Monday, November 23, 2009

Searching for records

The first purpose of searching in OCLC when cataloging is to find a record that is an exact match for the library item in hand. After finding such a match, the next step is to make sure the book (or other item) is not a duplicate of an item already in the library. In our library system, a duplicate is acceptable if either it was ordered as an additional copy or if it is for a different library branch. Before exporting the book record from OCLC into our library database, I adjust the call number if necessary (more on that in a later entry) so it fits properly within the local library catalog; and add any additional local notes, such as purchase order number.

Here at UC Berkeley technical services, we are supposed to search for the record first within our library database, and then search for it in OCLC. This is necessary primarily because there might be an order record for it within our library system which needs to be inserted into the local note area of the OCLC record before exporting it; also to see if we in fact have that book, or an earlier edition.

The first search is normally done by title, and that is because there may be earlier editions of the same title. Searches can also be done by author, title, subject heading, ISBN number, publisher, or any other access point. If the title is very common I might choose one of these alternative methods, or restrict the title search by adding another access point. I will discuss this more later too.

In determining if the book is an exact match, the main details I would check would be pagination and height, title, author, publisher, and date of publication

If there is no exact match, then I would derive from a similar record, either an earlier edition or a book by the same author or with the same subject heading. Since most books I catalog are from foreign countries, I would also try to derive from a book record that is from the same country, to cut down on the amount of data I would have to enter. Sometimes, especially with the Spanish-language books, I will find information through Google searches on the web, even if there is no record for the book in OCLC. In a later entry I will discuss various ways to create a new record or to upgrade an already existing low-level record.

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