This page will help you understand each of the types of cataloging tools and when to use them.

Which Cataloging Tool to Use - the road not taken

The following chart illustrates the set of decisions involved in picking an appropriate destination for a given resource.

Diagram showing catalog choices

The 4 catalogs are:

The DLESE Catalog System

There are several different copies of the DLESE Catalog System (DCS) running at SERC. In them we catalog SERC web pages (not web pages that exist outside of SERC) that are relevant to geoscience education. In general we choose to catalog pages that are stand-alone examples as well as higher level pages that act as the entree to an area of a site.

Specific examples of pages that should be cataloged with the DCS are

  • Each example or activity in a mini-collection, such as Visualization mini-collections, teaching activities mini collection, or the geochemical instrument database.
  • Module top pages, such as MLER, Using Data, Starting Point and any Cutting Edge topics page.
  • Stand-alone sub modules that reside within larger modules, such as Cyberinfrastructure or the Cretaceous Collection
For each of these later two cases, catalog the top page only.
Proceed to instructions for DCS cataloging.

Resources not on a SERC hosted site should go in one of the catalogs below.

Local Dublin Core Catalog—Don't Share

We use this catalog for two different sorts of resources. First this is where we catalog pages for which we already have a better local (SERC) surrogate that we want to promote (e.g. the link to a syllabus referred to on a course description page in our site or materials for an activity which we provide information about in a mini-collection page). Also, non-science/technology sites should go here.
Proceed to instructions for Dublin Core cataloging.

Local Dublin Core Catalog - Share

Here we put the remaining resources which don't seem to fit any of the above categories. They should be science/technology related, should not be on the SERC site, nor should they have a surrogate page on the SERC site. The bulk of our cataloging is done this way
Proceed to instructions for Dublin Core cataloging.

Finally do not cataloging pages that are from generic informational sites (e.g., to which we might refer in passing, or sites which aren't science or education resource and are therefore unlikely to have their catalog records reused.

Non-Web Catalog

If the resource doesn't have a url (e.g. a book or journal article) it goes in here. There's a grey area in that many print resources now have extant electronic versions. If the resource is primarily a print one then stick with this catalog. The non-web catalog has the option to indicate related online resources (like a pre-print of a paper or an online version of a book).
Proceed to instructions for non-web cataloging.

A Quick Introduction to the Cataloging Tools


Once the entry has been made in the cataloging queue the actual cataloging can begin. Where you start depends of course on what cataloging path you've chosen. If the record is bound for the DLESE Cataloging System you'll want to pick the DCS appropriate to your project from the 'jump' option in the main cataloging page. Then dive into the DCS and start cataloging. We won't go into the detail here (since that's something for trained professionals). We'll just note that your initial catalog record should be marked 'unsubmitted'. Once QA is complete you should change its state to 'Done'. Moving the state to done in the DCS then allows it to flow into our local catalog (so it can be used in the CMS) and to other digital libraries.

Non-Web Cataloging Tool

Resources that are not web-based should be cataloged into the non-web catalog which is available from one of the 'Create' links on the main cataloging page. This is a simple form with a mostly self-explanatory set of fields. Several fields are noteworthy. The state field is used to track whether a record has been through QA. As with the DCS, 'unsubmitted' means QA hasn't happened and 'Done' means it has. However, since there's no 'local' catalog for the record to copy into (as there is with the DCS) the state doesn't actually effect the availability of the record within the CMS-it's always available.

The 'citation_format' field is a chunk of text that should follow a standard citation format (e.g. [Ross, 1983]). When folks embed a link to the catalog record in a page (via the CMS) it's this chunk of text which will appear as the link. So we want something that looks like a standard academic inline citation. The identifier and format fields are paired. If there's a known ISSN or ISBN number for the resource you can put the number in the identifier field and the type of number (ISBN or ISSN) in the format field. If you are able to provide an ISBN number the catalog display will attempt to provide a link to's listing for the book. Also, if you can find the Library of Congress control number (try searching at entering it here will automatically generate a link directly to the LOC website within the public view of the catalog record. Finally, if there is a related website (an online version of the book, an electronic preprint of an article) you can note it's url in the 'related_url' field.

Dublin Core Cataloging Tool

Next we have the local Dublin Core catalog - so called as it's based on the Dublin Core set of metadata. (Sadly that's Dublin, Ohio and not Ireland though the latter would make this all seem a bit more excitingly exotic). You can make new entries to this catalog by following the appropriate 'Create' link on the main cataloging page. This page has a state field (just like the non_web_catalog) and then a 'Sharable' field. The two states of this field control whether we share this metadata with outside libraries. And although the diagram indicates there is a shareable and non-shareable catalog, in fact there's only this single catalog with records marked shareable or private according to the nature of the resource. The rest of the fields should be self-explanatory (or clear enough once one reads the blurb alongside the field title). The last two fields, language and type, are preset to values that will almost always be correct. But if you're cataloging something that's not in English, or not a web page (but still an online resource) see Sean for more details.