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MDG Online Day Conference 2021

MDG 2021 Online Day Conference

The Metadata and Discovery Group is pleased to announce its first single day, online only conference on 8th December 2021. CILIP MDG members and non-members are both welcome to attend. The conference will run from 10.00 to 16.00 and be held on Zoom.

Our keynote speaker this year will be Alan Danskin, Collection Metadata Standards Manager at the British Library who will present on the Futures of Cataloguing.

10:00-10:10*MDG  Welcome and introduction
10:10-11:10 Alan Danskin Keynote
11:10-11:30 Break General chat rooms
11:30-12:00 Helen Williams LSE’s adventures in Wikidata-land: tears and triumphs down the rabbit hole
12:00-12:30 Jenny Wright Working in the future: the inclusion of ISNIs in MARC21 bibliographic records, using automated solutions
12:30-13:30 Lunch break General chat rooms
13:30-14:00 Amber Billey and Sarah Theimer Introducing Open Cataloguing Rules: creating a freely available cataloguing code alternative to RDA
14:00-14:30 Getaneh Alemu From the principle of sufficiency and necessity to metadata enriching
14:30-15:00 Break General chat rooms
15:00-15:10 Barbara Band To Dewey or not to Dewey: the idiosyncrasies of cataloguing for school librarians
15:10-15:20 Victoria E Edwards The quality management of bibliographic metadata for e-books in UK higher education libraries
15:20-15:50 Martin Kelleher A UK NACO and SACO funnel – a call for funnelers
   *Timings subject to change until further notice



The conference is £20 +VAT for CILIP MDG members or £26 +VAT for non-members.


All presentations and question and answer sessions will be recorded and later uploaded to our YouTube channel. Questions can be taken directly after the presentation or submitted to the panel via the chat function. You can visit and subscribe to our YouTube channel here. You will find past presentations and conference papers there. 

Nominations Open for the Alan Jeffreys Award 2020

Nominations Open for the Alan Jeffreys Award 2020

Would you like to ensure that someone who has excelled in the technical practice area receives due recognition?

We invite you to send us nominations for the Alan Jeffreys Award 2020.

This biennial award was established in 1996 in memory of a former chairman of the Group.

It is presented to recipients in recognition of significant contributions in the fields of cataloguing, indexing or metadata management.

Nominations should provide evidence of exceptional achievement in one or more of the following categories and should also include an assessment of the impact that the nominee has had.

  • Creation and/or delivery of education, training or CPD in the technical practice areas of the Information Profession
  • Leadership in times of change
  • Delivery of projects that enhances search and discovery
  • Contributing to collection exposure and management

The 2020 award will be presented at the MDG conference in Birmingham 9th – 11th September with the recipient attending as the Groups’ guest.

To find out more about the Award please visit our Group pages and send nominations to by 15th May.

Catalogue & Index Call for Papers – June (issue 199) 2020

Catalogue & Index Call for Papers – June (issue 199) 2020


In this issue we will be looking at the transformation of data. This could mean the crosswalking of data from MARC to Dublin Core metadata elements, historic mapping between UKMARC and MARC21, upgrading your records to RDA from AACR2, or any number of other things!


We’re also interested in how data is transformed as it is transferred between systems. Does the same data appear in multiple places (LMS, repositories, vendor systems, reading list software, websites…), and if so, how does it change? Does your data risk getting lost in translation between catalogue and discovery layer, for example, and what tips and tricks do you use to remedy this?

Do you fear for the integrity of your data when it leaves the nest, or do you see the transfer of data between formats and systems as unlocking previously unrecognised potential?


We’d love to hear your thoughts and stories!


The deadline for this issue is 31st May.  Please contact the editors (Philip Keates: and Karen Pierce: with proposed papers, any queries, or if you want to offer a paper that does not fit into the theme mentioned.  We are always happy to consider papers on topics unrelated to an issue’s theme, especially if it is the result of some research you have conducted, or a project you have been involved in.  We encourage people from all sectors to contribute, and actively welcome international contributions as well. Papers can be up to 2,000 words, and we are happy to include a selection of images.  Please check our guidance for contributors:

Catalogue & Index 198 (March 2020) issue – Now available

Catalogue & Index 198 (March 2020) issue – Now available

The March issue of C&I celebrates the rebranding that is taking place this year, from Cataloguing and Indexing Group (CIG) to Metadata and Discovery Group (MDG).  We do so by showcasing articles that highlight the range and variety of metadata work – from corporate taxonomies to research data management, and from digitised special collections to union catalogues, and include a guest editorial by Nick Poole (CILIP CEO).

