Skip to main content

Cataloging Maintenance Center

Statewide Cataloging Support

Cataloging Maintenance Center (logo)

The Cataloging Maintenance Center provides statewide cataloging support for Illinois system-member libraries and consortia.

Since 2001, the Cataloging Maintenance Center (CMC) has made cataloging easier for Illinois libraries and consortia like yours through original and copy cataloging services, database cleanup, metadata and general consultation, and cataloging training. Ultimately, we improve the quality of public access catalogs and make library materials more discoverable and accessible to patrons—for free.


Original and Copy Cataloging

Is your item eligible for free cataloging?

Our highly trained team of catalogers is here to catalog your Illinois authorsgenealogylocal history, and special collections. We've cataloged thousands of rare, unique, and difficult-to-catalog items for libraries and consortia, and we can do it for you, too, for free. Let us help fill gaps in your cataloging staff hours by cataloging some of your most unique and time-consuming items!

Eligible Items

The requesting library must be an Illinois library system member, including members of Chicago Public Library (CPL), Illinois Heartland Library System (IHLS), and Reaching Across Illinois Library System (RAILS). Item/collections must be one of the following:

  • Illinois authors (current or former residents or otherwise with a link to Illinois)
  • Genealogy materials
  • Local history items
  • Special collections as defined by your library.
    For example, do you make a point to curate a subcollection of local authors, community cookbooks, government documents, world languages, realia, western romance novels, or large print? Those may all be considered special collections!
  • Most modern world languages and braille can be accommodated


Before Sending an Item
  • Please contact the CMC Staff by phone or using the Request Cataloging Form button to determine eligibility for free cataloging services.
  • Please send items through system delivery (IHLS, RAILS, and CPL members) or through ILDS (CARLI members) using an interlibrary loan label. Please provide contact information and make sure your items are identified/property stamped for your location. 
  • Send as many items as will fit in a box. The box should not weigh more than 40 pounds.
  • In some circumstances, CMC staff may be able to visit your library to complete the cataloging. Travel by CMC staff will be on a limited basis, depending on several factors (i.e., availability of staff, distance, size of the collection to be cataloged, condition of the collection, etc.). WiFi capability is required.
  • Items will be cataloged in the order they are received with turnaround time varying depending on the scope of the project and other factors. Most items will be returned within 30 days.


Request Cataloging for an Item

Q. What is a special collection?

A. That depends!

In general, it’s any subcollection, circulating or otherwise, to which your library dedicates special attention or resources. This may include sheet music, cookbooks, world languages, archival and government docs, realia, large print, and more! It all depends on your library’s policies.



Cataloging Questions

Have a cataloging question? Cataloging Maintenance Center team members can assist your library with general and specific cataloging questions, including questions related to MARC (MAchine-Readable Cataloging) and RDA (Resource Description and Access). 

Contact us today with your cataloging questions.

Metadata Consultations

Adding a new digital collection? Our CMC staff can help you determine what metadata you need, what organization scheme would be the most useful, and the best keywords for optimal accessibility and discovery.

Contact us to set up a metadata appointment.

LLSAP/Consortium Database Cleanup

Does your public access catalog need help? We can merge duplicates and enhance or originally catalog bibliographic records using RDA guidelines and equity, diversity, inclusivity, and accessibility standards. 

To inquire about database cleanup projects, please contact the Cataloging Maintenance Center:


Does your library archive audio interviews or historical documents saved as image files? Our staff can catalog digitized audio files or text documents previously only available as unsearchable image files, and we can provide typed transcriptions. The complete project may include editing existing transcriptions or transcribing from scratch; developing metadata templates, file conversions, and other required preparations; and, depending on the project, uploading materials to the Illinois Digital Archives (IDA)

See a large-scale example of a transcription project the CMC worked on by visiting the Marshall Public Library’s Oral History Interviews project.

To inquire about transcription projects, please contact the Cataloging Maintenance Center:

Cataloging Training

Looking to improve your or your staff's cataloging skills? We offer a large calendar of one-day and multi-day training opportunities for Illinois library staff.

Browse All Cataloging Training Events


Special topics in cataloging explained in 20 minutes

Learn the nuances of cataloging and collection discoverability in 20 minutes when you attend the Cataloging Maintenance Center’s Online with the CMC. These brief, 15- to 20-minute webinars, led by CMC cataloging and metadata experts, cover a different challenging or interesting cataloging special topic each month, such as examining accessibility in cataloging and how to use some of the less-common MARC fields.

A 40-minute Q&A session follows each presentation, allowing participants to seek clarification or ask about additional cataloging topics.

View All Online with the CMC Webinars

Become a cataloging expert with in-depth cataloging courses

For seasoned librarians interested in exploring new avenues in metadata, as well as library workers looking to learn the fundamentals of cataloging, the Cataloging Maintenance Center provides cataloging training for library workers across the state of Illinois. Subjects range from the basic to the complex — from cataloging fundamentals to the nuances of metadata across lending item types.

All courses are asynchronous, so students may study each module’s materials as their schedules allow so long as they complete the assignments and quizzes by the end of each week.

View All Asynchronous Courses


All Online with the CMC webinars and asynchronous cataloging course are free to all system-member library workers in Illinois thanks to a grant awarded by the Illinois State Library, a Department of the Office of the Secretary of State, using funds provided by the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA).


Recorded Webinars


Watch the recording of any of our past Online with the CMC webinars in our recordings archive.

Browse past webinars

Contact CMC Staff

Dr. Pamela Thomas, Bibliographic Grant Manager

General cataloging and metadata:

Kat Anderberg

Mary Cornell

Eric McKinney

Barbera Scoby

Shelley Stone

Dr. Pamela Thomas

CARLI special project:

Andrea Giosta

Katie Roberts

Blake Walter

The Cataloging Maintenance Center (CMC) provides statewide cataloging support for Illinois libraries, including free original and copy cataloging of eligible special collections, consultation on metadata projects, database cleanup for LLSAPs, cataloging training, and more. It is funded by a grant that was awarded by the Illinois State Library, a Department of the Office of Secretary of State, using funds provided by the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services, under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA), with additional support by Illinois Heartland Library System. The CMC is a division of Illinois Heartland Library System (IHLS).