May 27, 2022

Journal Article: “Leveraging Cataloging and Collection Development Expertise to Improve OER Discovery”

The following article was recently published by OLA Quarterly an official publication of the Oregon Library Association.


Leveraging Cataloging and Collection Development Expertise to Improve OER Discovery


Clare Sobotka
Linn-Benton Community College
Holly Wheeler
Mt. Hood Community College
Heather White
Mt. Hood Community College


OLA Quarterly
Volume 25 Number 1


While there is ongoing improvement in some of the larger open educational resources (OER) search engines, librarians sending emails to listservs asking “anyone know of OER on this topic?” and keeping old-fashioned reading lists of valuable OER are common occurrences. Compared to searching for books in a library catalog or scholarly articles in a research database, finding OER wherever they may be is challenging even for librarians, not to mention instructional faculty. The reason is technical: subpar and variable metadata in OER search engines leads to difficulties searching, capturing, and sharing data across repositories. In other words, the current lack of robust, descriptive metadata for OER results in fewer access points. Thus, OER are comparatively hard to find.

Bibliographic control for purposes of information storage and retrieval is something librarians are experts in, but we have not shared our methods with the Open Education community yet. So far, the majority of library advocates for OER have been reference and instruction librarians, as well as library directors. This is great, and we need them to continue to champion OER creation and adoption, but the Open Education movement needs technical services librarians to step forward and apply their cataloging and systems administration expertise to streamline access to the sprawling landscape of OER content; our profession would do well to share our collection development expertise as well. To this end, Clare Sobotka, Reference Assistant at Linn-Benton Community College (LBCC), Holly Wheeler, Library Cataloging and Metadata Specialist at Mt. Hood Community College (MHCC), and Heather White, Library Technical Services & OER Coordinator, along with their colleagues, have started to experiment with creating collection development policies and MARC records for OER. Ultimately, they hope for the development of a metadata schema that is shared between the Open Education and library communities and is mapped to MARC and RDA, to improve both catalog records and OER search engines across the web.

Direct to Full Text Article
9 pages; PDF.

Direct to Complete Table of Contents For Volume 25, Number 1 
Issue Title: The Future Organization of Things

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.