cataloging Goals

Cataloging is a user service which strives to meet the following goals*:

  1. To enable a person to find a book (or other material) of which either
    1. the author,
    2. the title, or
    3. the subject is known
  2. To show what the library has
    1. by a given author
    2. on a given subject
    3. in a given kind of literature
  3. To assist in the choice of a book (or other material)
    1. as to the edition (bibliographically)
    2. as to its character (literary or topical)

These are sometimes summarized as: I) identifying or finding known items; II) collocating or bringing together related materials; and III) providing sufficient data so that the user can evaluate and select from among related materials.

*Based on Charles A. Cutter’s Rules for a Dictionary Catalog, 1904. Adapted from Wynar’s Introduction to Cataloging and Classification by Arlene G. Taylor, 9th ed., 2000, p. 7-8.