January 8, 2013

MARC records for ebooks

There has recently been some discussion on nhais-l about MARC records for ebooks. I thought a quick overview of what NHAIS has been doing regarding these might be of interest.

  • Titles that have been purchased by the NH Downloadable Books Consortium and for which an OCLC record exists, are added each week to the NHU-PAC based on the purchase list. These records have notes on them (in the 599 tag) indicating they are part of the NH Downloadable collection and have 856 tags added to them as well to provide NH patrons direct links to the material. If your library is part of the NH downloadables group you will want to keep these 856 tags in the records in your catalog so your patrons can click directly from your catalog to the download page (assuming your local system supports live links).
  • For ebooks acquired by NHAIS libraries other than the NH Downloadables ones, OCLC records are added to NHU-PAC for these titles in the same way records are added for print books, or DVDs, or anything else. If you do not find a NHU-PAC record for the material you have acquired you should submit a "brief record" through NHU-PAC's Holdings Maintenance tab. If a record is available on OCLC for your title it will be added to NHU-PAC the next business day.
  • Materials for which there are not currently OCLC records available are not currently being cataloged by the NHAIS Original Cataloging project. This applies to both NH Downloadables titles and titles requested by individual libraries. Such a project would be considered if it were determined that a gap exists between what NHAIS libraries are requesting records for through Holdings Maintenance and what can be found on OCLC.
  • Titles purchased by individual libraries through the Overdrive Advantage program are added to NHU-PAC and have a special note added to them to differentiate them from the titles available to all NH Downloadables patrons. These records currently come into NHU-PAC from libraries that are part of the NHAIS OCLC Direct Access Program.
It is also worth noting that NHAIS Services strives to comply with the OCLC preference for provider-neutral records for ebooks. Many OCLC cataloging records exist that are specific to one vendor, and thus result in many records for one resource. The goal is to have a single record for a single bibliographic manifestation of an ebook and to use the 5XX tags and the 856 tag to provide information on specific access. We are currently adding to NHU-PAC records that do not meet this ideal only if no provider-neutral record is available. As more provider-neutral records are created by the OCLC cataloging community this will become less of an issue.

"Past monographic cataloging practice required the creation of a new record each time a new publisher, aggregator, or distributor provided access to a particular online resource. Increasingly, the same monographs were becoming available digitally from multiple providers, resulting in many duplicative MARC records for online resources in shared bibliographic utilities and in local catalogs. Catalog users often had difficulty understanding the rationale or the subtle differences between multiple records when searching through a cluster of very similar records. Often the only difference in a long record was the presence of a different publisher/aggregator/digitizer/distributor in the Reproduction note (533 field).
In developing a provider-neutral e-monograph policy, the task group followed similar provider-neutral policies that had been successfully enacted by the Program for Cooperative Cataloging for online serials and online integrating resources. According to this policy, no distinction is made between the cataloging of online reproductions and online resources issued simultaneously in another format. These distinctions had become less and less useful and increasingly difficult to make. All online monographs —reproductions, simultaneously issued manifestations, or born digital resources—are to be cataloged according to the same guidelines." From Provider-Neutral e-monograph MARC Record Guide

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