So many records: so little time…., Justine Bennett

Presented at the CONUL Conference, July 2015, Athlone, Ireland by
Justine Bennett, University of Limerick

Take a few hundred thousand catalogue records. Let lots of different cataloguers edit them over the course of four decades. Pull your copy cataloguing from your LMS database for many years. Watch as cataloguing practices change. Now acquire external eBook collections and implement a federated search system.
This is a scenario that almost all academic libraries will be able to relate to and was the experience of UL Library when it became impossible to upload records to OCLC for collection analysis because of record errors and inaccuracies. The action taken was to enlist the services of Backstage Library Works to outsource the clean-up of the library catalogue. It was then possible for this service provider to concurrently create a reliable authority file and make our records RDA compliant.
This presentation will discuss the UL experience which involved scoping an agreement with Backstage Library Works, implementing the process, identifying the problems and devising solutions to overcome them. Specifically some of the themes covered are the benefits of such an implementation; those that have accrued to date and those that that can be expected to arise in the future. Also discussed are some of the problems encountered that could be specific to Irish universities and some that may be specific to the Library Management System.
In essence this talk seeks to highlight that libraries are not on their own with regard to cleaning up their bibliographic record collection. There are companies out there that specialise in this service and our experience in University of Limerick has provided tangible long term benefits. However as with all projects it is important to be aware that any generic clean-up must be conducted together with localised knowledge.