National Library of Wales Cataloguing Visit 2014

IMG_3826On Tuesday 18th March staff at the National Library of Wales welcomed a group of 15 cataloguers, from around Wales, on a visit co-ordinated by the Cataloguers in Wales group.  Cataloguing staff at NLW had arranged a day of presentations to inform us about a variety of practices at the National Library, and we were treated to a fascinating visit with a quick tour behind scenes as well.

We were welcomed by Kathy Murphy (Head of Systems and Mixed Media Workflow) who gave us an overview of cataloguing practices at NLW, and a brief history of how the current workflows had come about.  They had moved from a system where everything was split by material, with separate acquisitions and cataloguing teams, and systems for each type, to a more functional single department and LMS.

IMG_3822As a legal deposit library they are obviously very standards aware, and are responsible for cataloguing everything that originates from Wales.  Their primary concern is to capture the national imprint, and to ensure that data is available as early as possible.  The new emphasis is on ‘Access’ and they have been looking at speeding up processes.

Both Kathy, and the following speaker, Shân Jones (Head of Non-Welsh Legal Deposit Unit) gave us an insight into what the responsibilities of a Legal Deposit Library are; and it was fascinating to hear that the beginnings of the Legal Deposit Law (in England) can be traced back to 1662.  NLW is one of six national legal deposit libraries, alongside the British Library, the National Library of Scotland, the Bodleian Library, Oxford, Cambridge University Library, and Trinity College, Dublin.  The five libraries other than BL use a national agency to claim and distribute material to them.  NLW receives approximately 1,600 legal deposit items a week (or 80,000 a year) from this agency!

IMG_3805In recent years the workflow of the Non-Welsh Legal Deposit Unit underwent revision, and they moved from an impractical small room on the fourth floor of the building (where lifts didn’t always work), to a ground floor room specially designed for ease of flow of material.  We were taken to this room, and as it was a Tuesday (the day the items arrive each week), we were able to see the array of crates, and the team in full flow.

As the NLW is a closed library items are not classified but given a running number according to size; their barcode labels contain the location information.   A year’s worth of books takes up about 1,600 metres of shelving!

IMG_3820After a very nice lunch in the library’s café, Pen Dinas, we were offered a brief tour by the Education Officer, Rhodri Morgan.  Normally a tour of the library would take at least an hour and a half, but we didn’t have this time spare in our programme, so we were given a mini ‘behind scenes’ tour instead.  We saw where art works and maps were stored; storage ‘cells’ which could be flooded with CO2 in case of fire; books received prior to the electronic LMS which were classified in Library of Congress; and a view of the office wing which was damaged by the fire (or mostly by the water putting out the fire) a year ago.  There was so much more we could have seen, but our next speaker was waiting for us.

IMG_3809Rob Lacey (Head of the Bibliography of Wales) spoke about the Bibliography of Wales which, prior to 1992, was printed in volumes much like the BNB.  Since then it is on the online catalogue of NLW, and it is possible to limit a search on the catalogue to just the Bibliography.

Material is included if it is published in Wales, or if it is of Welsh interest. They tend to acquire two copies of most items, the legal deposit copy, and a second copy.   The team also deal with electronic publications, and index articles in Welsh periodicals, or those of Welsh interest in non-Welsh journals.  Along with the other cataloguers at NLW they started cataloguing in RDA last year.

The final presentation for the day was all about implementing RDA at NLW and was led by Galen Jones (the Standards Officer).  Galen took us through the principles of RDA , FRBR and FRAD, before explaining the procedure they went through for implementation, which included a SWOT analysis and their RDA work form.

We ended the day with a discussion, over tea and coffee, of a variety of issues that had been mentioned, and some practical ideas of what the staff at NLW could do for the rest of the cataloguing community in Wales, as well as what we could do for them.  We are hoping to increase the utilization of the jiscmail list and the blog with updates and discussions.

???????????????????????????????All in all it was a really good day; the staff at NLW had put a lot of hard work into providing a day of interesting sessions for us, and I think everyone who went gained a lot. Thank you!


*Visit to the National Library of Wales*

We have arranged a visit to the National Library of Wales‘ cataloguing department (in Aberystwyth) for Tuesday 18th March, 10.30am -3.30pm.

Please email if you would be interested in coming, and note where you are coming from, and whether you would be able to offer a lift to anyone else in your area.

