Improving the Flow of Materials in a Cataloging Department: Using ADDIE for a Project in the Ohio State University Libraries

Article excerpt

The Cataloging Department at the Ohio State University Library continuously reviews workflow to see which areas need improvement. In 2004, the Cataloging Department began receiving complaints about the time it took to locate unprocessed materials within Technical Services. Locating these materials was difficult and time consuming, causing problems for both patrons and staff The author reports on a project that examined the workflow of unprocessed materials in the Cataloging Department at Ohio State. Using the instructional design ADDLE model, a new workflow was designed and implemented to ensure that items could be located, processed, and delivered to patrons in a timely manner The paper concludes with suggestions applicable to other libraries.

Introduction

Maintaining a flexible and effective workflow for cataloging new materials and handling problem materials that come back for recataloging or record maintenance is an ongoing challenge, especially at a large university. One of the most difficult challenges is ensuring patron access to the books being processed in a cataloging unit. The catalyst for this investigation was an increasing number of comments from patrons and staff about the time required to locate unprocessed items in the Technical Services unit. Because both order and in-process records are available to patrons and staff via the online catalog, items can be requested as soon as they are received by the Acquisitions Department. If an unprocessed item was requested from Technical Services, it could take hours, if not days, to locate the item. Because this wasted the time and effort of both patrons and staff, the Cataloging Department decided to investigate the workflow of unprocessed materials to identify problem areas and to propose solutions to allow Technical Services staff to locate, process, and deliver items to patrons in a timely manner. This paper reports the findings and results of that initiative.

Background

Cataloging for the Ohio State University Libraries (OSUL) is done in many departments, including the Monographs Department (MOD), Scholarly Resources and Integration (SRI), Cataloging (CAT), Serials and Electronic Resources (S/ER), and Special Collections Cataloging. MOD completes simple copy cataloging and most PromptCat record processing. All copy cataloging or PromptCat materials in a foreign language are forwarded to CAT, as is any cataloging copy that lacks a call number or subject headings, needs series work, or has uniform title problems. If MOD cannot complete receipts within two weeks from receipt, overflow is sent to CAT. Foreign-language materials from SRI are forwarded to CAT. CAT is also responsible for original cataloging for books in all languages, copy cataloging of books in foreign languages, much of the cataloging for regional campuses, and audio-visual cataloging. Items also come to the department from individuals: collection managers, preservation specialists, donors, public service professionals, and circulation personnel. Because thousands of items come through this department from many different directions, effective organization and workflow are imperative.

This project had two main objectives: identify how to make unprocessed materials in CAT easily accessible for patrons, and facilitate control of unprocessed materials within one location.

Because of the department-wide implications for the project, a careful plan was needed. Changing small parts of the workflow here and there to test theories would mean constant changes 'for the department. A plan that factored time for design and testing was needed to minimize unnecessary interruptions in daily workflow. The experiences of the author, including time spent as an instructional designer and years as a college instructor, factored into the decision to use the ADDIE model. ADDLE stands for analysis, design, development, implementation, and evaluation, and is the process traditionally used in instructional design. …