Cataloguing a small library

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Cataloguing a small library

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1beldinglibrary
Mai 27, 2009, 11:53pm

Hi,
I have been cataloguing just recent acquisitions in our local otherwise non-computerized library but am feeling ambitious and am thinking of trying to catalog the entire library (19,000 books) with LibraryThing. I was intrigued by your tales of flash mobbing, as getting a bunch of people together (with pizza) to work on this project was something I had thought of too.

My questions are: those of you who have flash mobbed a library catalog, what's the procedure? Do you use Library of Congress searches or Amazon? Do you use cuecats or type in titles and authors? Do you use cards from the card catalog, or the actual books? Could you give me a blow by blow? How fast does it go?

What's LibraryThing for Libraries?

Could the information catalogued with LibraryThing be leveraged when and if we finally join our regional library system (CWMARS)?

thanks,
Liz
Belding Library
Ashfield, MA

2skoobdo
Mai 28, 2009, 3:16am

LibraryThing will establish Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC) and Library of Congress classification instantly for each book cataloged ( still in existence ).You must typed the title, author,publisher,IS BN No. , Year of Publication to have a well established
listings. Make a digital tour in a LT website to understand better. ;-) Good day.

3leahbird
Mai 28, 2009, 4:39am

i haven't flash mobbed, but i know abby was offering cuecats for groups that told her about their upcoming flash mob. she'll even advertise it for you.

4Katya0133
Mai 28, 2009, 8:44am

>2 skoobdo: "LibraryThing will establish Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC) and Library of Congress classification instantly for each book cataloged"

That's not quite accurate. If another edition of the same LT work has a DDC or LC classification, that information can transfer over, but LT doesn't create those numbers out of nowhere.

I might as well address the rest of the questions in #1.

"those of you who have flash mobbed a library catalog, what's the procedure?"

Figure out what you want to catalog (whether it's the entire collection or not). Figure out a way do divide it into small chunks that you can assign to individual people. (We usually do individual shelves.) Figure out a way to mark the shelves that are assigned or done. (We've used Post-it notes with a person's name on them.) If you have a call number system in place, decide where you want that information to go. (If you put it at the beginning of the comments field, you can sort by the call numbers, which is pretty cool.) Decide how you're going to handle second copies of books and multivolume sets. Also, it's important that at least one person be comfortable with doing manual entries, because there will inevitably be some books that you can't find through LT libraries.

"Do you use Library of Congress searches or Amazon?"

We did both, although the data from Amazon had a lot more inconsistencies. We also added other potentially useful libraries as we went along. (I did that, based on WorldCat holdings.)

"Do you use cuecats or type in titles and authors?"

Most people used cuecats. I prefer to type. Of course, you can't use a cuecat if it doesn't have an ISBN barcode, anyway.

"Do you use cards from the card catalog, or the actual books?"

The libraries I've worked on didn't have a card catalog already set up. It would probably be faster to work from the cards, if you have them.

"Could you give me a blow by blow?"

Everyone arrives and gets computers set up and then we get informed about any special instructions for prestamps, etc. Then everyone reserves a shelf of books with their post-it notes, takes a pile of books, and goes to work. When you finish your shelf, you move on to another one until they're all done. If you have volunteers who haven't used LT before, it can take some time for them to get up to speed, but that's pretty much it.

"How fast does it go?"

That would depend on the number of volunteers and the size of the library. I'll see if I can get back to you with some concrete numbers.

"What's LibraryThing for Libraries?"

LTFL is an added module with social information for libraries that already have a catalog. (It's not a substitute for a library catalog, in other words.)

"Could the information catalogued with LibraryThing be leveraged when and if we finally join our regional library system (CWMARS)?"

That's a question for the technical gurus, but I'm going to say probably not. Definitely not for the manual entries, because they're not actual MARC records, and even if you could get the rest of the MARC records exported, you wouldn't have proper holdings attached and there would probably be serious de-duplication issues.

5lorax
Mai 28, 2009, 3:48pm

2>

LibraryThing will establish Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC) and Library of Congress classification instantly for each book cataloged ( still in existence ).

Well, no.

It will establish one or the other, depending on the source you add it from. It may also be able to infer the other from other copies of the book in question. But it can only provide what the source you're adding from tells it.

If I were doing flash-mob cataloging I would have a "death before Amazon" policy. There are lots of other sources to use before you have to resort to that level of crappy data.

6skoobdo
Bearbeitet: Mai 29, 2009, 2:28am

You can obtain DDC and Library of Congress classification numbers (if available) provided you request by amending the header titles by clicking "edit view style" icon by changing the "header" format. I had just tried this manner.I
confirmed it is possible as LT user, and not a qualified librarian. I merely provide the title and author of book manually, and "presto", DDC and LC classification numbers appeared (provided the classification numbers are available).

