v. The process of providing access to materials by creating formal descriptions to represent the materials and then organizing those descriptions through headings that will connect user queries with relevant materials. The process of providing such access, plus additional work to prepare the materials for use, such as labeling, marking, and maintenance of authority files.


The United States data content standard for cataloging archival collections is Archives, Personal Papers, and Manuscripts. The equivalent Canadian standard is Rules for Archival Description. The standard for bibliographic materials in English-speaking countries is Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules.


APPM2 1989, p. 4 The process of archival cataloging consists predominantly of interpreting, extrapolating, or extracting information from the material and its context. . . . By contrast, a bibliographic approach is characterized by item oriented cataloging to provide a description, usually of a published item, as a physical entity. The cataloging process consists predominantly of transcribing information that appears on or with the item.