Karl Jay Pettitt

Associate Professor and Coordinator of Catalog and Metadata Services

  • Faculty

What I do

I oversee the cataloging activities for the University of Denver Libraries.


cataloging, metadata, technical services

Professional Biography

I have been a faculty librarian since 2010 working in the field of cataloging for academic libraries. I hold a B.A. in Religion from Whitworth University, a M.A. in the History of Christianity from Wheaton College, and a M.L.I.S. from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. My academic interest are broad but I have spent most of my professional career studying and applying the art and science of bibliographic description for databases within academic libraries.


  • MLIS, Library Science, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, 2010
  • MA, History of Christianity, Wheaton College, 2007
  • BA, Religion, Whitworth University, 2003

Professional Affiliations

  • American Library Association
  • Core
  • Library History Round Table


My research interests include the education of librarians focusing on the overall structure that best prepares librarians for the work they will face. This research led to a book chapter that applies a three-fold apprenticeship approach to professional education developed by the Carnegie Foundation to the field of librarianship. Another area of focus has been assessment in cataloging. I have published a chapter on assessment in cataloging which provides an overview of the various types of assessment that have been performed in cataloging departments within libraries. I am also interested in the history of libraries and librarianship, and the impact these people and institutions have had on their communities. I have spent years researching the community of Pullman, Illinois. This neighborhood of Chicago was once a separate community entirely owned and operated by the Pullman Palace Car Company. I have researched the library that existed in this company town and the roles it fulfilled for the community.

Areas of Research

professional education
history of libraries
history of librarians
libraries & society
assessment in technical services
Pullman (Illinois)

Featured Publications

Pettitt, K. (2018). Educating Librarians: Applying the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching Apprenticeship Model to the Education of Librarians. In J. Percell, L. C. Sarin, P. T. Jaeger, & J. C. Bertot (Eds.), Re-envisioning the MLS, Part B: Perspectives on the Future of Library and Information Science Education (pp. 123-151). Bingley, UK: Emerald.
Pettitt, K. (2019). Cataloging and Metadata Assessment: An Overview. In K. A. Edwards & M. Leonard (Eds.), Assessment Strategies in Technical Services (pp. 155-182). Chicago, IL: ALA Editions.


Pettitt, K., & Elzi, E. N. (2021). Unsettling the catalog: Acknowledging our past, scrutinizing our present, and Indigenizing our future. ALA Annual.
Elzi, E., & Pettitt, K. (2021). Unsettling Authorities in Alma and Primo . ELUNA Learns - Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion. Zoom: Ex Libris.
Fox, V., Gross, T., Kellett, C., & Pettitt, K. (2020). Implementing Local Alternatives to the "Illegal aliens" LCSH. ALA Midwinter Meeting and Exhibits 2020. Philadelphia, PA: American Library Association.