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The ILS does not take full advantage of existing structures such as MARC. Thus MARC has been deemed a failure; cited as being unable work with contemporary data and filling current needs. However, it could simply be that the ILS do not use the data to the fullest extent and do not do what libraries need. The systems must be flexible enough to allow customization for individual library needs. Vendors continue to offer libraries rigidly defined systems rather than seeking from libraries input on what they need. In addition, some libraries tend to choose an ILS on what best suits their operational needs not their users’ needs. Most libraries have a mixture of library users; some are highly computer literate and adapt well to change and some do not. With many users familiar with the Internet and different search engines and websites, the current mantra is that we need to make our make our catalogs resemble Google or Amazon. While we do not need to go to that extreme, we do need to do something different.
DA Routt, Written Testimony to the LC Working Group on the Future of Bibliographic Control, 12/4/2007 3 Libraries also must consider whether existing structures are sufficient for their needs.
AACR2 and bibliographic control are obviously very book based. Although there have been attempts to modify the structure to embrace digital materials, the basic underlying structure still has aspects that are hard to apply to electronic or digital materials. We need to consider new structures, and take into account how they will apply to current and future materials. The possibilities of structures such as library-developed RDA, Dublin Core and FRBR must be further explored so we can determine if our needs will be sufficiently met. Furthermore, we also need to explore further the usability and adaptability of structures and standards developed by other groups, such as XTML and SKOS.
Aside from the substantial expenses involved with supporting structures and systems, we have the additional expense of personnel. Like most other Technical Services departments across the country, my department has been reduced over the years. The current staff consists of one manager and one FTE librarian (filled by two librarians who have duties elsewhere; all of these staff members have MLS degrees) and one FTE paraprofessional (filled by one specialist) who all catalog and another paraprofessional who works with acquisitions. In contrast, the staff five years ago consisted of one manager and two and half FTE librarians (filled by three librarians, with the half fulfilling reference duties; again all of these staff members had MLS degrees, or were working towards one) who all cataloged and one paraprofessional in acquisitions. Our clerical support staff and pages have also been reduced. We now have four FTE clerks and one and half FTE pages who work on cataloging and processing. Five years ago we had seven FTE clerks and just over two FTE pages who worked on cataloging and processing.
Although our collections budget has decreased in that time we have added new collections (such as e-books and downloadable audio), have begun cataloging materials that have not been previously (such as telephone books and annual reports) and worked on projects (such as reclassifying our music CDs and creating a new biography collection). Essentially our workload has not decreased even though the collection budget has. Five years ago we did not have a backlog; our current backlog dates back to January 2007.
While systems such as the ordering and delivery speed of materials have greatly increased in the past five years the speed at which we can catalog them has not. The majority of our cataloging is copy cataloging, adapting records to our local standards and needs. This may involve adding a uniform title for motion pictures and television programs, series tags, a local author tag, a format tag, a biography tag, inverting geographical subheadings, and adding various genre tags. All of this is done to improve information access and search retrieval for those using our catalog, staff and public alike.
We also create and maintain custom lists of new materials and bestsellers, further enhancing our catalog to better serve our patrons.
DA Routt, Written Testimony to the LC Working Group on the Future of Bibliographic Control, 12/4/2007 4 We need bibliographic control or control of data for information retrieval; we cannot afford to lose control of our data. Without it we just have data that may or may not be retrieved. We face many challenges in determining what form the control should take and how to apply it. Currently, we have a variety of standards and systems; some are well developed while some are out-dated. The library community needs more consistency and to develop better means of cooperating both within the community and with other groups.
We must insist on better ILS. We have a number of new tools being developed including RDA and FRBR that currently we know little about or even if they will meet our current and future needs. But we need to continue to develop and maintain structures and systems, considering our users needs in all that we do. We need to further support and develop our library catalogs as an essential part of our services. After all, the catalog is the digital and virtual representation of the library and its holdings – creating a library without walls.
DA Routt, Written Testimony to the LC Working Group on the Future of Bibliographic Control, 12/4/2007 Critical Economic Impact of DLC Authority and Bibliographic Records At Texas State University-San Marcos and Assuredly Elsewhere August 1, 2007 Over time, our library has extensively exported/used hundreds of thousands of DLC bibliographic and authority records for our card and online catalogs, and our shelflist.
These records now form the majority of the online catalog content, and provide the description of and access to our collection, for all print, non-print, and remote electronic resources.
Historically, our staff have not edited much of the DLC bibliographic record. We have accepted the call numbers as they are, unless there are formatting errors or we have a chosen to classify or treat a series in a different manner than the Library of Congress. The quality of the records was the highest available to us, and we trusted this fact. By using DLC bibliographic records as they were, without much editing, we gained the highest quality records for our university patrons, saved staff time, were able to not have to add additional cataloging staff to handle new materials, and we were able to catalog more new materials, more quickly.
Our staff have also not edited much, if any, of the DLC authority records, historically speaking, as they were correct, of high quality, and were the authoritative source of all authorized headings, cross references, and series classification and tracing decisions. By using DLC authority records as they were, without editing, we gained the highest quality records, saved staff time, were able to not have to add additional cataloging staff, and we were able to catalog more new materials, more quickly.
Our online catalog is composed of the following statistical counts of bibliographic and authority records. I’m not the best at using our Millennium’s “create list” reporting mechanism, so I can’t vouch that the totals are entirely accurate. But, this is what I found.
