Updating bibliographic records in Libraries Australia & WorldCat

Earlier in the year the NSW Libraries Australia Cataloguing Special Interest Group (NSW CATSIG) asked the following questions:

  • What will LA do to ensure that bibliographic upgrades made on LA are sent to OCLC?
  • When does LA send new records to OCLC? i.e. if saving a record “in progress” using the Cataloguing Client, will the record be sent to OCLC before it is completed?

The group also specifically asked how URLs are updated in Libraries Australia records that have been added to WorldCat.  Libraries Australia responded to these questions at a NSW CATSIG meeting and at the LA Annual Forum.  For those who weren’t at either of these meetings the responses are:

The version of the CBS Cataloguing software that Libraries Australia is currently using does not support bibliographic record replace transactions, i.e. it does not support the transmission of bibliographic record updates to WorldCat. It only supports the transmission of new bibliographic records, and holdings additions, modifications, or deletions.

The next version of CBS (version 6.0) will support transmission of bibliographic record updates to WorldCat. Libraries Australia plans to implement this version early in 2012.

Libraries Australia sought advice from OCLC regarding the WorldCat record updating policy. They advised that the policy is to apply record updates to WorldCat only if the update is supplied by the library that originally contributed the record. This includes the replacement of URLs.

Libraries Australia sought further clarification regarding the implications of this policy, especially for updating of URLs by libraries other than the one that contributed the record. OCLC advised that they can switch on “856 merging” which will add an 856 if it is different from the 856 already in the record but it doesn’t allow the existing 856 to be deleted.  Libraries Australia will ask OCLC to do this.  OCLC also advised that they have trialled URL link checking but do not have plans to implement link checking in WorldCat so at the moment broken URLs can only be removed by the library that originally contributed the record.

Libraries Australia encourages libraries that are creating digital resources to use persistent URLs as it is very inefficient, if not impossible, to promulgate changes to URLs through all of the various library systems and databases.

Like most library systems new records are added to the Libraries Australia database (and therefore transmitted to WorldCat) when they are “saved” in the Cataloguing Client, or added through Record Import Service (RIS). There is no “in progress” status in LA. Adding this phrase in a holdings statement does not have any effect in the system – holdings (850$c) are free text.  Implementation of the next version of the CBS software will allow upgrades to partial records to be sent to WorldCat.

Libraries Australia supports updating of bibliographic records through the Cataloguing Client. The standard Record Import Service (RIS) supports record updating only in very specific circumstances.  If an incoming record contains fields that aren’t already in the database record these fields will be added but other record changes won’t be applied to the database.  There is also the RIS Update service which allows the incoming record to overlay the existing database record. This service is obviously very powerful (and carries some risk for NBD quality) so is only available to libraries that consistently create high quality records. Libraries using RIS Update need to provide updated records in a separate file to those used for new records or holdings changes. The service can be used for specific projects or ongoing contributions of updated records. Libraries that are interested in using RIS Update should contact the Help Desk.

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