Abstracts Vol. 46, No. 2

Characteristics of Resources Represented in the OCLC CORC Database

Tschera Harkness Connell and Chandra Prabha

More and more libraries are providing access to Web resources through OCLC’s Cooperative Online Resource Catalog (CORC) and, by extension, OCLC’s WorldCat database. The ability to use a database to its maximum potential depends upon understanding what a database contains and the guidelines for its construction. This study examines the characteristics of Web resources in CORC in terms of their subject matter, the source of the content, publication patterns, and the units of information chosen for representation in the database.

The majority of the 414 resources in the sample belonged to the social sciences. Academic libraries and government agencies contributed more than 90% of the records for resources in the sample. Using the Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules, 2d edition (AACR2) definitions for publication patterns that are part of the upcoming 2002 amendments reveals that nearly half of the sample fell into the category of integrating resources. Identifying units of representation of the resources described was more difficult. Existing definitions for Web units in development are not adequate to describe all of the resources in the sample. In addition, there is wide variability in the units of representation chosen for inclusion by the libraries contributing records, resulting in little predictability in what units of information might be found in the database.

Technological Change and the Scholarly Communications Reform Movement: Reflections on Castells and Giddens

Richard Fyffe

Reconceiving and reorganizing collection development practices around the evolving processes and products of the scholarly communications cycle has become one of our profession’s fundamental opportunities. However, our increasing use of market mechanisms and digital technologies to rationalize the production and distribution of scholarly information poses significant risk that business cycles and the obsolescence of hardware and software will lead to the inadvertent loss of significant portions of our intellectual heritage. This article introduces a theoretical framework for understanding the relationship between academic culture and digital technology as they relate to scholarly communication and library collection development, drawing chiefly on the work of the social theorists Daniel Bell, Manuel Castells, and Anthony Giddens. The article suggests that Castells’s theory of the network society and Giddens’s account of disembedding, expert systems, and risk as hallmark features of modern society together point us toward a more candid recognition that the fragility of digital systems and the resulting possibility of significant cultural loss are intrinsic features of the new landscape of scholarly communications. Moreover, acknowledging this risk is an important dimension of successful reform of the scholarly publishing system.

Inventory at Brooklyn College, 1998–1999: An Original Method

Judith W. Wild

This article discusses the development of an inventory project at Brooklyn College that entailed examining the collection and comparing it to the corresponding records in the online catalog. The procedure became necessary in large part due to problems resulting from the migration to a new, integrated cataloging system in 1987. We needed to deal with (a) books in the catalog that were not on the shelves, (b) books on the shelves that were not in the catalog, and (c) books that lacked circulation information (item records). We used the circulation module of our integrated system to discharge every book, thereby changing its record. An unchanged record indicated a missing book. Missing books were then removed from the catalog. Books on the shelves with no bibliographic record were redeemed and entered into the catalog. Item records were created for those books that needed them. Other errors were also identified and corrected during this time.