Outsourcing Cataloging at the University of Maryland, College Park: Problems and Opportunities

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Bradley, B. & Guay, B. (2020). Outsourcing Cataloging at the University of Maryland, College Park: Problems and Opportunities. Against the Grain, 31(6), 17-20.


For the University of Maryland Libraries, a major outsourcing initiative began in late 2011 following an earlier implementation of WorldCat Local as a discovery tool: the transitioning from MARC record set loads of electronic resources collections into the local catalog to e-resource collection activations in the WorldCat knowledge base ending with the adoption of WorldCat Discovery and link resolver in July 2015, resulting in a highly automated and outsourced environment. During this time, e-resource cataloging processes shifted as the responsible units underwent a hand-full of reorganizations resulting in, as of April 2017, the formation of four units within Collections Services (formerly known as Technical Services): Acquisitions and Data Services, Continuing Resources and Database Management, Discovery and Metadata Services, and Original and Special Collections Cataloging. This latter reorganization brought relief with the creation of a new Discovery Librarian position.

During these transitions, e-resource maintenance remained a constant challenge for personnel across unit lines. We have found, however, that with new skills brought by the Discovery Librarian such as programming and data-manipulation added to old-fashioned competencies, such as communication skills, institutional memory, and a good sense of humor, the challenges have become manageable, and may even offer new opportunities.