Skip to content Skip to main navigation Report an accessibility issue

Information Organization Pathway

Information Organization Cataloging Pathway

“The process of describing information resources and providing name, title, and subject access to the descriptions, resulting in records that serve as surrogates for the actual items of recorded information and in resources that are logically arranged. Also referred to as Bibliographic control or Organization of information” (Taylor & Joudry, 2009, p. 459).

“Bibliographic control is the process of creation, exchange, preservation, and use of data about information resources.” (Encyclopedia of Library and Information Sciences, Third Edition)

“The creation, organization, and management of records to describe items held in libraries or databases, and to facilitate user access to those items”- “Bibliographic control” entry in Mortimer, Mary (2007). Libraryspeak : A Glossary of Terms in Librarianship and Information Management. Friendswood, TX: TotalRecall Publications.

Position Titles and Descriptions

These are typical position titles related to information organization. For more position titles and job requirements, consult the ALA JobList.

  • Cataloger: a librarian who works in a library or other types of organizations whose primary responsibilities involve copy cataloging and original cataloging.
  • Metadata librarian: a librarian who performs original cataloging, as well as creating and maintaining descriptive, technical, and administrative metadata for items within a library collection.
  • Indexer: an information professional who identifies key information within works, or among a collection, and categorizes this information.
  • Technical Services Librarian: a librarian who is responsible for original cataloging and complex copy cataloging of all library materials added to the collection.
  • Taxonomist: an information professional who works on taxonomies.

These are positions that often involve responsibilities of information organization.

  • Information architect: an information professional who organizes digital information and designs accessible web portals by which users can access the information.
  • Special Collections Librarian/Archivist: a librarian who is responsible for providing access to materials in Special Collections through archival processing, the creation of online finding aids, and cataloging.
  • Digital Initiatives Librarian: a librarian who utilizes emerging technologies to better serve users, enhancing library operations with technology, enhancing and promoting digital repositories, and initiating new and innovative technology-based services and library spaces.

Preparing to Enter the Profession of Information Organization:

Professional Development:


    • ALA divisions: ALCTS (Association for Library Collections & Technical Services)
    • IFLA Cataloguing Section
    • SLA (Special Libraries Association, Cataloging Committee)
    • Online Audiovisual Catalogers (OLAC)


    • ALCTS programs at ALA Annual Conference and Midterm Meeting
    • International Conference on Dublin Core and Metadata Applications
    • Metadata and Semantics Research Conference
    • NASIG (sometimes cover serials cataloging)

Publications of Note:

    • Library Resources and Technical Services
    • Cataloging & Classification Quarterly
    • Cataloging Service Bulletin (LOC Publication)
    • Information Processing & Management
    • Library Collections, Acquisitions, and Technical Services
    • OCLC Technical Bulletins
    • Technical Services Law Librarian



Continuing Education

Recommended Courses (in SIS):

In addition to completing the courses required for the MSIS degree, students with an interest in x might consider enrolling in some of these courses (please note that this listing is not a substitute for consulting with the MSIS Program Advisor).

    • 521 Cataloging and Classification 
    • 522 Cataloging of Non-print Materials 
    • 523 Abstracting and Indexing 
    • 524 Metadata  
    • 565 Digital Libraries (covers metadata applications in digital libraries/digital collections) 
    • 597 Information Architecture   
    • 584 Database Management Systems 
    • 564 Archives and Records Management (if interested in information organization in archives) 
    • 592 Introduction to Data Analytics and Visualizations (for advanced learners) 

Real-World Recent Experience:

Recent Practicum Settings:

    • Oak Ridge National Lab, Digital Archives 
    • The United States Army Corps of Engineers 
    • Knox County Archives 
    • McClung Historical Collection 
    • University of the South Archives 
    • Austin Peay State University 
    • Blount County Public Library
    • University of Memphis Systems Department 

Recent Placements of UTK-SIS Alumni:

    • Catalog/Reference Librarian at a community college in the South 
    • Self-employed indexer in the Southeast 
    • Freelance metadata librarian in the Midwest 
    • Music cataloger at national library in the Mideast 
    • Technical information specialist at governmental agency in the Rocky Mountain region 
    • Cataloging librarian at a publishing conglomerate in the Southeast 
    • Cataloger at a public library in the Great Lakes region 
    • Catalog/metadata librarian at academic library in the Plains region 
    • Head of metadata & resource description services at academic library in the Southeast 
    • Metadata specialist at a science, technology and engineering company in the Plains region 
    • Metadata service manager at a media company in the southeast 

Job posting sites: