HSLS Participates in National Cataloging Projects

In today’s online environment, libraries regularly share catalog records for their resources as a way to improve efficiency. HSLS has long been committed to creating high quality data for its resources, contributing this data to collective catalogs, and participating in cooperative initiatives. This fall, HSLS continues that tradition by participating in two new national endeavors.

CONSER, a cooperative serials cataloging organization, is undertaking a one-year project to create high-quality records for open access journals. Libraries often focus their cataloging efforts on subscription items, but freely-accessible journals have become increasingly significant for researchers and are often underrepresented in library catalogs and research tools. HSLS is one of 25 libraries, including the Library of Congress, participating in the project and contributes catalog records for open access journals in the health sciences. These records can then be used by other libraries in their online catalogs and behind the scenes in electronic resource management and access systems, integrating open access journals with the subscription-based journals already available from libraries.

HSLS is also participating in the national evaluation of a newly developed cataloging standard. Published in June 2010, Resource Description and Access (RDA) is a major revision to cataloging practice, incorporating new organizational theory and addressing the many new kinds of information tools and formats which were not around when the current standards (Anglo-American Cataloging Rules, 2nd ed., 1978) were written. The national libraries of the United States (Library of Congress, National Library of Medicine, and the National Agricultural Library) are currently undertaking a major test of these new guidelines to determine the impact on library workflows and online catalog retrieval. HSLS is among 14 institutions forming a secondary testing group, which will create sample records according to RDA guidelines, contribute them to a test database, and complete surveys about the process. The results of the different testing processes will be a key factor in American libraries’ decisions on whether or not to implement the new standard.

~Liping Song and Gretchen Maxeiner