The issue is available here:

Articles include:

What’s in a name? From CIG to MDG to CPD by Jane Daniels

Taxonomy design and creation best practices by Heather Hedden

Digitised Special Collections Modus Operandi: Metadata Creation and Standards by Ourania Karapasia

Metadata for better data by Alex Ball

NBK, Library Hub, and bibliographic data by Bethan Ruddock

Speaking at the Cambridge Libraries Conference 2020 by Concetta La Spada

And a call for nominations for the Alan Jeffreys Award

Catalogue & Index 197 (December 2019)

Catalogue & Index 197 (December 2019)


We’d like to announce that the December issue of Catalogue & Index (197) is now live, with many apologies for the delay.


From the Editorial: Catalogue & Index 197


In this issue, we offer a sample of the wide and varied range of research being conducted into – and making use of – bibliographic metadata.


The issue includes


Exploring bibliographic records as research data by Sarah Wallbank, Danielle A. Kane, Madelynn Dickerson & Joshua Hutchinson


Has FRBR revolutionised our catalogues? A comparative analysis of AACR2 and RDA formatted records to the FRBR model by Annick Stein


Disability and accessibility language in subject headings and social tags by Mackenzie Johnson & Carlie Forsythe


BIBFRAME-ing the rare books catalogue: the Art and Rare Materials (ARM) ontology and the transformation of special collections metadata by Argula Rublack

Call for Proposals: CIG (MDG) Conference 2020!

Call for Proposals: CIG (MDG) Conference 2020


In 2020 the Cataloguing & Indexing Group (CIG) changes its name to Metadata & Discovery Group (MDG).  Join us, at our biennial conference, as we explore the transformation of our profession and its increasing importance to the information economy.


Metadata and Discovery

9-11 September 2020

Birmingham, UK

Venue: IET Birmingham, Austin Court


Cataloguing and indexing are well-established recognised skill sets which continue to be at the forefront of our group’s offer.  Our name change further reflects the fact that, as well as creating metadata, information professionals also need to manage, migrate and edit metadata in order to enable discovery of resources, and that they do so increasingly in non-traditional sectors.


Our conference theme


We invite proposals around the theme of metadata and discovery with an emphasis on ‘bigness’: big ideas, big projects, big ambitions and big impact.


Whether you are an experienced presenter or hoping to share your thoughts for the first time in front of a welcoming audience we hope you will consider submitting a proposal.  We encourage submissions from information professionals in every sector and are especially keen to hear from hitherto under-represented groups.  The conference language is English and the event is open to both members and non-members.


Conference schedule


The main conference will take place over the first two full days.  We are pleased to announce that, on the third day of the conference, we will again be focusing on RDA, with a programme organised by the UK Committee on RDA (UKCoR). The full delegate fee will include accommodation from Tuesday 8 September as the conference starts at 9am and we are hoping to arrange pre-conference visits to local libraries.

Conference topics


We welcome proposals that cover, but are not limited to, the following areas:


  • Advocacy
  • Authority control
  • Collaboration and co-operation
  • Controlled vocabularies/taxonomies
  • Digitisation & digital collections
  • Diversity
  • Education and new professionals
  • Ethics
  • Library management and other systems
  • Metadata creation, dissemination, enrichment, management
  • Metadata outside the library
  • Resource discovery
  • Semantic web
  • Standards


Submission formats


We welcome proposals, in English, in the following formats:


  • Conference papers (20-30 mins). An opportunity to present how your work, project or research relate to the conference themes.
  • Interactive sessions (40 mins). Practical sessions involving training or a significant level of interactivity, particularly those suited to a tiered-seating auditorium.
  • Panel discussions (30 mins). A panel of 2-3 representatives commenting on an agreed topic or challenge.
  • Posters (30 mins). A less formal presentation of your research, in the visual form of a paper poster (max size A2), with time included to engage directly with delegates in smaller groups.
  • Lightning talks (7 mins). An opportunity to swiftly share an idea, information or spark debate.


