RE: Cost of Cataloguing?

Posting to Autocat
On Thu, 28 Oct 2010 10:05:26 -0600, A Louie wrote:

>Someone else suggested that it could be 1 book an hour = 7 books a day, taking into consideration hourly pay.
>How much time does it take for each of you to make one original catalogue for a new item using MARC or AACR2, etc.?

Of course, it all depends on the item and how much work it takes: you may be able to create a record for a new edition of Gulliver’s Travels very quickly, but a new work of non-fiction, which needs in-depth subject analysis and a few names set up can take a lot longer. Classification may even be the sticking point. Still, the original non-fiction may be just as quick as Gulliver’s Travels if it is just a new edition of something already in the database. Original records are *not* all the same. Plus, if something is copy cataloged, if that record is lousy, it can take more time to fix it than doing an original record.

Also, a lot depends on your system–if it has automated much of the process of creating new authorities headings and so on–and if you are involved in cooperative projects such as NACO or SACO, which have their own demands. Finally, how much work a record will demand can only be determined at the time of cataloging, and not before. Many times, I am sure we have all experienced taking a book off of the shelf and thinking, “Wow! This one is going to be tough!” only to discover that the subject is easy, or that a weird corporate name had already been set up by someone else. On the other hand though, I have also taken an innocent-looking book off the shelf that has literally exploded in my face! What seemed a simple name, for example, may take a long time, or the subject can become a nightmare! (I am thinking of the Russia/Soviet Union/Former Soviet republics problem)

When I started, it was considered 1 original record per hour, but it seems as if this has changed. As Mac pointed out, his people are expected to do a lot more. If we are to maintain any kind of relevance as we move into this “brave new information world,” I believe that one of the most important tasks is to raise productivity by a significant amount. Standards of production show that the main points are to automate wherever possible and adhere to shared standards.

Many of the tools we use to do our jobs are still based in the 19th century and must be rethought. The actual amount of work an individual does is less important in this sense. For example, a farmer using a scythe on his wheat is working himself very hard and can accomplish only a limited amount. A big, fat modern farmer sitting in his air-conditioned combine, smoking, drinking a beer and listening to music, isn’t working nearly so hard, but is accomplishing much, much more.

Adherence to shared standards is just as important, to keep everyone from having to rework the same things over and over.