Professional work experience at the Lilly Library

Beginning this semester, I will embark upon a 15 week internship in the Technical Services department of the Lilly Library. I will be learning about and how to perform rare book cataloging. Some goals of this internship will be being trained in retrospective conversion cataloging of rare book materials at the Lilly Library. Retrospective conversion cataloging is an important responsibility of libraries because it facilitates access to holdings not visible in an online catalog. For me, retrospective conversion cataloging provides an excellent opportunity to learn how to catalog and what are the differences between cataloging and rare book cataloging. “Retro con”, as catalogers’ call this type of cataloging, also allows students and other library staff assigned to cataloging these items to see the progression of the cataloging field: how it has changed and stayed the same.


Lilly Library, Indiana University

In order to perform this activity, I will learn how to use the local cataloging client SIRSI/Unicorn and how to search OCLC Connexion for cataloging copy and learning to evaluate which copy is the best in reflecting the characteristics of the Lilly Library’s copy. I will edit and/or enhance the OCLC copy when necessary and/or prepare original bibliographic records in OCLC when copy is not available. I will understand the importance of and employ the use of reference resources such as the English Short Title Catalog. I will learn how bibliographic record creation and maintenance ensures accessibility and security. I also will learn about the role of the Technical Services Department at the Lilly Library and the role of the cataloger today. I will learn and become familiar with some of the various cataloging tools, some of which are general resources (i.e., AACR2R, RDA, MARC21) and others specific to rare book cataloging (i.e., DCRM(B), RBMS Thesauri).

The requirement for this internship are:

  • Completion of 180 hours of work time.
  • Completion of ten professional readings with descriptive abstract or annotation (one reading for every 20 hours).
  • Completion of a journal which reflects the internship experiences.

In order to complete these assignments, I will write about and reflect upon my experiences as a rare books cataloger in weekly posts. And I will write descriptive abstracts about my thoughts and conclusions regarding the professional readings that are assigned to me. The readings will establish a firm foundation in theory and practice of rare book cataloging, which will be supplemented by articles discussing the future of technical services in the special collections environment. I will read portions of the Descriptive Cataloging of Rare Materials (Books) manual. Also, I will review of several online cataloging manuals: Yale University, University of Colorado, Brigham Young University.

Over the coming weeks, I will be accomplishing this list of tasks and objectives:

  • Learn the purpose of and procedure to perform retrospective conversion cataloging.
  • Learn how to use SIRSI/Unicorn and how to search OCLC for cataloging copy.
  • Learn about various cataloging tools.
  • Learn about and how to assign subject headings and authorized names forms.
  • Learn about and how to do other types of cataloging: copy cataloging and original cataloging.
  • Understand the difference between rare book cataloging and general cataloging and what purposes the serve.
  • Weekly meetings with supervisor.

Welcome Library Scientists!

Greetings! My name is Katie Kuntz. I am a second year library science graduate student. I am specializing in rare books and manuscript librarianship. Last spring, I began working for the ILS Career Services department. In this position, I help my fellow students by providing them with opportunities to practice their interviewing skills. I also am able to help revise resumes and cover letters. I am excited to expand this role to include writing a bi-weekly blog. It will be part career advice and discussion about library professionalism.

Over the next year, I hope to help those of us preparing to enter the job market and to provide those of us just beginning their ILS program more knowledge about how to prepare their professional materials.  I will write posts about specific tips for applying and working in a position in the library science profession. The most essential thing everyone must learn is that curiosity is your best asset. If you are willing to learn and expand your comfort zone, the position you are aiming to work in is that much easier to get. As first year students, we are bombarded with all the requirements necessary to complete the program and the overwhelming feeling that we have so much to learn in the next couple of years. But as we will all come to realize library science is a profession that values continued learning and even emphasizes it

This blog will feature tips on how to create a job winning resume and cover letter, advice from ILS alumni, and discussions of how we as library students can prepare to be active, engaged members of our profession.