August 12, 14, & 19 1:45-4:45pm
During my fifth, sixth, and seventh days in cataloging I have experienced various types of records: Honors theses, books, and AV (DVDs and BluRay discs). These different items have catalog entries that appear quite different from one another. Honors theses, for example, are quite short and are original records – records that are entered completely by catalogers – requiring less information than a book does, particularly because student theses do not have a publisher or various editions or translations. Books, on the other hand, can be entered as original records or they can be downloaded from OCLC – downloading from OCLC is the much more common form as publishers coupled with OCLC have already created a record for an item in hand. I was able to spend some time with books last week, which entailed a much different process than when I had entered Honors theses.:
A book in hand must be searched through OCLC and through Voyager (the catalog system used by the library). The reason the record for the book is pulled up in both OCLC and Voyager is to ensure that the records match and that the record in Voyager is the best record choice. Each book typically has several records in OCLC, not just one. Different publishers, different publishing dates, and different languages lead to books having a variety of records that a cataloger can choose from. Many of these records can easily be eliminated from a cataloger’s choices based upon the catalog record being written in a different language. After the first elimination, cataloger’s look at the publisher, and the year the book was published. Sometimes this still leaves a cataloger with a few choices for the item in hand; at this point each record will need to be reviewed to find the best looking record. The most attractive record will have detailed information; for example, if two records are identical except for an added notes field in record number two, the cataloger will likely choose record number two to place their holdings on (this means telling OCLC which record the cataloger’s library is using). The reason for choosing to place holdings on the record that has a notes field (notes can be the names of chapters and/or the summary or information written on the inside of the book jacket) is because it offers end users additional information. More information is almost always good for an end user. Information that is not good, or rather not pertinent, for an end user are subject categories that are written in a foreign language or the dewey decimal number for a book that is being shelved in a library using the LC (Library of Congress) classification system.
Typically, OCLC has already placed a hold on a record for the item in hand – a cataloger can choose to remove OCLC’s original hold and place a hold on a different record if another record looks like a better fit. After the OCLC record holding has been either verified or updated, the cataloger will then check the record in Voyager (or whatever cataloging system that particular library uses) and ensure the information matches, most importantly that the classification number matches. This is also where catalogers will (or can) delete unneeded information, such as subject categories written in a different language. After the records have been compared and any modifications have been made, the cataloger saves the record (more specifically known as the bibliographic record or BIB record) to the library’s database, entered the library holding (meaning what area the item is considered to be in – such as BBK for books in UR’s Boatwright Memorial Library), and finally an item record is entered. The item record includes the classification number and the barcode, which can either be physically placed on the book by the publisher or the cataloger. Once all of the above is complete, the book can finally be placed on the shelf!
AV material has a very similar process to books, but some of the information in the record is different than information in a book record. Some of the differing information includes, actors, director, producer(s), script writer, etc.; original year of release; re-release date (if applicable); name of film in both English and a foreign language (if applicable) – this is called a parallel title; whether the film in hand is a DVD, BluRay, or a combo (DVD and BluRay in the same case); and in UR Boatwright Memorial Library’s case, a website that will connect end users to a multitude of reviews for the film.
When I began interning in the cataloging department I thought that there was a general template for cataloging books, DVDs, BluRays, rare materials, music, etc. How wrong I was!!! The further I absorb myself in cataloging the more I come to appreciate the extreme attention to detail and organization and patience skills it requires of catalogers!
It appears to me that the more involved we become with technology, the more information is needed in catalog records, especially when the item in hand is an item tied closely to or directly with technology. It will be interesting to see what happens with catalog records as our world of technology expands!