(bearing in mind that anyone driving their own car for work purposes must have appropriate insurance which covers them for business use. This is especially true when offering lifts to others, as passengers would not be covered in the event of an accident…)

We are not sure at the moment if we can formally arrange any transport (this is something we are looking in to), so people will probably have to get there under their own steam.

BDS RDA policy

If you receive RDA records from BDS then you can now request a copy of the Company’s RDA policy document.

This has been provided following feedback from the excellent Cardiff RDA training event delivered by Jenny Wright in August.

Hopefully this will help in formulating, or confirming, your local RDA implementation policy decisions.

To request a copy please contact

Visit to the National Library of Wales

the-national-libraryWe are hoping to arrange a visit for cataloguers to the National Library of Wales in a few months time, and would like to canvass opinion.




1) Would you be interested in such a visit?

2) What would you hope to see while there?

3) What would you hope to learn / gain from this visit?

4) Would you prefer the visit to be in December or January (or another month entirely!)?

Please get in touch and let us know what you think – either by email or Twitter @cataloguewales or on our Jiscmail list.


Workshop on RDA

The Cataloguers in Wales group is delighted to announce its first workshop on RDA (Resource Description and Access) which will take place at Cardiff University on Thursday 22nd August. The workshop will be led by Jenny Wright, Development Manager and resident RDA expert at Bibliographic Data Services Limited.

Workshop details:

This is an introductory course and will include:

  • An introduction to RDA, covering its history and the conceptual model on which it is based.
  • A look at the web-based rules in RDA Toolkit.
  • An examination of the principal differences between RDA and AACR2.
  • How to code RDA records in MARC21.
  • An emphasis on worked examples and practical information.

The workshop will benefit cataloguers and metadata experts seeking a practical introduction to RDA, and those responsible for implementing the standard.

Venue: The Bay Room, 11th Floor, McKenzie House, 30-36 Newport Road, Cardiff University, Cardiff, CF24 0DH
Date: 22nd August 2013
Time: 10am-4pm (registration from 9.30am)
Cost: £90

Lunch and refreshments are included; if you have any special dietary requirements please let us know.

To register for the workshop please contact Karen Pierce for a booking form:

Delegates will be invoiced after the event, but please provide invoice details with your booking.

Please note there are limited places so early booking is essential.

Jiscmail list

We’ve now set up a Jiscmail list to enable discussions. You can find it at:

Blackbox 002

Cataloguers talking! (Conversations with Cataloguers in Wales, March 2012)

Please subscribe and lets start talking about the cataloguing issues that are concerning us, and the kind of training and events that we want to happen.  We are very interested in the potential dialogues that will occur.

Cataloguing in Wales: first steps for a new group

Just over a year ago (March 6th 2012) the Conversations with Cataloguers in Wales event took place in Cardiff.  It was the first attempt to bring together those who catalogue and who are based in (or near) Wales; to provide an event that wasn’t located in London or the other side of Britain, and give us a forum for a discussion about what we wanted.  In the last session of the day we talked about whether we should form some kind of all Wales cataloguing group, and whether this group should or should not be affiliated to the CILIP Cataloguing & Indexing Group (CIG).  Although the vague consensus was ‘yes’ we wanted something, nothing concrete was decided.

A year has passed…

in the meantime we did arrange for the CIG ‘FRBR for the terrified’ session to be held in Cardiff, and I was invited to become a member of the CIG committee, to represent Wales.

This week a few interested persons got together and we decided to try and move the idea of an all Wales cataloguing group forward, albeit with perhaps small steps.  We are very aware that at the moment those of us who have met up are all based in south east Wales, so hardly representative of the whole of Wales.  We have some ideas for some training, and some discussion, sessions which we will be promoting on this blog in the future.  It is hoped that we will be able to liaise with others across Wales to provide sessions elsewhere, or to promote sessions that others may organise themselves.  We are also interested in the idea of another one day event, which could be held in a different location.

This blog will promote events and training sessions, it will contain write-ups of those events; we can also feature guest posts on various cataloguing projects, or perhaps some ‘day in the life’ accounts.  If you’d like to write a post for us please get in touch!

We are also in the process of setting up a Jiscmail list to provide a better forum for discussions, which we will tell you about in due course.

Please let us know your thoughts, ideas, suggestions.  We look forward to hearing from you.

And of course you can follow us on Twitter @CatalogueWales