Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Comparing the Library Catalog Record to the Item in Hand

This week's assignment is to examine five items from my library collection with the record found in Integrated Library System.  The purpose of this exercise is to see how the areas of description from the International Standard Bibliographic Description (ISBD) have or have not been followed or completed for the item in hand.  It also gives pause as to whether the information is sufficient to meet the needs of patrons.  Do the eight areas of description inform the patron to a sufficient degree that the catalog matches the item they are seeking?

The first two items I looked at happen to be books I had pulled for an author/illustrator unit for my grade ones.  In addition to examining authors we have been exploring the importance of remembering author names so as to be able to quickly go to the stacks and retrieve their favourite stories (area 1 information).  Later when they are capable of looking in the catalog they will see a big discrepancy in how these first two items display and this would easily make them favour one book over the other.

Frederick's Fables: A Treasury of 16 Favorite Leo Lionni Stories

The record is complete for all 8 areas of description.  Most importantly the title is complete--it includes the important subtitle "A treasury of 16 favorite Leo Lionni stories."  It also includes vital notes that the item includes an introduction by the author and names three of the most famous of Lionni's stories included in the treasury.  In fact later in the description it names all the stories in the treasury. All edition information is accurate including the fact that it is revised edition.  In terms of physical description it was useful to know the size of the book.  It is 29 cm which makes it a good choice for a read aloud where children can see the pictures as a group. There is also a picture of the book cover.

My record includes many other additional notes including awards, interest grade level, and reading grade level.  Attached to the record is a link to a subscription service called Title Peek.  This provides additional review information about the book and some background of the author.

Leo Lionni Favorites: Six Classic Stories

This item had:
area 1 --Title and Statement of Information (Author)
area 2 --edition
area 3--Material
area 4--publication
area 5--physical description
area 7--notes
area 8--standard numbers

Even though this item did have all the basics it was the enriched notes and description that were missing that made the item seem far inferior to the first Lionni book I looked at. There was no book picture and no summary.  There was also no link to Title Peek.  The stark difference in the amount of text and empty summary field that visually made the record easy to dismiss. If we were to look at this record and the above record purely in MARC format the difference would be far from dramatic. It appears that the use of area 7 notes and other non standard enhanced physical description can have a huge impact on patrons.

Leonardo da Vinci [video recording]

I have just recently begun updating my video collection.  There is quite a difference in cataloguing quality.  This title is perhaps one of the better catalogued items.  It has all ISBD areas covered-at least to a minimal degree. An interesting bit of data that was put in as area 7 information is who did the animation of the 30 minute DVD.  I am not sure if this should be area 1 information and if so how such information is entered. Is it the same as listing an illustrator for a book?  Since the item in hand is located in our Learning Resources Audio Visual collection it is not easily accessed.  This increases the importance of additional notes describing the content. The information that is there is a summary that sounds more like an advertisement: "Explore the brilliance of of Leonardo da Vinci, whom was a master painter and inventor." The description that is found on the back of the DVD would have been a little more informative

Once again there is not picture of the DVD cover but it does indicate the length of the DVD.

The Night Before Christmas [ebook] by Clement C. Moore

I have a few e-books in my collection mostly because I could get them for free.  These are books that can be viewed on the computer but are not talking books that you can take out an play on an ipod type device. The description just says ebook but it provides not information on what the requirements are required for reading the ebook, as in is there a particular plugin or application required for reading the book. All the other basic areas covered.

Cowboys and Coffin Makers: One Hundred 19th-Century Jobs You Might Have Feared and Fancied by Laurie Coulter

This is a non-fiction book.  What is interesting in how the area 1 information is presented.  It does not say illustrations but rather says art is by Martha Newbigging.  This makes me ask more about the nature of the graphics in this book.  The summary reads: A guide to 100 career opitons in 19th century America featuring a timeline of the 1800s and humorous illustrations.  Should the word artist or illustrator be used for Martha Newbigging?  Where did the term art or illustration come from? Looking at the book in hand one would say illustrator would have been a better term to use.

It is interesting to see how the records in the library collection can have a huge impact on how a patron will perceive and judge the resource before they even have the item in hand.  As librarians we have always been worried about judging a book by its cover now it seems we may have to be as worried by patrons judging books by their electronic record.

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