Submission guidelines


All submissions should be sent to and must include the following:


  • Title of proposed presentation
  • Presenter(s) name, position and affiliation (if any), email address
  • Biographical note (50 words max)
  • Presentation topic – from the list above or one related to our overall theme
  • A short summary (150 words max) for publication in the programme
  • Presentation abstract (500 words max)


Proposals will be reviewed by the conference planning committee and selection will be made based on their content, relevance and overall fit with the conference aims.  All successful authors will be eligible for discounted conference attendance with travel costs refunded up to the value of £100.


Key dates

  • Submissions deadline: 1 March 2020
  • Notification of acceptance of abstracts: 23 March 2020
  • Full presentation submission deadline: 23 June 2020
  • Conference registration opens: April 2020

CIG Member Poll for Group Name Change

At a meeting on 5th June Committee discussed changing the name of the Group.

We think that a new name would benefit the membership because it would:

  • Acknowledge the intrinsic skills of descriptive & subject cataloguing, classification & indexing but also highlight the work that CIG members already do in creating, disseminating and enriching metadata using various content standards;
  • Emphasise the link between all of these activities and the search, discovery & access experience;
  • Reinforce the relevance of the Group across the information profession & widen our appeal so that we can increase our membership and offer more support across our technical areas of expertise.

Please go here and help us in making this choice.

Helen Williams and Clare Hudson, from LSE Library Metadata Team, were two of the attendees at CIG’s June event with Terry Reese talking about MarcEdit and Metadata Trends. Here they share their reflections.

Terry Reese is a name well known to many of us so it was exiting to have an opportunity to hear him speak in person about MarcEdit developments and the future of metadata. We use MarcEdit regularly at LSE but often as part of well-established workflows. Terry regularly develops new features and functions for Marc Edit so hearing about some of the recent developments to was a useful opportunity to think about other ways we could use it.

Some of the recent developments Terry described included:

  • A wizard to guide the user through transforming xml data without having to know how to write xlst.
  • A tool for moving data to and from OpenRefine.
  • This is not as advanced as the clustering available in OpenRefine but does remove the need to transfer data out of MarcEdit. At LSE we think this might be useful for some subject heading clean-up work we’d like to do.
  • The ability to set MarcEdit to watch a folder. This is also a feature we’ll be investigating as it looks like something we could use to further automate our processes for loading ebook records.Terryreese1

There was plenty of opportunity for attendees to ask questions and these ranged over character encoding, regular expressions and undoing a change after saving it as well as some specific things that attendees were trying to accomplish.

Terry talked about his future plans for MarcEdit, which include an xml editor and updating tutorials and documentation and, after a break, about his views of the future of library metadata.

Back in 2002 Roy Tennant famously declared in Library Journal that MARC must die (reprinted here Helen was about 3 weeks into her first professional post at the time, and yet nearly 20 years on, metadata teams the world over are still working with MARC. So it was fascinating to hear Terry describe the future of cataloguing and metadata as a series of small steps forward rather than a giant leap.

With the advent of Linked Data cataloguers have envisaged a new distributed model of cataloguing, where rather than creating individual records we link out to external sources of information for various pieces of data, building up information about a resource in a different way – but this requires a new model of working, with open infrastructures and commitments on individual libraries and organisations to create and maintain trustworthy namespaces for everyone else in the ecosystem. Developing this infrastructure is a challenge that will need the support of the profession as a whole.

The prevalence of MARC is also one of the challenges of moving to a new model. With tools, systems and workflows all designed around MARC building a new model is a huge task. This is being attempted with the development of BIBFRAME, but any transition requires significant investment in skills and systems and looks likely to create a fractured library community where some have the resources to engage with the new model, and others do not.

So what can cataloguers do, and what are we doing in the Metadata team at LSE in terms of small steps forward given we operate in a time of continuous change? Firstly, the value of metadata needs to be understood by the wider profession in terms of the role it plays in resource discovery, and it’s our job to shout about that. We’ve invited any of our colleagues to come and see us if they’re not sure what we do – all of us in the team would enjoy having a captive audience on the value of metadata. We also have a team ‘purpose tree’ which depicts the mission, vision and strategy of our team, going on to link the goals, actions and roles in our team to the overall Library strategy. This is a document we’ve shared Library-wide so that colleagues can understand the centrality of metadata to the work of the Library.


Secondly, we can learn from external expertise so we keep up with Twitter and blogs, and make time to watch webinars. Earlier in the year, for example, we saw that HKUST had created something called Knowledge Cards, which is accessed from their Primo installation, and uses Wikidata to link users to contextual information. Other priorities mean we’ve not experimented with anything like this ourselves so far, but Helen meets regularly with our Online Services and Systems manager so that we can discuss these kinds of developments that we’re seeing in other institutions.

