Managing Vendor Records for Monographic E-Collections at a Medium-Sized Academic Library

Managing Vendor Records for Monographic E-Collections at a Medium-Sized Academic Library

Aiping Chen-Gaffey (Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4466-3.ch002
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The rapid growth of electronic resources continues to challenge traditional methods of cataloging library collections, forcing a cataloging department to reevaluate its policies and procedures and implement changes. This chapter presents a case study of integrating vendor-supplied bibliographic records into a library catalog in order to provide timely and accurate catalog access to the library digital collections. The chapter discusses the benefits, issues, and challenges of batch manipulating and loading large record sets for these e-resources supplied by their vendors. It also describes the strategies and tools the bibliographic services staff has employed to solve the identified problems and improve the process. Further, it examines the effectiveness of the current e-record management policies and procedures. The chapter concludes with recommendation of solutions and a quest for future best practices in managing vendor-supplied records for e-resources.
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Setting The Stage

Like many other academic libraries in the nation, the library has been evolving from primarily the domain of the book to providing pathways to high-quality information in a variety of media and information sources. In order to make itself an integral part of the academic learning and research process, the library continues to adjust to a changing education and information environment by assessing new information needs and behaviors of the campus community and customizing the library resources and services. While continuing to conduct collection assessment and cost analysis, the librarians made a strategic decision to support distance learning by transitioning most of the library collections from print to online. In 2000, the library purchased about 5,000 electronic books from NetLibrary. In 2002 and 2003, the library purchased 6,000 more electronic books from the same vendor. These NetLibrary e-books became the library’s first major electronic collection. The vendor provided Machine-Readable Cataloging (MARC) records free of charge. At the same time, the library started acquiring electronic versions of some of its print journals. By 2003, the library’s electronic journal collection approached 400 titles. In that year, the library contracted to a major electronic resources management vendor to provide MARC records for all library electronic journals. Meanwhile, the library continued to acquire monographic resources in electronic format. The annual growth rate of electronic resources has surpassed print since 2003 (see Figure 1). Over the following decade, the library’s electronic collections have grown from 11,000 to 238,000 titles. These include: 183,000 electronic books, 34,000 electronic journals, 11,000 streaming music albums, and 10,000 streaming videos. For over 99% of the digital collections the library has acquired, the vendors provided MARC records.

Figure 1.

Library collection growth: print vs. electronic (© 2012, Aiping Chen-Gaffey. Used with permission.)


For the library bibliographic services staff, there was no question or choice whether to use the vendor-supplied records for the bulk-acquired electronic resources. The advantages were obvious: First, using vendor records would allow the library to provide immediate online catalog access to the newly acquired digital collections. Second, it would significantly save cataloging time and labor. In reality, to catalog hundreds and thousands of e-resources in-house would be a monumental, if not impossible task.

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