Re: [ACAT] Creating duplicates in WorldCat is not helpful

Posting to Autocat

On 1/16/2014 7:58 AM, Hal Cain <> wrote:

Like Aaron, I love(d) the German and French records, especially for the books I encountered in a recent retrospective program (10,000 unrecorded volumes, some going back to the 1700s and early 1800s, and some of them totally unrecorded in Anglo-American cataloguing). The results of this work, some coded as preliminary (bib level 3) are making their way into the Libraries Australian database, whence they will reach OCLC (though unattributed to the library where the work was done, simnply identified as Australian (040 AU@ and/or a pesky AU 029 number.

For the authority work I’m still pursuing as a retirement project, those French and German OCLC entries are gold, as information if not as supplying the form of name to be established.

The problem being discussed is not that you have additional information at your disposal, the problem is with the duplication of records and the inability of the working catalogers, who are laboring under time constraints, to limit only to records and rules that will be of real use to them. The cataloger doesn’t want just any record; the cataloger wants the best record for the purpose. This is completely different from what the public may, or may not, want.

I can imagine that a cataloger, after going through tons of duplicates for all of the various materials waiting for cataloging, with each record having bare-minimum information–and with much of that minimal information having to be corrected–just decides that it is wasting too much time and it is more efficient to make the record from scratch. That defeats the purpose of cooperative cataloging, and the very idea of sharing. If we are going to share, mutual standards become absolutely 100% essential. Otherwise, the final product turns into mush.

This is different from the purposes of the user, who may be doing a known-item search, and only require a title spelled correctly (and maybe not even that with “fuzzy” searching capabilities) and a recognizable form of a name.

If the cataloger could limit to materials with Leader positions 17 (Encoding level) and 18 (Descriptive cataloging form), that may be another matter. If duplicates remain an insoluble problem, the RLIN solution of clustering may be another option. But the problem of duplicates in Worldcat is not at all the catalogers’ fault because they decide not to spend their time fixing them, or alerting OCLC after wasting their energies ploughing through yet another batch of duplicates. The problem is that those records are all thrown in there in the first place.