This leads to our final point, for now, that we need to increase our Linked Data knowledge. There are so many places we could start with this but Wikidata is increasingly being discussed in the cataloguing community as a source of Linked Data which libraries can both use and contribute to, so is something that’s caught our attention. We’re at the very early stages of looking at this – engaging in some OCLC material and taking part in a Wikipedia workshop that our Digital Library manager held earlier in the year. In addition, we’re thinking about making more use of URIs in name and subject fields in MARC records.

It was a really interesting event which gave us plenty to think about and some ideas for steps we can take to move forward.

Cataloguing and metadata skills in the publishing world: a visit to the Cambridge University Press offices

A blog post from Kim Taylor, cataloguer, who joined us at the visit to the Cambridge University Press offices:


On the 30th of April, I joined a small, friendly group of cataloguers and metadata professionals in a visit to the Cambridge University Press (CUP) offices. The day-long event was brilliantly organised and hosted by CIG Social Media Manager Concetta La Spada, who is the Metadata Specialist and Senior Library Data Analyst at CUP. As attendees, we represented a healthy mix of cataloguing experiences and perspectives, coming from academic, special and public libraries, as well as the vendor and freelancing side of the spectrum. Hence, none of us required convincing of the value of good metadata in promoting discovery of resources. Improved metadata equals improved discoverability, right? While obvious to cataloguers and metadata experts everywhere (certainly those reading this blog), this dictum has not been so readily embraced by the publishing world – that is, until recently, with institutions such as Cambridge University Press leading the way.


The visit began with a morning tour of the Press museum – where, amongst other exhibits, we were treated to the fascinating story of the 11th edition of the CUP Encyclopaedia Britannica that accompanied, and provided intellectual sustenance for, Sir Ernest Shackleton and his men on their ill-fated, though heroic, Antarctic expedition. While the documents and artefacts on display each held significance in their own right – including an assortment of steel punches designed by John Baskerville, of the Baskerville font fame, and a folio edition of the King James Bible (1638) – I was struck by the fact that they so pointedly traced the development of the world’s oldest publisher, whose first book was published well over four centuries ago (1584, to be precise).

DSC_4809_Press Museum

As enjoyable as it was to browse items from CUP’s collections, the afternoon sessions provided some of the even more enlightening moments of the day. Presented by various representatives from CUP’s marketing and content operations, these informative and informal talks offered unique insight into the world of publishing and, more importantly, the expanding role of bibliographic metadata within that world, particularly e-resources. We learned, too, that Cambridge, in another first, was also one of the earliest academic publishers to provide ‘in-house’ cataloguing – and for free, it should be mentioned – to its customers, a move that more publishers are now following. Specifically, the provision of accurate, comprehensive metadata to customers is now viewed as an integral component of CUP’s products and services.

The presentations by CUP staff covered a range of topics: from the challenges of compatibility between CUP’s many bespoke services and customer systems (some of which are still very print-centric) to the resistance on the part of some authors (and even some customers) in accepting the critical role of metadata in supporting access to and use of resources. Cambridge, like other publishers, has begun to place more onus on its authors to supply keywords and indexing of the works they submit for publication. This action underscores the growing commitment of CUP to facilitate the essential service provided by people like Concetta. It also helps to educate those librarians who might still need to be convinced of the value of quality metadata in supporting their work, particularly with respect to the ever-increasing challenges – and opportunities – of the linked data environment.

The work Concetta performs has helped to elevate the Press beyond its stature as one of the premiere publishers of academic content to that of a respected provider of comprehensive bibliographic metadata, confirmed by the decidedly positive reactions of customers to CUP’s efforts. In fact, the response further encouraged CUP to undertake retrospective enhancement of its existing bibliographic records, spanning over 20,000 titles.

The key takeaway of the day (apart from the much appreciated reusable, thermal bottle) was the unqualified commitment on the part of CUP to invest in cataloguing talent so crucial to this still relatively new initiative on the part of publishers – i.e., to provide not just published works, but quality metadata to promote the discovery and use of these works. As such, CUP, and publishers who follow suit, now find themselves in pursuit of the knowledge and skills offered by professional cataloguers and metadata experts, which is good news for the library and information profession overall and, not least, the employment prospects of those seeking work within it.