CRS Holdings Information Forum: Knowledge Base Strategies: 2016 Midwinter Meeting

The CRS Holdings Information Forum: Knowledge Base Strategies was held on Saturday, January 9, and featured two presentations on the challenge of maintaining accurate holdings in a library’s knowledge base.

Regina Reynolds, U.S. ISSN Center at the Library of Congress, and Steve Shadle, University of Washington, presented on the National Information Standards Organization (NISO) recommended practice for providing publication information for online journals called Presentation & Identification of E-Journals (PIE-J). Key recommendations of PIE-J include presenting all content under its original title, including title histories, providing accurate and complete ISSN information, including numbering that uses the same scheme across formats, and providing any other identifying information. The practice of publishers providing inaccurate title history and ISSN information to knowledge base providers causes inaccurate search results and retrieval issues. To deal with this issue, the presenters recommend going to the journal site (rather than your discovery tool) and drilling down to the article to gain access. To address the underlying problem, they recommend adding an entry in your knowledge base for missing title iterations and contacting your knowledge base provider and the publisher to notify them of the problem.

Shannon Regan, New York Public Library, discussed the dilemma of the quick fix versus the time-consuming precise or comprehensive fix in verifying holdings information. New York Public Library has one of the largest circulating public branch library collections in the United States, and is also a major research library with an extensive electronic resources collection. When a problem with accessing an online resource is reported, they ask three questions that help decide the best course of action to resolve it:

  • What is the root of the issue?
  • How does it affect the user experience?
  • Who is best suited to manage the issue?

The answers to these questions help determine whether more staff training is needed, if there is an issue that should be reported to a vendor or publisher, or if the knowledge base should be updated.

Following the presentations, several questions were raised. With regard to why publishers ignore title history, it was postulated that they may not know the history because titles are frequently bought and sold, that they may not have known it was valuable information to maintain, and that now, even if they do recognize its value, it would be a lot of work to update their journal pages and records. The issue of where publishers could go to easily get that information prompted the suggestion that the North American Serials Interest Group (NASIG) could be instrumental in creating a resource that would make this information readily available in the future. The question of whether PIE-J standards should be applied to discovery services resulted in an emphatic “yes” from the presenters, but they noted that while they should follow the guidelines, many do not.

Reported by Rebecca Nous, University at Albany, State University of New York