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Monday, 10 September 2007

Souping up the engine: making the most of the catalogue at the University of Auckland

Ksenija Obradovic

Users don't want to perform complicated search
Not all relevant literature is on web
Searche engines return thousands of irrelevant hits
catalogues provide organised and consistant resources

Uni of Auckland library's efforts to improve access to resources. Information retrieval depends on data quality.
Integrated Library Systems hasn't kept up with times. Not easy or cheap to replace.
Recently alternative programs.
MarcEdit; Marc Wizard; Marc Report and Marc Global.
These last used by Uni of Auckland.

Ephemera collection in vertical files - almost 2000 files but only listed in MS Word list so students unaware of them. Converted Word document with artists' names into Marc records. More subject headings added. Then authority work, holding and itm records.About 45 hours work (40hours took 40hours) - would have needed to be done anyway. Result - considerable increase in usage.

Database of books, documents, articles but with no marc records. Some years ago added urls to records of print versions. But this not ideal as each manifestation should have records.. Exported from Voyager, added details, reloaded back to Voyager.

Not using library system to full potential - eg gateway to theses. Thesis gateway -> canned search into catalogue with limits preset. No additional software, no extra expenses, just collaboration between cataloguing and diital services (and enthusiasm and time.)

Marc carries a lot of information - more than we use. Any mistake compromises retrieval.

Cataloguing departments face lack of time, money, people; face high demands, big backlogs, the value of their work is questioned.

Shortcuts (eg short bib records) prove costly in long run.


  • international collaboration
  • being part of big communities eg OCLC
  • contributing with copy cataloguing
  • automating workflows - explore systems to enable workflows that save time

Check e-book marc records - quality of vendor e-book records varies widely. Mistakes can compromise searching or cause rejection in batch loading. So files run through MARC Report to identify mistakes first.


  • catalogues need improvement
  • don't know direction of developments in future
  • developments will be based on premise that cataloguing rules were followed - so goal to create good quality metadata: explore opportunities of technology

RDA - some changes haven't been finalised so still unsure of impact. Hope more efficient to create metadata. Criticised for not being general enough and for being too general.

MARC report software - very useful esp for files outside of Voyager. (Not so useful within Voyager as has to be moved out and back in. But helped identify many mistakes with theses that had been wrongly catalogued.) But great for vendor-originated records.