December 2022 | Volume XL, Issue 4 »

What is the Cataloging Maintenance Center?

December 1, 2022
Dr. Pamela Thomas, Cataloging Maintenance Center

Why not have your local authors, history, and genealogy items cataloged for free? Funded through the Illinois State Library, the Cataloging Maintenance Center (CMC) can do just that! Since 2001, CMC staff have worked at the Illinois Heartland Library System (IHLS) and there are now staff at all three of IHLS’s locations (Edwardsville, Champaign, and Carbondale). We also catalog government documents, microfilm, and special collections (kits, world language materials, and realia). Database cleanup is another service provided by CMC staff. Do you have personal or corporate names that you wish were in the authority file? CMC staff can create name authority records (NACO) in OCLC for you. CMC staff can also catalog digital collections and upload them to the Illinois Digital Archives (IDA) or upload to your library’s website. We also provide transcription of audio files and written (handwritten or typed) documents. Besides cataloging, CMC staff present Online with the CMC webinars, August-May, which are hour-long sessions on various cataloging topics with a Q&A portion. Cataloging courses are offered using Moodle: Cataloging 3D Objects, Kits, and Realia; Subject Analysis; Cataloging Basics; RDA Book Training; and RDA Video and Audio Recordings Training. These are free to all Illinois library staff.


Dr. Pamela Thomas is the bibliographic grant manager (Champaign), while Barb Scoby (Edwardsville), Eric McKinney (Champaign), Mary Cornell (Champaign), and Shelley Stone (Carbondale) are CMC catalogers, and Katy Egts (Champaign) is the metadata cataloger.


If you have items written or created by local (Illinois) authors, featuring local history (Illinois), or local genealogy (Illinois) and a WorldCat record has not been created, then you can send your item(s) to the CMC using an Illinois Library Delivery Service (ILDS) label. An Illinois publisher does not qualify for free cataloging.


The CMC also catalogs government documents and microfilm. It is preferable if the government documents have an Illinois connection. If you have one microfilm or a collection of microfilm, you can send it or them to the Edwardsville office for cataloging.


A special collection is defined by each library. As long as an item is part of a special collection, then the CMC can catalog it for free. Some special collections that we have cataloged are kits, realia, world language materials, blueprints, Civil War “fractional” money, and postcards. CMC staff can catalog most modern languages.


The CMC staff have been working on a PrairieCat database cleanup project since 2019 and have enhanced or identified bibliographic record merges in more than 15,000 records. Starting in September 2021, the CMC hired three special project catalogers who have been working on an Alma cleanup project for the Consortium of Academic and Research Libraries in Illinois (CARLI): 24,645 bibliographic records have been edited; 2,795,741 records have been deleted, and 1,921 records have been merged. These three temporary full-time special project catalogers work virtually: Blake Walter (since Sept. 2021), Bonnie Dauer (since Sept. 2021), and Katie Roberts (since Aug. 2022).


As part of our mission, the CMC is obligated to create 100 NACO records annually (Sept.-Aug.). If you have any names
that need an authority record created, then please send them to with documentation  and/or as much information as you have (scans of “about the author’ from books, links to social media accounts, etc.).


The CMC can transcribe oral audio files and handwritten or typed documents. Ideally, the collection will be copyright-free and can be uploaded to the IDA website. We can also provide consultations and help you plan a metadata project. Our Metadata Cataloger, Katy Egts, is eager to consult with you on your metadata projects, transcribe your textual or recorded collections, and either upload them to the IDA website or your library’s website. You can contact Katy at

Katy is currently working on four projects: Marshall Public Library Digital Archive Collection, Poplar Creek Public Library oral histories, New Lenox Public Library Digital Archive, and the Jayne Bartlett Kerr Photo Album for Marshall Public Library. The first metadata project that the CMC cataloged for Marshall Public Library was the Friends of Marshall Public Library Oral History Project, which consisted of approximately 256 interviews with a total of approximately 187 hours. The transcription started in 2019 and was completed by December 2020.

Katy is also working on the Marshall Public Library Digital Archive Collection, which is historical photographs relevant to their city that they post to their Facebook page with descriptions weekly. We collect all that information, translate it into metadata, append the metadata to the images, and then upload them into the Illinois Digital Archive, owned and managed by the Illinois State Library. The project consists of close to 2,500 images.

Poplar Creek Public Library has a collection of oral histories collected by the Streamwood Historical Society in the late 1990s and early 2000s from local residents about their lives spent in the Streamwood area. We are transcribing each audio recording and then fact-checking all names of people and places before sending the transcription back to the library to be displayed on their own website. This project consists of roughly 44 hours of audio recording.

The New Lenox Public Library has a large collection of various digitized documents, ranging from Civil War letters, short local history novels, obituaries, and documents pertaining to local schools, churches, and businesses. They will also soon have a video-recorded interview with descendants from a prominent local family. We are providing transcription services for handwriting, typed text, and audio recording so that these documents are all entirely keyword-searchable within the Illinois Digital Archive, in addition to creating and appending metadata for each item. This project currently consists of roughly 300 different documents.

The newest project Katy is working on for the Marshall Public Library is the Jayne Bartlett Kerr photo album. Marshall Public Library acquired an antique photo album belonging to a former Marshall resident, Jayne Bartlett Kerr. The album consists of roughly 95 photographs, all taken between 1900 and 1903. This project involves creating metadata for each photograph in the album as well as transcribing any handwritten notes associated with each photograph.


The CMC offers hour-long webinars, Online with the CMC, in August-May of each year. This year, we moved our presentations to the second Thursday of each month, from 10–11 a.m. Presentations range from 20–40 minutes followed by a Q&A session. In October, we will present on special collections cataloging; in November, DEIA (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility); in December, the 024, 028, and 588 fields for videocassettes and kits; in January, linked data and BIBFRAME; in February, the 033 and 518 MARC fields; in March, cataloging world languages; in April, basic book repair; and in May, cataloging local history. You can view the recordings of past presentations on the IHLS YouTube channel, If you have any topics that you would like the CMC staff to present, then please email: You can register in L2 for any of these webinars.


The CMC staff teach cataloging courses on the Moodle platform through the SHARE training website. Currently, we offer courses on Cataloging 3D Objects, Kits, and Realia; Subject Analysis; Cataloging Basics; RDA Book Training; and RDA for Video and Audio Recordings Training. If you have suggestions for new courses, please email us at Most of the courses are 6 weeks, except Cataloging 3D Objects, Kits, and Realia, which is a four-week course. These are self-paced and asynchronous, but quizzes and assignments need to be completed by the end of each week. You can register in L2 for any of these courses. They are free to all library staff in Illinois.


During FY2022 (July 1, 2021-June 30, 2022), the CMC originally cataloged 1,239 items and enhanced 399 bibliographic records in English, Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Russian, Vietnamese, and Spanish. For the world language materials, 61 books, four computer files, and two kits were cataloged. Of the 1,638 items cataloged, there were 1,273 books, 19 musical sound recordings, 140 serials, 46 archival collections, 17 e-books, eight atlases, 11 computer files, 19 videos, 33 kits, two mixed media, 31 spoken sound recordings, one microform, and six realia. A total of 110 name authority and five series records were created. Merged bibliographic records amounted to 1,087. The total of braille books cataloged were 107. Reviewed records totaled 654. Bibliographic records that were deleted, edited, or merged during database cleanup projects for the Consortium of Academic and Research Libraries (CARLI) and PrairieCat equaled 3,130,319. See the pie chart below for a visual display of the data (database cleanup data was not included since the number was so large).


It’s time to clean out your library closets or clean off your desks and send us those items and collections that you have been putting aside for when you have more time to catalog and let us catalog them for free. To find out more information about the CMC, check out our website: If you are uncertain whether your items fit the criteria for free cataloging by the CMC, then please send us an email

*There have been some staff changes at the CMC prior to the article's publication but after this edition had gone to print. Kat Anderberg is the new metadata cataloger and Andrea Giosta has taken over Bonnie Dauer's position as one of the temporary full-time special project catalogers.

iREAD Summer Reading Programs

Since 1981, iREAD provides high quality, low-cost resources and products that enable local library staff to motivate children, young adults, and adults to read.

Visit the iREAD website »

Latest Library JobLine Listings

Browse all JobLine listings »