On AUTOCAT today, someone was asking about the number of music scores they should be managing to copy catalog in a day - the person's boss was saying 100. Every answer posted to the listserv boiled down to something like, "Seriously?! Even 100 reasonably popular monographs in a day would be tough, much less 100 music scores from a few decades ago." Thankfully, the only quota I have is my personal one - I try to catalog at least 20 items a day.
Some days it goes very badly. Last week, on Friday, I kept picking up stuff that either required original cataloging or complex copy cataloging (hideous records to work off of), so I only got 8 things done. Well, I also loaded a couple hundred authority records and fixed a couple hundred call numbers, so I guess it wasn't a totally worthless day.
Some days things go very well. My personal best so far is 55 books, plus loading new authority records into our system for each one. Unfortunately, I tend to only do this well when I'm cataloging approval plan books (versus firm orders, which, due to Acquisitions procedures I'm hoping will change sometime in the near future, can take twice as long for me to catalog). Even gift books go faster than a lot of firm orders. Currently, I've finished my stack of approval books and am faced with a huge pile of books from Amazon.com. I procrastinated on them, and on the huge pile of educational DVDs, by working my way through some of the gift books - bad me.
Every time I read something on the listservs from someone whose boss has given them a quota, I breathe a sigh of relief that I've been spared that. So far, anyway. I try my best to think up ways to streamline my procedures and speed things up a bit, but there's only so much of that I can do, so I play the scary "what if" game - what if you were asked to speed up your cataloging by a significant amount, what would you stop doing in order to accomplish that? Right now, the answer is "authority record loading and authority work." Even thinking about that hurts.