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Handwritten entries of books in an old tape catalog

The cataloging or development is an operation in libraries , in the media in the library catalog to be entered. Here, the cataloguer for each medium creates a - - electronic today Katalogisat on.

In the library workflow, cataloging follows library acquisitions . After cataloging, the listed media can be sorted into the library holdings .

In the library system, cataloging includes formal indexing and subject indexing . In the formal indexing, only data (such as the year of publication, name of the author, book title, etc.) of the media are entered in the library catalog. During subject indexing, information on the content and the topics dealt with in the publications are recorded. Depending on the size of the library, the formal and subject indexing is carried out by the same or different employees.


Cataloging is done with computers today. Catalogs can either be created with the help of third-party catalogs or other aids or - which is much more common - with the media available directly at the computer workstation ( library autopsy ). In the case of an autopsy, the cataloger must first collect the media from other departments. Specialized library software is used to enter media into the electronic library catalog . The cataloger first opens the library software on his PC and then the cataloging module that is usually available there . Now the data to be recorded is searched out of the media and entered into the corresponding fields of the cataloging module. Which data is recorded, at which point this data is entered and how this data is entered (one-to-one or in a modified form) is precisely defined in library regulations . In many cases this medium has already been cataloged by other libraries. Existing catalogs can be used as aids and often found immediately using the library software and taken over in whole or in part. Once all the data has been entered, the entries are saved and the library software then stores them in the selected database . Depending on the size of the library, it is possible that one person collects all the data on a medium or that specialized employees only collect a certain part of the data and then pass the media on to other catalogers. When all the data is captured, the media leaves the cataloging department.


Formal indexing

During the formal indexing, the data of the relevant publication are recorded in the library catalog. In the case of written works, this involves bibliographical data such as the year of publication (e.g. "1974") or the name of the author (e.g. "Franz Innerhofer").

Subject indexing

During subject indexing, information on the content and the topics covered in the relevant publication is compiled and entered in the catalog. For example, if a book deals with the influence of stress on a child's sleep, this book can be entered in the catalog under the keywords “child”, “sleep” and “stress” and can be found by the library user under these keywords.


We speak of retrocataloging when it is not the new acquisitions but rather older holdings of the library that are subsequently cataloged that are not yet listed in the current catalog.


Librarians recorded fonts in library catalogs as early as ancient times . Before electronic cataloging with the aid of the computer, the cataloged items were first entered in blank books and later recorded on catalog cards made for them.


  • Klaus Gantert, Rupert Hacker : Basic library knowledge , 8th edition, Saur, Munich 2008, ISBN 978-3598117718 , pp. 164-224.
  • Klaus Haller , Hans Popst: Cataloging according to the RAK-WB. An introduction to the rules for alphabetical cataloging in academic libraries . Saur, Munich, 6th, reviewed and updated edition 2003, ISBN 3-598-11626-8 .
  • Ursula Rautenberg (Ed.): Reclams Sachlexikon des Buch , 2nd, improved edition, Reclam, Stuttgart 2003, ISBN 3-15-010542-0 , pp. 293f.