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Technical Services

University of West Florida Libraries Statement on Cataloging

University of West Florida Libraries Statement on Cataloging

Library catalogs have never been a neutral space. The catalog is more than just a tool for collection discovery; it reflects current and past attitudes towards the authority to name and describe, the power to organize and classify. Its structure influences what you can find and how it can be discovered.

While we strive to catalog our collections as carefully and thoroughly as possible, we acknowledge that previous descriptive practices and outdated metadata conventions sometimes produce entries and information that are not historically accurate or are offensive or discriminatory.

Our catalog, much like our community, is diverse and dynamic. The library’s catalog is both product and a process. We recognize long-standing professional biases, national and international standards that create problematic metadata, and our need for further education and reflection on how to recognize inequities in the language and practice of cataloging and archival description.

The technical services department at the University of West Florida Libraries is revising our cataloging practices, checking records for accuracy, and eliminating, whenever possible, language that is biased. We are updating metadata, especially in instances when the historical narrative needs to be challenged or when greater social context needs to be included.

While we are committed to taking responsibility and agency for this work, we welcome input if you choose to offer it. If at some point, while searching our online catalog, consulting finding aids, or looking at our materials, you notice information that is inaccurate or problematic, please bring it to our attention. If you find anomalies in the way people, events, dates, or items are described in our collections, whether they are inaccurate, misleading, incomplete, derogatory, or otherwise unhelpful, please let us know and we’ll correct them.

Always feel free to contact us if you are having difficulty finding something you need, or if you have questions about a particular item.

Our catalog is meant to best describe and represent our collections in order to facilitate access to our shared cultural record. Just like us, it is not a perfect resource, and it is always being updated. With your help, together we can make it better.


With many thanks to UCLA's William Andrews Clark Memorial Library's Statement on Cataloging 

Technical Services

What is Cataloging?

Cataloging is the process by which we create and maintain the database of books, journals, audiovisual materials, etc., that are owned by the University of West Florida. Materials include online resources for which UWF Libraries have purchased access. You can search this database using the SEARCH box on the Libraries’ home page.

Every title in our Libraries--whether physically located here or accessible on the Web through library purchase--is described in a separate record which contains the information that you see as a user plus extensive computer coding. This coding is called the MARC record--Machine Readable Cataloging. Coding each element in the record allows the user to fine tune a search down to the smallest element such as date, format, language, location (in a particular UWF library or on the Web). You can do more specialized searching by clicking on the “Catalog” tab at the top of the screen of the Libraries’ home page; then select “Advanced Search.”

The Libraries receive too many new materials for us to key in the data for every title. For this reason we utilize the services of a bibliographic utility to share cataloging records with other libraries. Our utility is OCLC which has a membership of more than 17,983 libraries in 123 countries and territories. The database contains more than 300 million records.*

When a matching record is found in OCLC, the record is checked for accuracy and then loaded into the catalog. When no record exists, the professional cataloging librarian creates one and enters it into our catalog and into OCLC for other libraries to use in the future.

*Statistics as of December, 2015

Adapted from source:


Strategic Direction for State University Libraries' (SUL) Catalogers


Respond to the needs of all State University Libraries’ constituents with collaborative and innovative practices.


Facilitate speedier and ever wider access to the resources available to our user communities and keep the official record of the holdings of the State University Libraries.


  • Provide accurate metadata to ensure user success.
  • Assure uniformity of names and subjects to benefit the end user’s discovery experience in next-generation library catalogs.
  • Perform subject analysis to facilitate effective searching.
  • Classify related material together to allow for subject browsing as well as to support collection analysis and development.
  • Offer convenient full-text access when available.
  • Expose hidden collections to make transparent the extent of our resources.
  • Create and maintain the inventory of the SUL’s collections.
  • Continually review workflows and apply state-of-the-art technology to maximize efficiency.
  • Adhere to internationally accepted metadata standards to make possible data-sharing and data-migration.
  • Participate in resource sharing cataloging cooperatives to increase productivity and cost-savings. 


Glossary of Technical Services Terms