Tuesday, October 30, 2007

E-journal cataloging redux

I am struggling with how to handle the workload of cataloging our e-journals in a logical way. From what I can tell from my experience and from reading whatever I can find, there are three approaches being used:

1. Put all of them in the catalog. Make your catalog the "go-to" place for all titles. This usually entails loading batches of marc records for the titles included in aggregator databases. These batches are regularly deleted and reloaded to account for changes in coverage. Depending on the system, service, and setup, there could be multiple records for each title (one for every database where the title can be found) or they could be merged so that there is only one record for each e-title, with holdings for each database.

2. Don't catalog them at all. Rely on your A-Z list, link resolver, and/or other tools to provide access to e-journals.

3. Catalog some of them, but not all. This is what we have been doing. The rationale behind it was that we would catalog titles to which we had a real "subscription" but we would not try to include all the titles in aggregator databases.

Up to now, this has sort of worked. I loaded our print titles into our A-Z list (through Serials Solutions), and we promoted this as the most complete place to go for journals. In the catalog, we used the single-record approach, and put electronic holdings on print titles where we had e-access. The display for this is fairly clear. If a title was online-only, then we would enter a record for the electronic version. I had some basic edits I did for a title in multiple formats, including adding a 246 for the title with (Online) after it so that it would show up in a browse list.

However, when we entered into a shared catalog, I began pushing for the use of separate records, because it became obvious that we could not share hybrid records if we didn't have both versions, and because of other concerns. I pushed for this knowing that I would have to change all the ones we had already done. Eventually the shared catalog administrator made the decision to go with separate records. I have not gotten all of mine changed yet.

In the meantime, other things began happening. I fell way behind in activations of "free" online access and even where we paid for print + online, I had trouble matching what Ebso said we were supposed to have with what was really available when I went to the publisher's site. Then this past summer, we entered into some "big deal" arrangements with a consortium where we agree to maintain our current subscriptions, pay an additional modest fee, and get access to all the titles in the whole package. So do I have to catalog all of those titles? We don't really have "subscriptions" to them. Then another journal collection started adding "free" titles along with the ones we actually subscribed to. Do I add them?

Then a reference librarian asked me about a title he couldn't find in the journal list, but that was in our catalog. It turns out he got to it using an alternate title. The A-Z list does not have added entries or cross-references. (Yes, catalog records do add value.)

So now I'm in a quandary. Why should some titles have catalog records and some not? Where is the cutoff line? How can I keep up? What should be our approach?

Besides providing access for users, we use the ILS for our record-keeping: our payments, stats, department codes-- all that management data that we put in there to take advantage of such a robust and powerful (and expensive) database system. If I abandoned this and just used an ERM, I would have to duplicate everything.

I found this article recently: "Single, Separate, or Something in between: Results of a Survey on Representing Electronic Serials in the Catalog" by Abigail C. Bordeaux.
It's available on her blog at http://abigailbordeaux.net/ where she says it is in press at Journal of Internet Cataloging, modified on March 6, 2007. She focused on the single vs. separate records issue, but she did touch upon alternatives to cataloging.

One commonality among a variety of respondents was recognition that, no matter how electronic serials are cataloged, many patrons are not using the catalog in any case. As one serialist wrote, “We are beginning to accept that the OPAC is no longer the center of the universe. Most patrons access ejournals via our A-Z list or Google Scholar.”
This post is less than concise, but I'm getting my thoughts in order to post a question on this to some of the discussion lists I subscribe to. I think I need some advice.

Revamped Blog

Up to this point, I've only used this blog for the Learning 2.0 program, but I think I'm ready to start writing about other things. I've stewed over whether I want to use this only for library-related topics, and find a "niche," which is the advice for "blogging successfully." (I guess a successful blog is one that gets read by a lot of people.) I've decided that I might want to write about non-library subjects, such as topics related to my Humane Society work, or just random thoughts about life. So... I'm just going to do it, and I'll tag my posts. Since most people seem to read blogs via a reader, maybe eventually I will figure out how to produce more than one feed, so that people who want to read my tremendously insightful library posts will be able to screen out the other stuff.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

The end of the program

I created this blog to participate in the Learning 2.0 program at Sewanee, which I organized and carried out, pretty much on my own. I had some help at the beginning. It was not original work; I borrowed freely from a number of other existing programs.

In addition to the original program at PLCMC, some of the ones I used are:
Ohio University Libraries Learning 2.0
EKU Library Learning 2.0
Emerging Technologies Group at McMaster University Library
Lucy's Librarians Learn Library 2.0
Learning Web 2.0 by Diving In at Allegheny College

I launched our program in June, and then at the end of July I got sidetracked with other work and ended up not posting another lesson until late September. A lot of people who had started the program lost interest during that time and I feel bad about that. We ended up having 12 people complete the program out of a 57-person division. That's about 21%.

Vicki and I have been talking about keeping the site up, having a "second round" with incentives that are maybe worth less (like a $10 gift certificate instead of $20) and even inviting some faculty to do the program.

I think in order for it to be a standing program, it needs to be turned around so that it's in the right order, rather than chronologically backwards the way blogs are. I'm not sure how to reformat it. Maybe a website or a wiki or something. Also there are errors that I could correct.

There are some things I wanted to include but didn't have time, such as Library Thing, Google Apps, and Second World. I also left out some good content from some of the other programs that were aimed specifically at libraries, because I wanted to be inclusive. So I'd like to continue this somehow, and focus more on library issues.

As for this blog, I've been thinking about what I want to do with it. I think I'm just going to leave this one sit here, and start another blog. I've been reading a lot of blogs, and there is nothing magic about it, except that you have to have something to say. Sometimes I do. I waver a lot on whether this should just be a library blog, include personal stuff, or even include the humane society stuff. I don't think a single blog could be all of those things and be interesting to any audience, and I don't think I can manage three blogs! So... I'm still thinking about how to do it. And then of course there is the issue of time and actually writing.

So I'm not sure what will be next.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Podcasts Schmodcasts!

I have a confession to make. I don't like podcasts. I did the exercise. (I prepared the exercise!) I looked for podcasts, I tried listening to a few. But I just don't like them. I don't want to sit and listen to an audio. I'd rather read. The only time I turn on the radio is in the car. I do like it in the car, but that's because I'm listening while I'm doing something else. I used to be a fan of NPR, but that was when I had a fairly long commute to work. I hardly even listen to music outside the car. If the music has words, I can't read or do any work because the words distract me. If I find music that I can read or work to, it's because I can tune out the music, which means I'm not really listening to it.

I realize that I am very odd in today's world where music is a constant companion to many people.

As for video, well I do watch TV. But I do get bored with it sometimes. I don't watch the news on TV because I get frustrated when they are on a story that I'm not interested in, or keep giving me tidbits of an interesting story "still to come" just to keep me viewing to the end. Instead, I get my news (with some video) on the internet, where I can pick and choose the items I want at my own speed.

In analyzing this, I guess that means I prefer a non-linear approach and I'm more visual than aural.

So that's why I haven't linked to any podcasts for this exercise.