Core Books – Guidelines for Curators

The Core Books database is hosted on LibraryThing:

Updates may be done anytime, all year. 

The Core Books editor(s) will do twice-yearly reviews of content for consistency and quality control and will yearly confirm with curators that they are still maintaining the subject areas.

Expectations for data provided:

  • The main focus will be to select in-print core titles for your subject and attach an authority-controlled subject tag. That’s it!
  • Information about the year a record is added for a given subject will be maintained for those who search using those criteria.
  • Essential titles are identified for each subject area to allow searching on that criterion.
  • Your name should be added as a “private comment” to each title you include. This allows internal searching by curator name, but is not a public field.

Specific guidelines for updating are available below. These additional guidelines are to explain common problems you might encounter and will be updated as needed. 

Please pay attention to detail and careful data entry to maintain a useful resource!

About LibraryThing: 
We want to allow ourselves and our users to take advantage of the social aspects of LibraryThing to connect the books we select with other information provided about those books. But we also need to keep the Core Books update process “clean” and all agree to follow certain protocols about use of LibraryThing.

  • The groupings by official subjects is what makes “Core Books” the project that it is. Only use the official tags from the Core Books subject listings and only add a tag for the subject you are responsible for. Do not add any other subject tags. Allow the social aspect of LibraryThing to give a broader tag/subject picture of a given title. THIS IS IMPORTANT. Be very careful about spaces, capitalization, punctuation, etc. on your subject tags and review the list of tags regularly for anomalies.
  • There is no backup or upload scheduled. All changes are immediately live. All mistakes, therefore, must be corrected immediately. Please take special care to be aware of any other Core Books subjects associated with any record you work with. 
  • Duplicate titles can be caught and fixed in a couple of ways. LibraryThing will let you know if there is already the same title in the database. You can then just add your subject tag to that record and delete the new one you just added. There is also a “report” in the statistics section on duplicate titles. The editor(s) will do a twice-yearly review of the database as a whole and double check for common problems, such as duplicates. 
  • If you want to add a review, please add your name. ACRLWGSS will be the official reviewer, but attribution to your individual contribution to the record should be given. Reviews are not required nor expected.
  • With a shared login to this account, anyone has the ability to change or update general information about the profile of ACRLWGSS or basic settings. Please do not make edits to the account in any way other than to your list of books. If you have suggestions for changes to general settings, please let the editor(s) know and let them make decisions about such changes.


There are no specific deadlines required but the editor(s) will check in with curators to ensure that updates occur on a regular basis. Set your own timeline within each year for updates to your subject.


  • Review current list and maintain core, in-print titles within your subject scope.
  • Delete titles no longer in print or no longer “core.”
  • Add new titles each year to LibraryThing.

Notes for those NEW to their subject list(s): 

If you are taking over a subject or subjects previously maintained by someone else, you may start over completely with a brand new approach to the subject, or you may update the existing list of records by deleting some, updating some, keeping some as they are, and adding new ones. There are a few things to be aware of in these scenarios.

Completely new list: you would be deleting all the records under the previous subject listing. Follow the guidelines below for deleting. IMPORTANT NOTE: if a record is listed under more than one subject, you will UPDATE the record by deleting your subject AND the name of the submitter. Do not delete the record if there are more than one subjects listed. If your subject is the only one, go ahead and delete the record itself.

Updating previous curator’s list: the previous subject curator’s name will continue to be listed as the submitter for that record if you are leaving the record “as is” in the database.

  • For any updates you make, you should replace the previous submitter’s name with your own listing (copy/paste the complete name).
  • For any new records, you would follow the guidelines for adding new records.
  • For any deletes, follow the guidelines and note the issue about records with more than one subject.

More guidelines for curators:

  • Adding New Records (includes list of tags)
  • Deleting Records
  • Reviewing Records