Volume 14 Number 3
At the April 2012 SUNY Council of Library Directors Spring Meeting, the Comprehensive Colleges, Colleges of Technology, and Community Colleges requested that OLIS move forward with the development of a shared catalog that would contain one record for each bibliographic entity.
The concept of a library system is evolving into a set of software tools that support two major elements:
Additionally, around SUNY, there has been a significant increase in campus licensing of electronic books. Vendors supply MARC records to enable access through local catalogs. The current SUNY environment, where each campus has its own unique bibliographic database, results in the need to load and maintain tens of thousands of these records across multiple catalogs.
The consolidation of bibliographic databases and the introduction of the one bibliographic record per title would streamline maintenance and support of MARC records for these digital items. In addition, this change would make a SUNYConnect-wide discovery system a much more feasible option. And, as Chancellor Zimpher develops the concept of "systemness" as well as efforts to shift cost savings to instruction, a shared catalog would:
a. Create a union catalog view that is more accurate - as it represents the actual holdings of the campuses - this has significant implications for resource sharing and collection development across all formats;
b. Provide a more streamlined environment for shared cataloging operations among campuses;
c. Streamline cataloging workflows - minimize going to a bibliographic utility for acquisition and/or cataloging records for general copy cataloging;
d. Vendor batch loads - MARC records for e-resource subscriptions, ebooks and online Patron Driven Acquisition programs (PDA) would be loaded and updated centrally;
e. Possible cost savings by not having to download as many records from bibliographic utility;
f. Opportunity to investigate cost sharing of access to bibliographic utilities.
What Would be Required at the Campus Level for a Shared Catalog?
The SUNY library community would need to work with OLIS to develop work procedures and policies for shared cataloging and authority databases. These decisions need to be manageable to support all campuses in the shared environment. Discussion would need to address the following:
Currently, ITEC and OLIS are focusing on activities associated with a hardware upgrade for the 56 campuses in the shared server environment. Given the complexity of moving to a shared bib file, it is not possible to try and do both (move to new hardware and reconfigure Aleph) at the same time. The hardware upgrade is anticipated to be done by the end of this year. We have a test environment up and running and we should have a good idea in another month or so as to when the actual upgrades will take place.
Regardless, 1. Cataloging workflow review - the OLIS will present to the SCLD governance a proposal to create a Shared Cataloging and Authorities Task Force to develop guidelines and standards associated with cataloging and authorities workflow within a shared catalog.
Topics would include what workflow changes would need to be made, what activities would be done centrally, determining a master record, local edits, maintenance, etc. The idea is to have the recommendations of this group be distributed out to SUNYLA and SCLD for input and review.
It is too early to say how long this process will take and when all campuses in the shared environment will have their catalogs combined. The OLIS will be providing updates as these activities move forward.