A few months ago I wrote about an ongoing conversation with EBSCO in which I was trying to find out why we sometimes receive two MARC records for the same title. These records do not have the same EBZ number (035 field) and have different content. In the A-to-Z list, there’s only one record; in the catalog, these links are divided between the two records.
If patrons are looking through the catalog, they see two records. Hopefully they think to try them both. But why two?
At that time, the EBSCO rep told me that there were “two different resource IDs for that title”. It wasn’t until today that I really understood what that means. I came across another title, South Atlantic Quarterly, that has two MARC records and one A-to-Z record. I received the same explanation, that there are two resource IDs:
On two sources (E-Journals from EBSCO and OhioLINK Electronic Journals Center: EJC) this title is listed twice on their title lists, intentionally. The two separate URL links on each source go to different URL’s with different coverage dates (but still for the exact same title). This is how the vendor presents the content so this is how we list it.
According to the vendor? EBSCO doesn’t get to adjust or override this? Yet another reason I think we should consider a single-record approach to e-journals. Why require patrons to look at multiple records? In these cases, they would have to look at as many as three catalog records (one print, two electronic) before understanding the library’s holdings.
Should we still get EBSCO’s MARC records? We would probably still receive two South Atlantic Quarterly records. The print holdings would be attached… to one of the records. The bib record’s 856 field would contain a link to the A-to-Z list, not individual resources. The advantage is that EBSCO maintains the MARC records, so we wouldn’t be correcting things and making title changes. The disadvantage is that some changes we want to make to the record (like fixing subject headings) might not be possible. When we handed over responsibility, we handed over our control.
So should we return to maintaining our own bib records? Maybe, because if the records have a generic link to the A-to-Z list (not resource-specific) there’s really no need to have two records for some titles.
This starts to tie into conversations about the layout and display of our OPAC, which is being addressed by the Discovery & Delivery Council. The way to resolve some of these problems may be by improving the OPAC for our patrons.