Cataloging and Metadata Services Policy

Reason for Policy

The Cataloging and Metadata Services Department supports the mission of the Liberty University Jerry Falwell Library by describing and organizing information resources to make them available to Library customers for discovery, selection, and access.

Policy Statement

The Cataloging and Metadata Services Department provides access for the Liberty community to the library’s physical and electronic resources by supplying accurate descriptive metadata for the library’s online catalog which is displayed through the Summon discovery platform.  The Department also prepares physical resources for shelving.  All the resources are organized into collections according to their format and location, and then arranged by Library of Congress call number.  To facilitate inter-library loan, and to communicate our holdings on the internet to the larger academic community, resources are registered in OCLC’s WorldCat database.  For “In Processing” items that are not yet on the shelves, Library customers may request one business day rush cataloging.


The Department uses reasonable measures to find the best available OCLC metadata record for a Library resource, upgrades and/or modifies the record as appropriate, and adds the record to the online catalog.  In cases where an OCLC record does not exist, the Department creates a new record for the OCLC database and the online catalog.

The Department prepares physical items for shelving by adding barcodes, ownership stamps, and call number spine labels.

The Department corrects metadata errors, removes lost items, and performs other maintenance activities to keep the online catalog accurate.

Rush cataloging requests are received by the Customer Service Center; the customer is then notified by email when the book is ready.

Customers should contact the Customer Service Center (CSC) when they find problems in the catalog; the CSC will relay the concern to the Department.


Sanctions are determined on a case by case basis.


The scope of the Department’s cataloging does not include the thousands of periodicals, and their individual articles, to which the Library has full text electronic access through its subscriptions to many electronic databases. Library customers can search this literature effectively through the article indexing provided by the databases themselves, or through the indexing amassed in the Summon discovery service.

Glossary of Terms

Metadata: data about data.  For a library book, the data itself is the actual content in the pages of the book; the metadata is the record or description in the library catalog that lists the book’s title, author, publisher, subjects, etc.

Online catalog: a catalog, made available in the form of a searchable computer database, of the metadata records that describe the library’s resources.

Summon Discovery Service: a database service that allows library users to search, in one place, for metadata records for library resources represented in the Library’s online catalog, as well as for records for the articles contained in the thousands of journals and magazines to which the Library has access in electronic format.

Library of Congress call number: one or two letters followed by a one to four digit number that is assigned to a library resource to indicate its subject; additional characters are added as shorthand for the author’s last name or the title.  Call numbers appear on a label on the edge of physical items to allow them to be arranged in a precise order by subject and then by author or title.

Interlibrary loan: a service whereby a library borrows a resource from another library on behalf of a library user.

OCLC (Online Computer Library Center) is an international cooperative that provides services to libraries and library users.

WorldCat: a database maintained by OCLC, made up of metadata records representing resources in thousands of libraries around the world – in effect, “the world’s largest library catalog.”