Scenario I: LAII catalogs DLC records (current practice: LC cataloging quality is still high, except for series control, even though there are rumors of further decline) Our Library Assistant (LA) II’s usually review and edit LC bibliographic records as necessary, and this has been our practice throughout our history. These are high quality records, and only require some series work, and possibly changing a classification number because of a differing series classification treatment or formatting problem An LA II now makes approximately $7.00 per hour, as a beginning rate.
It takes an LAII approximately 10 minutes to review and edit a DLC title, including review for authority control. In terms of a full hour, 10 minutes is.17 of the 60 minutes.
Our library actually had the LAIIs catalog those 419,417 DLC bibliographic records, at a
419,417 x $7.00 hourly rate x.17 hr. = $499,106.23 Scenario II: LAIV/Cataloger reviews DLC records because LC has allowed cataloging quality to slip (could happen even more in the future) LAIV’s and catalogers generally perform non-DLC and original cataloging, historically at Texas State University-San Marcos. But, if the quality of LC cataloging were to decline, depending on the situation an LAIV or Cataloger might have to give a quick review of these titles.
Let’s say that a beginning LAIV salary currently is around $9.00 per hour, and a beginning Cataloger’s salary around $12.00 per hour. Let’s average that amount, since both work on non-DLC and original, to be $11.00.
We can estimate that it would take an LAIV or Cataloger approximately, on average, 5 minutes to review and edit a DLC title, including review for authority control. In terms of a full hour, 5 minutes is.8 of the 60 minutes.
If we did not have full, highest quality LC bibliographic records, and they required
LAIV/cataloger intervention the cost would have been:
419,417 x $11.00 x.08 = $369,086.96 The other non-DLC cataloging records, all 226,284 of them, would have most likely not been cataloged as the focus would have been on managing the much larger number of those 419,417 DLC titles. Or, we would have had a much smaller number of those 226,284 non-DLC titles cataloged, and our backlog of books awaiting cataloging would be large, and growing daily, through the years.
Scenario III. LAIV/Cataloger has to catalog those 419,417 titles as LC cataloging is non-existent (hope this will never happen) As in scenario II, a beginning LAIV salary currently is around $9.00 per hour, and a beginning Cataloger’s salary around $12.00 per hour. Let’s average that amount, since both work on non-DLC and original, to be $11.00.
It might take an LAIV or Cataloger approximately, on average, 40 minutes to review and catalog a title without DLC cataloging, including review for authority control. In terms of a full hour, 40 minutes is.67.
If we no longer had DLC cataloging to rely on, the cost for those 419,417 records, which
would have had DLC (but DLC stopped cataloging) would be:
419,417 x $11.00 x.67 = $3,091,103.29 Also, as in scenario III, the other non-DLC cataloging records, all 226,284 of them, would have most likely not been cataloged as the focus would have been on trying managing the much larger number of those 419,417 prior-DLC titles. Or, we would have had a much, much smaller number of those 226,284 non-DLC titles cataloged. Our backlog of books awaiting cataloging would be extremely large, and would include a lot of the 419,417 prior-DLC titles as well as the 226,284 non-DLC titles. Our backlog would be unmanageable and growing daily, through the years.
Bibliographic Record Conclusions By having full, highest quality LC bibliographic records, reviewed by an LAII, we were
able to achieve the following:
• Get more records cataloged, more quickly, as the LA II’s focus solely on the DLC, allowing the more complicated non DLC/original cataloging to be performed by the LAIV’s/Catalogers
• Retain the highest level quality of cataloging for all cataloging records, no matter whether DLC or not, because the level of staff reviewing them is appropriate to their complexity
• Best utilize the expertise of cataloging staff, providing the best outcome in terms of quality, quantity cataloged, speed of getting materials to our university users, and overall excellence in bibliographic records description and access in our online catalog, for our collection.
• Have basically no or little backlogs, getting materials to users
• Save much money, as indicated in the above figures If you multiply our experience times the number of academic libraries similar to us, the
• having reliably high quality DLC records,
• having a high quantity of DLC records for the largest quantity of new materials that are received, and
• the cost savings by relying on DLC cataloging versus having to catalog the materials ourselves or having higher level staff review the poorer quality DLC records becomes a real economic factor, of major importance to libraries of all kinds very soon, not just academic libraries.
As the tables indicate, our authority database is 79% DLC authority records, and 21% local or non-DLC records. A very large 75% of our series authority records have been created by LC. Only 25% are either locally or other agency created. At the current time, only DLC series authority records are currently declining in quantity. If the decline continues, and is not picked up by other quality, national level cataloging agencies, our time will be increasingly spent on creating our own local series authorities, which, in
• We will spend more time on series authority work, and less time cataloging, and doing other authority work.
• Fewer titles will be cataloged, backlogs will grow, and our university users get fewer materials for their use, in a less and less timely manner.
• Multiply this by the number of other libraries that will be forced to work on series, which LC would have done before, and the economic and patron effects are real detrimental factors, not imaginary, growing in severity over time.
We must have Library of Congress high quality cataloging and authority control, now and in the future, in order to maintain bibliographic control, user access, and economic control of our cataloging and authority work. This work that we do creates the window to our collections, records the human record, and provides access for past, present and future library patrons in the entire world, and past, present, and future recorded knowledge of humanity.