Monday, July 19, 2010

RE: What to stop doing

Posting to Autocat

On Sun, 18 Jul 2010 09:28:45 -0400, Amy Turner wrote:

>Sally, you wrote in 2006 about what we NEED to stop doing--maintaining duplicate records in multiple local catalogs. WorldCat Local shows that this is possible, but I'm not quite ready to jump on board because of limitations in OCLC capabilities for automated authority control. But, I think we will eventually look back in amazement at discussions of maintaining local subsets of the same basic body of work.
>
>Meanwhile, it is really hard to stop doing anything major, in spite of the pressures you mention. At Duke, we have a goal to spend less time on print to make more time for electronic resources, and I'm not sure how we will accomplish this. Shelf-ready books will help, and I have proposed that we class all monographic series together (historic classed together series are about our last local practice). We have already streamlined and streamlined ...

This is a good point, but I don't know if sharing a single master record (ala OCLC WorldCat Local) is in everyone's best interests, although it may be the only practical option. The problem is: for this to work, we need to have real, genuine *standards* that everyone *must follow* or be penalized. This is how standards work in other fields, e.g. plumbing, roofing, automobiles, where if something doesn't follow the standard, the company is liable and the individual tradesman is at risk.

As I have written in other posts, standards in cataloging don't work this way and never have. If there is a subquality record a cataloger takes it and fixes it up locally but nothing much happens to whoever made the record or the institution responsible, except people say bad things at other institutions.

If we are stuck with a single record as in WorldCat Local, it becomes difficult to fix it up locally. Records are made and updated by anybody, from student to master cataloger. I realize that there is now a provision that makes it easier to change the master record, but this could lead to just as many problems as it does improvements, since the updaters will still be anybody, from student to master cataloger.

For something like this to exist, I think there is little choice but to insist on some sort of certification, as happens in most other endeavors. To be an electrician, you must demonstrate and maintain your skills, and if you do a bad job, you and the company that employs you, are damaged.

Also, how does this figure in to the WorldCat Record Use Policy? Now that the books are in Google books, it seems that libraries really would lose ownership of the last resource they own, their catalogs.

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