RAILS Launches Specialized Statewide Cataloging Support Program

We are in the process of establishing a specialized statewide cataloging support program for Illinois library system members. This service provides supplementary cataloging, particularly when original cataloging or world language cataloging is needed for the members as an outsourcing option. This ongoing cataloging support from RAILS will support and expand resource sharing by providing access to a variety of unique materials that have not previously been widely available for resource sharing because there has been no one to catalog them. This also addresses many of the goals and objectives of the current RAILS strategic plan. There will be no charge to member libraries to use this service. This service is made possible by the cataloging grant from the Illinois State Library.

Who can participate in this service?

Both RAILS and IHLS members are eligible to participate. It is a statewide cataloging support program.

Languages/Formats this service will cover

This service will cover all Asian languages and non-Latin including, Slavic and Cyrillic languages. African and indigenous American or Australia/New Zealand/Pacific Island languages are also eligible.

Eligible Formats

  • Print books
  • Audiobooks
  • Kits
  • Magazines, periodicals, newspapers
  • Serials
  • Sound recordings, music
  • Sound recordings, non-music
  • Printed music
  • Cartographic materials
  • Realia, e.g.: cake pan, die shape, puppet
  • Textbooks
  • Video games
  • Video recordings, e.g., VHS, DVDs, Blu-rays
  • Non-published materials (manuscripts, etc.)

NOT eligible

  • E-books
  • E-audiobooks
  • Streaming videos
  • Locally created e-resources (electronic theses) ( can use CMC)
  • Local resources & genealogy (can use CMC)
  • Braille (can use CMC)
  • Modern European languages using Latin script; e.g. French, German, Italian, Spanish (can use CMC)

If you are in doubt, contact Nincy George.

Procedure (forms not yet available)

  • Libraries can send us physical items, photocopies, or PDF files of the items to be cataloged. We understand that some materials may not be able to leave your library. We can catalog from surrogates (ie... photocopies, scans, or images) rather than shipping original items. If you will be sending surrogates, you should follow guidelines when preparing your materials. (Will provide surrogates specifications). Please do not send more than three to five items in a month to be cataloged. Do not send more until the previous items have been returned.
  • When a member library sends materials to RAILS, first they have to complete the online cataloging support form on our website (when available) to indicate the cataloging specifications. One item per submission. You need to be logged into the RAILS website to submit the form. Once you submit this form, you will receive an email. You have to enclose a printout of that email with the items to be cataloged. Then, you can send those materials to Burr Ridge through RAILS delivery.
  • When we receive the materials, I will make sure that the enclosed printout matches the materials you send to us, and then I will start to catalog. Before pursuing original cataloging for the material, I will first search OCLC Connexion for copy cataloging. If I found a record, I will enhance the record and make it into a full-level bibliographic record.
  • If there is no existing MARC record found, I will create an original bibliographic record and will supply fully level bibliographic record. If an expert in language or format is needed, we will outsource the cataloging. Our outsourcing vendor is Backstage library works.
  • Libraries can request LC or Dewey number depending on their classification scheme and other cataloging elements.
  • We provide Library of Congress, MeSH, BISAC, and Sears subject headings depend on your institution's use.
  • We will not do any physical processing of items (e.g. Printing and affixing labels).
  • We will not load the bibliographic record for the item into your local ILS database.
  • We will not create items/holding records for individual copies. We will provide full-level bibliographic record for each item you send to us.


We plan to start this program with a pilot project involving five libraries representing multiple different types of libraries. I'm awaiting one more small part of the project. Currently, we are targeting to reach out to the participating libraries for the pilot early next week. We will conduct a careful analysis of the pilot project to determine if any of our procedures/processes need to be revised. After making any necessary changes, we will implement and publicize the cataloging support program statewide. We plan to launch and publicize this program in November and December.

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