Magazine article Information Today

Union Lists of Periodicals Database Added to OCLC's FirstSearch, Enhancements Noted

Magazine article Information Today

Union Lists of Periodicals Database Added to OCLC's FirstSearch, Enhancements Noted

Article excerpt

OCLC has announced that, in response for requests from libraries to make information on local serial holdings available via FirstSearch, it has introduced the OCLC Union Lists of Periodicals data-base. This collection of more than 7 million local data records, which are contributed by libraries to WorldCat (the OCLC Online Union Catalog) and linked to some 750,000 serial bibliographic records in that database, provides local serials holdings information.

Previously, library users searching FirstSearch could find a citation and determine that their library owned the title in question. Now, through the copy- and volume-specific information available through OCLC Union Lists, they also can find out if the library -- or a library near-by -- owns the specific volume required from that title, as well as its location and how many copies the library has. Although online full-text information is becoming more common, being able to locate printed material quickly remains an important consideration.

"Making the OCLC Union Lists data-base available is a big first step in our plan to make library collections more accessible," said John Sullivan, director of OCLC Online Reference Services." Local periodical collections are among the original full-image resources, and OCLC Union Lists -- thanks to the work of OCLC member libraries -- are now more readily available than ever before."

The database offers several direct benefits to libraries:

* It enhances a library's collection by making it more accessible to users.

* It boosts collection development efforts and makes reference service more responsive by providing complete bibliographic information, expanded access points, and local holdings information.

* It enhances the value of the local data records themselves and solidifies the library's investment of time and intellectual effort to maintain them.

Because FirstSearch indexes institution names as well as location symbols *the 3- and 4-character symbols), librarians can use the database to find area libraries or favored libraries that hold a particular issue. Through FirstSearch, access to such information does not depend on the library's membership in the contributing Union List group.

After obtaining a citation or list of citations from other serials databases, users can search the OCLC Union Lists data-base for local holdings information by most of the fields searched on First-Search's WorldCat. In addition to the bibliographic fields in the WorldCat record, several other searchable fields are included:

* Contributing library name or symbol

* City and state contributing libraries

* Union List of the contributing library

The title-level search results list for the database includes serial title and records sorted by state, then by institution name, city, and state -- one record for each library that contributed a local data record matching the search criteria. The user must go into the record and read the information to determine if the issue is likely to be held by the library.

The full record on FirstSearch includes the following information:

* Title

* Three-character institution symbol

* Four-character location symbol, name, and information on coverage a that site

* Institution name, city, and state code (or province, territory, etc.)

* Union List or Group Access Capability groups to which the owning library belongs

* Other fields from the OCLC WorldCat record

* ISSN or other control number

* OCLC control number

"This initial offering is just the beginning," said Sullivan. …

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