Cataloging Standards

Authors: Elisabeth Aurelle, Michael Conkin, and Tonette Mendoza

Note: This is part 2 of a 4-part document. Move among documents using links at the end of the document being viewed.


III. Cataloging Functions

A . Searching for Bibliographic Copy
The first step in most cataloging is searching OCLC and/or RLIN for a usable bibliographic record describing the item in hand. In some cases, cataloging with copy is performed at the time of searching; standards for these two functions cannot always be c ompletely separated.

  1. Performance context
    Staff performing this function need:
  2. Performance standards
    The basic Library wide standard for this function might be expressed in this way:

    Perform the fewest searches needed to achieve definitive search results, and no more. In practice, a minimum of 3 searches (if no hits are found in the 1st and/or 2nd search) per item suffices. In any case, 5 searches are probably enough. Experienced catalogers use judgment in searching for copy.

    As of this writing, no methods for evaluating the performance of this function are in place. Performance indicators for searching for copy as a distinct function might include:

    1. Rate of copy found to be unusable, with an acceptable 10-15% error rate (a higher rate considered below standard.) This can be measured by a pre-cataloging review comparing copy retrieved with item in hand. Such a review might be conducted reg ularly, or during a sampling period, e.g., once a month, once a quarter, etc.
    2. Rate of usable copy missed, with an acceptable 10-15% error rate (a higher rate considered below standard.) This also can be measured during a pre-cataloging quality review check (regular or during sampling period), re-searching those items for which no usable copy was found. Such a review for this indicator should take into account the time between the original and follow-up searches.
    3. Rate of material being returned from original catalogers with usable copy, with an acceptable 10-15% return rate (a higher rate considered below standard.) NOTE: The time elapsed between the initial andsubsequent searches is to be taken into account. This might be measured by recording the total number of items with copy received and the number of items with usable copy returned.
    4. Rate of production: as a standard separate from quality considerations, the average quantity rate for this function cannot easily be assessed on a Librarywide basis due to the variety of materials cataloged (books, serials, maps, scores, computer fil es, media, etc.). Refer to locally established standards for further guidance.

B. Cataloging with Copy

This function usually begins after successful searching has identified a record (or records) with usable copy describing the item in hand. Catalogers using copy add, delete and/or modify data to reflect local cataloging and holdings practices to produce m achine-readable records for addition to the GLADIS database. Aspects of the performance criteria for this function are related to those described in searching for copy.

  1. Performance context
    Staff performing this function need:
  2. Access to a networked PC with the current versions of OCLC Passport for Windows and TTE (and/or RLIN Terminal for Windows) software installed
  3. Written documentation and standards:
  4. Training and review
  5. Workflow and organization
  6. Reliable and timely database loads managed by the Library Systems Office according to published schedules
  7. Performance standards
    The basic Librarywide standards for this function might be expressed in this way: