Week 1: May 23, 24, 25: Provisionals and Questions

Though basic cataloging has been a typical undergrad pastime as work study or interning, I am very much in need of some working knowledge of library behind-the-scenes work other than my small library church. My intern supervisor speaks of projects in copy and original cataloging, as well as acquisitions and e-resources for my summer stint. This first week I am putting action to the terms learned in classes.

ILS: I’ve used Concourse software and never thought of it in terms of an ILS – looks like I have previous experience with ILS! This week I was introduced to Aleph. It would be really beneficial if we could log into the UA ILS and have a little taste of things in the LS500 class.

OCLC: I’ve used their front end (WorldCat), and now I’m using the backend, Connexion. So so so handy to be able to export bib records to the ILS. When I was using Concourse, I would look up the work in WorldCat and copy-paste-copy-paste. I imagine there’s a fee for access to Connexion; I’ll have to look into this.

Bib record: Boom, I used it in the previous paragraph. Correctly.

MaRC tags: I had assignments on these previously so I’m grateful that this was very familiar. I’m quickly able to spot the author, title, publisher/copyright, page # tags as I must match all these in the full bib record to confirm it is indeed the book in hand before creating a holding record. I also have to match these tags in Connexion and update it to UF having that item (and exporting the record if Aleph doesn’t have as full a record – a “provisional”).

New versus Add: This is more of me having to really look to make sure that the book in hand doesn’t have a twin already in Aleph at UF.

My first day I had a list of questions. I felt pretty good about things as my supervisor said the regular interns (non-MLIS students) haven’t asked these questions before – though I mainly felt it showed my lack of experience in the process. But if you don’t ask, you may not find out, so I vote to ask.

  • Aren’t MaRC records purchased? If yes, why do we export the records from OCLC? If no, wouldn’t it be cheaper to get the records rather than pay a person to do record exportations?
    • Yes, they purchase records from some of the publishers, but not all due to costs. Some records are “shelf ready” but some are not so all must be checked.
  • Who inputs the provisional records? Why wouldn’t they just go ahead and put in the full record if they’re going to put in a provisional?
    • Acquisitions inputs the provisionals. They aren’t tasked double-checking the items and making corrections like catalogers.

That pretty much answered the rest of the questions I was trying to think of.

One would think this would be fairly monotonous, but there are lots of corrections to catch in Aleph. Which is great for the type of person who likes to edit documents to look for errors – me. So first week is entering items that follow the template, but to set aside items that don’t. So far the most common errors:

  • Duplication: acquisitions putting in a provisional when there was already a full bib record in Aleph. (Aleph has a shared database with other colleges so if another college already has a full bib record entered, we’re to use that one to create a holding record at UF.)
  • Volumes that have bib records as individual books.
  • Using a hardback record for a paperback that may have a different copyright date – that’s actually a slideable offense but that is going to drive me crazy if I see many of those.

I’d like to say that MacroExpress is awesome; lots less clicking to create a holding record.


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