Ten reasons for a single-record approach

I would very much like to have a single catalog record for each journal, rather than a separate one for print and electronic access. Here are ten reasons why:

1. It would better serve our patrons to go back to maintaining our own serials records rather than having EBSCO control (and sometimes refuse) the changes.

2. By linking from the catalog to the A-to-Z list, we would avoid the trouble of maintaining links and coverage dates in the catalog record.

(According to EBSCO, they “would likely strip down the 856 to the bare minimum and exclude coverage and embargo information – that would be discovered on the A-to-Z list.” That would be a single 856 field directing patrons to online access.)

3. Coverage dates (managed or custom) sometimes do not appear in the MARC record even though they appear in the A-to-Z. We could direct people to this information by having a single 856 field to all online access.

4. Every patron would see the notes and instructions in the A-to-Z list. Notes aren’t included in the MARC records, so people using the catalog might miss important information.

5. It cleans up the catalog. Less records. Clear results. Straightforward for patrons.

6. If we eliminate duplicate information, we will reduce (or eliminate) patrons’ confusion about coverage and access.

7. If we eliminate duplicate information, we will reduce amount of work for serials staff to answer troubleshooting questions related to missing or incorrect coverage dates and MARC records that have not been updated.

What if we didn’t get MARC updates from EBSCO?

8. If we maintain our own records, we can fix problems ourselves that take EBSCO a long time to address (e.g. the diacritic problems and extra characters in 245 fields).

9. If we maintain our own records, we can fix problems that EBSCO is unwilling to address (e.g. adjusting CONSER information, duplicate bib records, and unadjustable subject headings).

10. We wouldn’t have to confirm our changes in the monthly MARC updates. The A-to-Z list is updated immediately, but the MARC files are updated only monthly. Also, depending on when a correction is made, library staff may need check two consecutive MARC updates to ensure that outdated information doesn’t overlay corrected records.


3 Responses to “Ten reasons for a single-record approach”

  1. wsalesky Says:

    I think you are on to something Toni!

  2. Wayne Says:

    I think there are two problems you are describing here: one is that there are disadvantages of having separate records in the catalogue; the other is that a certain vendor seems unwilling or unable to accommodate your requests. As is well known, the main reason that libraries do the separate-record option is because they are not doing their own ejournal cataloguing *and* they are getting those records from a vendor — and it’s easier for that vendor to match, etc., on a separate record.

    I wonder if some of the user-related and catalogue-cleanliness problems will/would be solved by FRBR?

  3. Toni Says:


    I feel an argument can be made that regaining control over our records, although added work for catalogers, is better for our patrons so that we can conduct the kind of bibliographic enhancements we make to monographic records.

    EBSCO is definitely willing to consider certain requests, but these “enhancements” may be a long way off. Sometimes their hands are tied and they can’t make changes, and CONSER won’t make the change, but we could enhance the record. (The example I’m thinking of is a title that didn’t have a 246 using an ampersand instead of “and,” which I’ve seen many other times in records.)

    Thank you for posting a comment.

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