Illinois libraries can take advantage of specialized cataloging services through the Cataloging Maintenance Center (IHLS) and World Language Cataloging Service (RAILS).

If your library is a member of a shared cataloging consortium, your consortium may provide additional cataloging services.

World Language Cataloging Services

The World Language Cataloging Services Program is a statewide cataloging support program for Illinois library system members. This service provides supplementary cataloging, particularly when original cataloging or world language cataloging is needed for system members as an outsourcing option. Both RAILS and IHLS members are eligible to participate. This service is made possible by a grant from the Illinois State Library and there is no charge for system member libraries to use the service.

Eligible Languages

This service covers all languages that are considered part of the library's regular collection, as opposed to being a special collection. Each library makes that determination. The Cataloging Maintenance Center (CMC) is available to catalog special collections.

Eligible Formats

  • Print books
  • Audiobooks
  • Kits
  • Magazines, periodicals, newspapers
  • Serials
  • Sound recordings, music
  • Sound recordings, non-music
  • Printed music
  • Cartographic materials
  • Realia, e.g.: cake pans, die shapes, puppets
  • Textbooks
  • Video games
  • Video recordings, e.g., VHS, DVDs, Blu-rays
  • Non-published materials (manuscripts, etc.)

NOT Eligible

  • E-books
  • E-audiobooks
  • Streaming videos
  • Locally created e-resources (electronic theses) (can use CMC)
  • Local resources & genealogy (can use CMC)
  • Braille (can use CMC)
  • Digital collections (can use CMC)
  • Special collections as defined by the library (such as government documents and materials in different languages) (can use CMC)

Contact 630.734.5128 or with questions about eligible materials.

Guidelines of RAILS World Language Cataloging Services Program

  • Make sure you are sending the eligible collections for original or copy cataloging (see eligible formats and languages section)
  • Libraries can send physical items, photocopies, or PDF files of the items to be cataloged. Use the Cataloging Request Form to submit World Language Cataloging Service Program requests. This form indicates the cataloging specifications for each item. You need to be logged into the RAILS website to submit the form using your L2 login information. Once you submit this form, you will receive an email. Please enclose a printout of the email with each item you send to the RAILS Burr Ridge location.
  • We understand that some materials may not be able to leave your library. We can catalog those items from surrogates (photocopies, scans, or images). If you will be sending surrogates, follow the guidelines in the Procedures for Preparing Cataloging Surrogates document (see below) when preparing your materials. We provide full level bibliographic records for materials.
  • Before providing original cataloging, RAILS cataloging staff will first search OCLC Connexion for an existing record. If the existing OCLC record has less than a full bibliographic description, RAILS cataloging staff will upgrade it to full level according to RDA and the national cataloging standards depending on the item's format. If there is no existing MARC record found, RAILS cataloging staff will create an original bibliographic record and will supply the resulting OCLC record. If unable to catalog a particular language or format, RAILS will outsource the cataloging. Our outsourcing vendor is Backstage Library Works.
  • Libraries can request LC or Dewey numbers depending on their classification scheme and other cataloging elements.
  • We provide Library of Congress, MeSH, BISAC, and Sears subject headings depending on your institution's use.
  • We will not do any physical processing of items (e.g., printing and affixing labels).
  • We will not load the bibliographic record for the item into your local ILS database.
  • We will not create items/holding records for individual copies. We will provide full level bibliographic record for each item you send. We will include the printout of the bibliographic record with the item when we return it to you. If libraries use the surrogate cataloging method, we will send the record via email. Libraries can access the bibliographic record using their OCLC Connexion account also.
  • Please contact Nincy George, RAILS Cataloging Services Coordinator, ( ) with any questions you may have.

Procedures for sending materials to RAILS

  • All materials must be properly stamped with your library ownership stamp.
  • Do not send materials with pertinent information covered up.
  • There is no limit to the number of items libraries can send to us. Do not send more until the previous items have been returned. We can also work with members case by case if they have a backlog of materials or collections.
  • Send all items via interlibrary delivery to RAILS Burr Ridge with the appropriate RAILS or ILDS delivery label.
    • Send to: RAILS Burr Ridge – XBR
    • Include in Notes field: For Nincy George
  • You may send items individually or in a group in a box or a padded envelope. If you choose to send them in a group, please make sure each item has a Cataloging Request Form email attached or inside the item.
  • Full level bibliographic records will be returned with fully cataloged items. The OCLC number will be included for reference.
  • The bibliographic record for the item will not be loaded into your local database (ILS).
  • Once you receive the cataloged materials, please inform RAILS cataloging staff (Nincy George), so RAILS cataloging staff can close the ticket.

Damaged material disclaimer

RAILS assumes no responsibility for items damaged in transit via RAILS delivery. Items should be sent to the Burr Ridge office according to the standard procedures for this shipment method. Items returned from the Burr Ridge office will be packed appropriately for the item format and every effort will be made to ensure safety during transport. Most audio-visual materials will be sent in padded envelopes.

Cataloging Maintenance Center (CMC)

Supported by the Illinois State Library, the Cataloging Maintenance Center is operated by the Illinois Heartland Library System and provides statewide cataloging support for Illinois libraries.

The CMC upgrades bibliographic records for Local Library System Automation Programs (LLSAPs) throughout the state. RAILS LLSAPs are CCS, Pinnacle, PrairieCat, RRLC, RSA, and SWAN.

The CMC will provide original or copy cataloging of eligible collections for any library that is an LLSAP member or that receives a grant requiring holdings to be added to OCLC WorldCat. "Eligible collections" currently include genealogy, local history, and special collections (e.g., local authors, community cookbooks, government documents, etc.).

The CMC also offers free (for staff of Illinois libraries) online training courses and webinars, including the "Online with the CMC" series of short presentations on different cataloging topics. See the Library Directory & Learning Calendar (L2) calendar for upcoming CMC training events.