7beldinglibrary
Mai 29, 2009, 9:19am

Thanks, that's all very helpful. I'm going to do some tests on Saturday to see how it might go and what problems come up.

Can you give me some suggestions for dealing with multiple copies and multivolume sets? Also when I search on LT, do I have to link to the same editon. Probably, right?

Thanks again,
Liz

8Katya0133
Mai 29, 2009, 9:40am

>Can you give me some suggestions for dealing with multiple copies and multivolume sets?

One solution is to add "copy 2" at the end of the comments field.

As far as multivolume sets go, it depends on if you're going to try and use LT as a circulation system. (Libraries that do this basically use tags or the comment field to note which books are in or out.) If you are going to use LT for circulation, then you probably need a separate record for each volume, so that you can note if one volume is checked out and the other one isn't.

At the Audubon Society of Rhode Island Library, we added the same record multiple times for each volume, and put a note in the comments field for the volume number. (The problem with this system is that LT will say you have multiple copies of the entire work, instead of one of each volume, but ASRI was willing to live with that.)

As far as matching editions goes, it's up to you. I'd recommend it, though, because your information will be more accurate (and because some types of special editions aren't combinable with other editions).

9beldinglibrary
Mai 30, 2009, 9:54am

OK, so I'm here at the library doing a test to see how long it takes and what problems come up.

In the past, I've always used Amazon as a source, but since this library may get linked up to CWMARS in the future, I thought I'd use CWMARS West as a source.

But the searches don't work nearly as well. When searching in Amazon, I can put one word of the title with the author's last name and almost invariable get results. With CWMARS West, I can put the entire title of the book and the name of the author and I get nothing, even though the book insists in the database.

Is this because the CWMARS database is set up differently? Perhaps the information isn't in the same fields that LibraryThing is accessing?

thanks,
Liz

10Katya0133
Mai 30, 2009, 2:03pm

Are you putting commas between the author and title fields? Amazon is a lot more forgiving about keyword searches than other library catalogs are. Also, it just depends on how each library has their own Z39.50 connection set up. LT searches for everything that's in there, I think, but some libraries may choose to index some fields and not others. (However, I'd assume every library would index author and title!)

One trick is that the title and subtitle may be in different fields, so if you shorten the title, you might get more hits. (You could also put a comma between the title and subtitle, but where the subtitle begins, exactly, is often a matter of judgment, so that's not a surefire solution.)

11beldinglibrary
Mai 30, 2009, 11:30pm

Oh, the comma is helping a lot, thanks! What does it do, exactly? Just signal a different field? Does it matter which order I put the search terms (e.g., title, author; author, title; author, title, subtitle? Are there any other search tips?

thanks,
Liz

12MarthaJeanne
Mai 31, 2009, 3:44am

I've had better experience with title, author. Of course if you have an ISBN, use that.

13Nicole_VanK
Mai 31, 2009, 3:48am

Same as MarthaJeanne And only use subtitles as a last resort in case of confusion between different books. (Some external catalogues will start giving you all sorts of suggestions based on subtitle).

14hailelib
Mai 31, 2009, 7:25am

Sometimes adding publisher for an oft reprinted title will help narrow down the results.

15Katya0133
Mai 31, 2009, 9:02am

>Oh, the comma is helping a lot, thanks! What does it do, exactly? Just signal a different field?

Yep!

>Does it matter which order I put the search terms (e.g., title, author; author, title; author, title, subtitle?

It shouldn't.

>Are there any other search tips?

I can't think of any others offhand. You get a feel for how different libraries and projects work after a while. (I've done a lot of work entering Legacy Libraries, and they each have their own quirks.)

Let me know if you have any more questions!

16Katya0133
Jun. 1, 2009, 7:44pm

I thought of one more search tip: Take off "a," "an," and "the" at the beginning of titles. (It might not matter for all catalogs, but some won't find the title if you include the article.)

17crossroadsinfoshop
Bearbeitet: Jun. 28, 2009, 4:03pm

thank you for all the information katya! i was thinking about cataloging this small library where i volunteer at all by myself, but now i think i will do a flash mob. any suggestions on how to find people to help that are already versed with library thing?

if your reading this, i am in kansas city mo and looking for flash mob catalogers to help get the crossroads infoshop radical library up and running!

18Katya0133
Jun. 28, 2009, 7:42pm

Try the Flash Mob Cataloging group.

19hailelib
Jun. 28, 2009, 9:48pm

> 17

Start a thread saying what you are trying to accomplish and see if there is a response.

Also, as soon as you have a date talk to Abby about announcing it on the LT blog if you want more help.

Tricia

20crossroadsinfoshop
Jun. 28, 2009, 9:52pm

thanks! i'm rather ambitious and have already set a date, two weeks from now. i'll get in touch with abby. thank you for the tip tricia!