The New York Botanical Garden


The Cataloging Department

The LuEsther T. Mertz Library Cataloging Department provides intellectual access to the Library’s collections by creating bibliographic records containing descriptive and subject analysis, and making those records available to users through the Library’s online catalog. In addition, the Department physically processes library materials to make them available for patron use, removes items from the catalog when they are no longer part of the collection, and maintains authority control over the catalog.


In general, the Library uses Library of Congress Classification and Subject Headings, with some local variation relating to plant nomenclature. The library uses the Millennium integrated library system. Because of the comprehensive nature of the collection, we create original cataloging records for approximately 40% of the material we acquire. These records are shared with the worldwide library community through the OCLC bibliographic utility using the Connexion interface.  Bibliographic records are maintained in USMARC format and cataloging conforms to AACR2R 2002 standards.

Current projects

Nursery and Seed Trade Catalog Project

This collection contains catalogs issued by approximately 5,000 commercial nurseries, primarily American, with some representation from Europe and Japan.  These trade catalogs are one of the special collections of the Mertz Library and constitute one of the largest such collections in the United States.

The entire collection will be processed resulting in the creation of bibliographic records that provide access to various data including nursery name, catalog title, publisher, place of publication, date and subject.  Scholars will have access to the records via the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC), and the Mertz Library online catalog.  A selection of catalogs will be digitized and made available online through the MertzDigital site which is powered by the digital asset management system, ContentDM and hosted by OCLC.

Plant Name Subject Authority Project

As an aid to catalogers when handling publications about various ranks of taxa, the subject authority for every taxon of family and below must contain the local class number.  This has not been done in a consistent way, so the first goal of the project is to insure that every name for which there is a bibliographic record using that name has a corresponding authority record, and that the class number is in the authority record.

To the greatest extent possible, the established form should be currently accepted nomenclature.  Synonyms should be included, and such common names as are likely to be searched.

Metadata and Digital Projects

Cataloging staff provide metadata for titles that are digitized and added to the Library’s MertzDigital collection. Links to digitized items are added to the Library’s catalog records, both for titles digitized in-house and available on MertzDigital as well as digitized material located in repositories such as the Biodiversity Heritage Library, Internet Archive, HathiTrust, and Google Books.

Serials Inventory Project

A complete inventory of every volume of the Library’s 12,000+ serial titles is underway, which will provide accurate and comprehensive holdings information in the online catalog.