An Analysis of Cataloging Copy: Library of Congress vs. Selected RLIN Members

By McCue, Janet; Weiss, Paul J. et al. | Library Resources & Technical Services, January 1991 | Go to article overview

An Analysis of Cataloging Copy: Library of Congress vs. Selected RLIN Members


McCue, Janet, Weiss, Paul J., Wilson, Marijo, Library Resources & Technical Services


An Analysis of Cataloging Copy: Library of Congress vs. Selected RLIN Members

In January 1987 the Cataloging Unit of the Albert R. Mann Library, Cornell University, had a backlog of more than 5,000 monographs. The acquisitions rate in Mann Library had increased 75 percent in the previous two years and the cataloging backlog, reflecting this increase, had doubled. In order to stem the growth of the backlog and perhaps even reduce it, the cataloging staff of the library felt that our methods for handling cataloging copy should be analyzed. Traditionally, current Library of Congress copy had been handled by support staff and original catalogers handled member-contributed copy and original cataloging. The most significant growth in the backlog had been in the original/member backlog.

The newly appointed head of Technical Services and two of the original catalogers decided to examine the quality of member-contributed copy and the feasibility of giving Research Libraries Information Network (RLIN) member copy to catalogers who work with Library of Congress (LC) copy. At the same time, we would institute, for certain categories of books with LC copy, a pilot procedure of cataloging on receipt in the Acquisitions Unit.

For many years, Mann Library, like many other libraries, had maintained a list of preferred member libraries. This list had not been drawn up by any rigorous study, such as that used by Wing. [1] Instead it had been compiled informally, based on the cataloging staff's day-to-day experience evaluating cataloging copy. All the libraries on this list were large academic research institutions with subject strengths similar to Mann Library's. Their cataloging was judged to correspond to ours in adherence to nationally accepted standards, level of description, accuracy of classification, and completeness and specificity of subject analysis. We decided to use our list and test whether the "best" member copy came close to meeting the standards of LC copy. If it were different, we would see how it varied and how we could adjust our training to accommodate it. From the beginning we knew that any such test of cataloging copy could only be made with the cooperation and commitment of the cataloging staff. Although it was somewhat difficult to engage in research while the backlog grew, the cataloging staff was eager to devise a new pattern for technical processing and willingly participated in the study.

LITERATURE SURVEY

A search of the published literature yielded several studies conducted with the aim of evaluating the quality of member copy cataloging. In 1978, Ryans published a study that analyzed the types of errors found in records contributed to OCLC and the fields most frequently affected. [2] While Ryans looked primarily at the major variable fields (main entry, title, edition, imprint, collation, series, subject headings, and added entries), in a 1981 study of Online Computer Library Center (OCLC) copy Hudson [3] also examined revisions in the fixed fields and tagging. In the first study 60% of 700 records were considered acceptable with no changes. The second study involved 1,017 records, of which approximately 60% required some revision. The quality of Research Libraries Information Network (RLIN) member copy was examined by Wing [4] primarily for the purpose of establishing a "preferred order list" of libraries with acceptable cataloging to be used by copy catalogers. Indeed, many libraries use such "white lists" but little has been published about how these lists are determined. [5] The accuracy of Library of Congress cataloging copy, including CIP-based copy, was examined by Taylor and Simpson in 1983. [6] They found very few errors per record on the whole (47% were error free; only 27% had two or more errors or discrepancies), concluding that LC copy is relatively high in quality regardless of origin.

METHODOLOGY

We were fortunate at Mann Library to be able to draw upon the resources of the Biometrics Unit in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

An Analysis of Cataloging Copy: Library of Congress vs. Selected RLIN Members
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.