It’s no secret that library budgets have been slashed in recent years, and the burdens of trying to do more with less are growing for librarians and information professionals.
But what is it that adds most stress to the lives of cataloguers and librarians? Quite possibly it is unhappy users; users that cannot find resources within library catalogues and consequently cannot use these resources within publishers’ platforms.
Cambridge University Press is listening to these concerns and has embarked on a huge project to improve the discoverability of resources and ensure that the MARC (MAchine-readable cataloging) records across all eBooks are impeccable. A MARC record is the bibliographic record a library needs for their online catalogues – the online description of a resource, coded according a specific format. Once a MARC record is uploaded in a library catalogue users are able to find it and have access to the resource described within.
Over the last year, Cambridge University Press has been through almost all its collections – over 24,000 titles – and updated or enhanced the metadata according to the requirements of librarians and researchers. The Press has added in subject headings where there were none, authorised forms of authors’/editors’ names and series titles and removed punctuation marks that affected search capabilities.
Publishers don’t want users to be unhappy because this makes unhappy librarians; librarians that cannot offer the best services to their users, because of miscommunication between them and publishers.
While many publishers use electronically generated algorithms to produce their MARC records, or ship out metadata to a third party supplier, the Press’s records have also all been updated manually, in-house, by experienced cataloguer Concetta La Spada.
Concetta, Library Data Analyst at Cambridge University Press said: “As a cataloguer myself, I know how frustrating it is to be provided with incomplete metadata and inadequate MARC records. I hope this project will help to make the lives of librarians and cataloguers easier, so they can get on with the work they need to be doing.”
Siobhan Wood, Metadata Manager, University of Reading Library said: “We think it is wonderful that Cambridge University Press is now employing an experienced cataloguer, thus enabling it to significantly improve the quality of its e-book MARC records. We look forward to adding these to our catalogue once they are all available to CUP customers.”
Over the next year, there will be further investment in this project to bring the best resources directly to librarians, and to improve discoverability of Cambridge published materials, which should make for many happy users and happy librarians.