LRTS volume 54, no. 1

January 2010 Article Abstracts

Name Authority Work Today: A Comparison of Types of Academic Libraries

By Susan K. Burke and Jay Shorten

This study compared different types and sizes of academic libraries on how they currently engage in name authority work. Findings were that smaller libraries were more likely to do their cataloging in-house and less likely to purchase vendor services. Large libraries and libraries at graduate institutions were more likely to engage in some outsourcing and were more likely to do name authority control for a variety of types of names and materials. The study documents name authority control practices before the implementation of the anticipated new cataloging rules. The results provide comparative data that could be useful for making decisions concerning, for example, allocating staff positions or budgets.

Identifying Standard Practices in Research Library Book Conservation

By Whitney Baker and Liz Dube

The field of research library conservation has emerged as a distinct discipline and undergone major refinements during the past fifty years. Professional organizations and training programs have been established, new treatment techniques have been developed and promoted, and increasingly, special and general collections practitioners have collaborated on treatment solutions. Despite such dramatic growth and definition within the field, no comprehensive assessment of the book treatment practices employed by research libraries for special and general collections has been conducted. In response to this need, the authors undertook a study to investigate and document the types of treatments employed by research libraries to conserve and maintain their book collections, and to compare the practices used for special collections with those used for general collections. This paper describes the evolution of the field over the past fifty years and identifies book conservation techniques the study found to be routinely, moderately, or rarely employed in research libraries. A comparison of special and general collections treatment practices suggests that while notable differences exist, many treatment practices are common in both contexts. Implications of the study’s results and potential applications for this new information are stated.

The Distributions of MARC Fields in Bibliographic Records: A Power Law Analysis

By Matthew Mayernik

Library catalog systems worldwide are based on collections of MARC records. New kinds of Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records (FRBR)–based catalog retrieval systems, displays, and cataloging rules will build on ever-growing MARC record collections. Characterizing the kinds of information held in MARC records is thus an important step in developing new systems and rules. This study examined the incidence and prevalence rates of MARC fields in two different sets of library catalog records: a random selection of bibliographic records from the Library of Congress online catalog and a selection of records for two specific works, Lord of the Flies and Plato’s Republic. Analysis showed that most fields were used in only a small percentage of records, while a small number of fields were used in almost all records. Power law functions proved to be a good model for the observed distribution of MARC fields. The results of this study have implications for the design of new cataloging procedures as well as for the design of catalog interfaces that are based on the FRBR entity-relationship model.