Special Collections Cataloger - The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston


Location: Houston, TX
Salary: $52,000-$62,000/year
Employment Term: Full-time
Employer ContactHR@mfah.org

The Special Collections Cataloger focuses on the cataloging of and access to collection materials, while assisting with system administration and collection preservation concerns.



  • Catalogs general and special collections materials in OCLC Worldshare Management Services, using current cataloging standards: Resource Description and Access (RDA), Anglo-American Cataloging Rules 2, and Library of Congress classification and subject headings
  • Performs maintenance and clean-up of library catalog records, including overseeing currency of authority records and subject headings
  • Recruits, trains and supervises volunteers working on cataloging projects with a focus on pre-processing and attaching records in WMS
  • Serves as primary cataloger for special collections materials
    • Consults with Chief Librarian and Technical Services Librarian to select and enhance records needing additional research and description, including binding and decoration descriptions, genre terms, and expanded subject analysis.
  • Leads the cataloging of the Manfred Heiting Book Collection
    • Consults with Chief Librarian and members of the rare book community as needed to enhance records and seek guidance for rare book cataloging standards, non-English records, and research

System Administration

  • Shares in the management of the library automated system
  • Assists in the management of the library’s SharePoint sites
  • Works with Technical Services Librarian to coordinate circulation operations with other library services and functions
  • Performs office inventories and maintains item locations and statuses as necessary

Disaster Planning and Preservation

  • Creates and updates disaster preparedness policies and procedures
  • Oversees all aspects of preservation program, including policy development, assessment, workflows and treatments
  • Collects, records, and reports on preservation statistics for department and volunteers
  • Conducts inventory of general supply needs and plans orders and budget for specific preservation needs.
  • Collaborates with other departments, such as ICAA, to create facsimiles of special collection items included in exhibitions to support preservation efforts.

Reporting and Planning

  • Assists in the establishment of priorities for the cataloging team
  • Assists in drafting bibliographic maintenance policies and procedures
  • Assists in the preparation of statistical reports for cataloging and preservation for staff and volunteers
  • Confers with supervisor in developing short/long term planning for technical services department

Training and Supervision

  • Supports special collections and regular cataloging efforts within the department by providing resources, consultations, and individual training as needed
  • Assumes responsibility for Cataloging unit in the absence of the Technical Services Librarian
  • Assists in recruiting and provides training and supervision to volunteers working on special projects focusing on cataloging, translation, and preservation / housing

Other Responsibilities

  • Participates in public services rotation
  • Attends conferences and workshops related to metadata, cataloging, rare books, and preservation. Engages in professional development and maintains knowledge of current standards
  • Promotes special collections by contributing to publications, presenting research, and seeking out professional development opportunities in this specialization.
  • Collection management for special collection materials: housing, location changes, and shelving.

Skills, Knowledge and Abilities

  • Understanding of the construction of bibliographic and authority records
  • Specialized knowledge of rare book cataloging that includes media designation, as well as expanded binding and decoration descriptions for selected materials
  • Understanding of special collections cataloging standards and best practices, including a familiarity with DCRM(B) and the ability to use specialized resources for researching rare materials
  • Strong presentation skills, including reports for libraries and archives committee meetings and other outreach opportunities
  • Familiarity with transcribing text in manuscript, especially in non-English languages
  • Ability to catalog art-related materials using current cataloging standards: Resource Description and Access (RDA), Anglo-American Cataloging Rules 2, and Library of Congress classification and subject headings
  • Familiarity with the use of online library catalogs and the cataloging module of the library automation system, OCLC WordShare Management Services, preferred
  • Strong computer skills, including knowledge of Windows, Microsoft Office progams and databases
  • Familiarity with RDA Toolkit and MarcEdit
  • Ability to work well independently and to exhibit good judgment regarding when to ask questions
  • Accuracy in spelling
  • Good organizational, interpersonal, and written communication skills
  • Must be able to lift heavy boxes and climb ladders, and work at a computer terminal for extended periods of time

Education and Experience

  • ALA accredited Masters in Library and Information Science required
  • Three years of progressively responsible library experience in technical services area
  • Previous cataloging experience required
  • Experience in cataloguing art-related materials in different formats preferred
  • Must have reading knowledge of a Romance language; familiarity with other foreign languages (Japanese and/or Russian) very helpful

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