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Catalog Maintenance & Authorities Team

Meeting #1 9/9/98

We began the meeting by taking care of some administrative business. Most importantly, we re-worded the committee's self-imposed charges. They now read:

  1. Investigate and make recommendataions to facilitte the implementation of post-cataloging authority processing.

  2. Investigate and make recommendations regarding duties and staffing for catalog maintenance and quality control.

  3. Set up coordination procedures with the new stack maintenance unit.

There were three items on the agenda for discussion:

1.) The implementation of post-cataloging authority processing.

Kathy is having some success running report, but there are still questions that need to be answered. Jack asked what would happen when we stopped routing monographs through authority, and started working with reports. Helen said that these reports will list many records for which there are not authority records in our database. Staff would then have to track down the authority record on OCLC, download it, and in some cases retrieve the book for confirmation. An alternative would be to buy some or all of the LC authority files and load them into the database. The reports generated would then be a good deal smaller - presumably most monograph records loaded into the system would have corresponding authority records.

Helen is looking into pricing and availability of these authority files.

2.)Electronic resources maintenance: a) paid, b) free

Jack started this discussion, which cenetered on using Catalog Maintenance staff to maintain web links in the OPAC. He said that in the past, if a print journal had an associated web site that was not full text, the URL had not been added to the record. This was because of the time involved in checking and maintaining all of these links.

He has asked for a meeting with Sheri to enlist her support in experimenting with the OPAC display of web links (this would require the assistance of Beth), playing with holdings displays for electronic journals, and eventually getting the concerend parties together to make some decisions about how they should be done.

3.)Standardization of procedures regarding catalog maintenance - losts, reinstatements, etc.

Again Jack stared the discussion on this topic, saying that he'd been told by Henry that for the time being, Patti Branum would need to be concentrating primarily on her cataloging duties, and not on catalog maintenance. Thus Catalog Maintenance staff (Jack included) would need to begin taking care of these chores, ant that it would be best if we could standardize all of our procedures and notes for losts, discards, etc.

Jack will meet briefly with Rose in this regard.

The meeting adjourned.

Meeting #2 10/8/98

1.) The implementation of post-cataloging authority processing.

The first item discussed was post-cataloging authority. Helen informed us that our hopes for implementation with the change to Voyager 97.2.2 were to some degree unfounded. The documentation for the report writing capabilities is very skimpy, and that there seem to be unexpected limitations in the programming itself.

Subject authority is moving right along; Voyager's Global Change Queue is proving quite effective in correcting subject headings. We will continue to use this feature to perform large index cleanups. When LC offers their official online version of the 3000+ free floating subdivisions, and we can use it to run subject authority reports, we will be in even better shape. We are looking into the possibility that this may be included at little or no extra cost with our LCSH files we now purchase from Peter Ward.

We have determined that the purchase of LC's name authority file, with 4.3 million entries, would be an aid to doing post-cataloging authority. Presumably most personal, corporate, conference and geographical name headings we would ever need would be available in the files, along with uniform titles and series. Thus any report looking for unestablished name headings would be very short indeed. The purchase would however be overkill on a grand scale - many headings in the files would never be used. It would also be expensive - LC's retrospective files costs $11,715, and the annual subscription, updated weekly, would be another $11,595 per year.

If it is determined not to purchase these files, our alternative would be for Systems to run reports listing name headings added to the database for which there are no authority files loaded, and staff would then search OCLC to download the correct record - occasionally having to track the volumes down to determine which record to use. This would likely be quite labor-intensive.

Kathy, Helen, and Harriet will meet soon to determine exactly what sort of information would be needed for these reports, and will then attempt to contact the people at Endeavor associated with the report-writing and authorities modules. We have many questions regarding the effectiveness and capabilities or the modules, and the feeling of the group is that what is needed more than anything else is answers from Endeavor.

Helen and I have written Peter Ward asking for pricing on the LC name authority files, and also on the availability of the LC free floating subdivisions.

2.) The design of electronic resource management procedures.

The second item on the agenda was that of electronic resource management. The OPAC committee met with Jack on 10/7/98, and were able to come up with the proper displays of electronic resources to be used in OPAC displays. These would include runs of serials titles for which we have some print, serials available to our users online only, electronic databases, and related web sites. This last category is one we haven't pursued actively; things like finding aids, tables of contents, abstracts, current issues only, etc. As we add URLs to the database, we have to consider the maintenance of the links, and our discussion centered on who or what would be doing the checking.

It was determined that our initial approach should be to divide the links into many categories, with the hopes that some types of links will prove to be more stable than others. For each category, there will be an html file listing the titles and URLs. We will use robotic link-checkers to check all of these files quite frequently, and less frequently will employ student assistants to actually visit the sites and check them in more detail.

Kathy pointed out that she can probably run reports that would list all titles with URLs, but at the moment the "divide and conquer" approach seems best. It may be that after a period of six or nine months we can determine which types of sites need watching closely, and which are stable enough to need checking only occasionally (once per year?). At that time we would be able to scale back our electronic resource maintenance procedures.