Here you will discover some tips that will help you become a cataloging pro. Find out more about which level of a web site to catalog, recordkeeping, how to search for records and how to import DLESE records.

Which level of the web site do I catalog? AKA - Granularity

It depends.

In general, we like to catalog the uppermost site that is useful for users. For example, suppose you want to catalog plate tectonics animations that are part of a course web site.
Should you catalog:

  • The University page?
  • The department page?
  • The professor's home page?
  • The course home page?
  • The plate tectonics animations page?
  • Each animation (subduction zone, rift valley, transform boundary)?

You'll need to consider the context of where the page will be used. If it's a module that is all about subduction zones, then catalog the subduction zone page. If it's a module about plate tectonics, then do the plate tectonics page. If the module is about example courses that use animations, you might catalog the course page.

Here's a hint: If you feel that in your description you need to direct users to the page you want, then catalog that specific page instead. Users should land right where they expect with only one click. That's the beauty of our sites, they send folks directly to the most relevant info.

In some cases, you will want to catalog each page within a site, for example, each type of plate tectonic animation. But before you delve into that much cataloging, check with your project leader.

Searching the SERC database

This is how you find records within SERC.
  1. From SERC Admin, click on cataloged resources
  2. The search box is at the bottom of that page.
  3. There is a box to enter search words or URLs, and 4 categories where the search will look.
    SERC web resources DCS
    Records cataloged at SERC with a DCS catalog tool, whether it's in Starting Point, Cutting Edge, Community Services, etc. These records show up in green.
    SERC web resources Dublin Core
    Records cataloged with the Dublin Core catalog tool; shown in orange.
    SERC non-web resources
    Journal articles, maps, books, and other non-web resources; shown in blue.
    Local DLESE subset
    Catalog records that have been imported from DLESE; shown in purple.
    Each of these records has a master ID# and can be used in a web page or in a resource list.
  4. To see ALL records, leave the search box blank, check all 4 boxes and hit search.
  5. If you want to see everything in a particular grouping, then check that box and do not enter any search terms.


As you search for records, catalog them, and receive QA on them, you will need to keep track of the status of everything. There is no required format for keeping track of your sites and catalog records, so do what suits you best. However, you will need to keep track of the following items:
  • URL
  • Title
  • Master ID #
  • Catalog ID # (for DCS only)
  • QA? (a box to check when it's been done)
  • Added to web page?
  • Vocabs added? (or for DCS cataloging, a list of vocab terms to be added after the record is submitted.)
  • Comments
Many catalogers use an Excel spreadsheet to record their work.

Numbers, other numbers, and the most important numbers

Everything in SERC is tracked by numbers, and it can get confusing. Here's a rundown of some of the numbers you'll see.
  • Catalog ID #
    This is for DCS records only. There is a prefix to indicate which DCS they came from.
    SERC-NAGT-000-000-000-615 from SERC Cutting Edge
    DLESE-000-000-001-234 from DLESE
    NASA-Edmall-2675 from another collection that resides in DLESE
  • Master ID # Every record, no matter what kind it is, will get a master ID# when the record is opened (if Dublin Core or non-web) or 'done' (if DCS) or imported (from DLESE).

    The master ID# is the most important number; that's the one you'll need to plug your resource into a web page or resource list.
  • Web site #
    All SERC websites can be accessed by their complete URL or their numerical shortcut, which can be found in the footer at the very bottom of the page.
    You will also see a number for each page in a module. Sometimes these page numbers are the same as the shortcut URL, but not always!

Importing records from DLESE

If you find DLESE records that you want to use in your module, it's a snap to import them.
    From SERC Admin, go to cataloged resources
  1. Click on Import a DLESE record to the SERC subset.
  2. Type in the number, including the prefix. If it's not a DLESE prefix, then erase 'DLESE' and type in the actual prefix.
  3. There is a 15 minute (or so) lag before the record will show up in SERC.
  4. Find the record by using search the SERC database for the title. Check the local DLESE subset box.
  5. Scroll to the bottom of the list to find your imported record.
  6. Write down the master ID number.
  7. Sometimes, when you import, you'll get a message saying that it's already been imported to SERC. Then all you need to do is search the SERC database to find it.