Step Two: Batch MARC URI Insertion

Step One of Phase One conversion plan establishes a working environment in which all future-forward cataloging efforts will support Linked Data transition. Step Two of Phase One addresses the problem of legacy records. In October 2015 the Program for Cooperative Cataloging (PCC) charged a Task Group on URIs and MARC. The specific charge of the Task Group was to investigate the feasibility of and make recommendations regarding the insertion of URIs in standard MARC records. Much of the Task Group’s work focused on testing the potential impact of inserting URIs into MARC records, with an eye particularly to testing whether or not such an effort would negatively affect the functioning of current ILS systems. This testing necessitated the large-scale conversion of MARC records. To this end, librarians and staff at George Washington University, working under the guidance of the PCC Task Group’s chairperson, Jackie Shieh, tested various methods of inserting URIs in the MARC records of their 1.7 million title catalog.

The published results of George Washington University’s experiments with URI insertion provide details regarding the exact process used as well as scripts for performing the insertion. As such, these specific details are not included in this report. Relevant to this report is the calculation of effort required to complete the transformation. The most successful method implemented by the George Washington University team involved automated conversion and validation followed by human validation, correction, and supplemental cataloging. According to Shieh and Reese, automated conversion of records resulted in few errors. Human catalogers were used to spot check machine output. One cataloger was devoted to this task for the duration of the project, resulting in a very high, verified rate of conversion accuracy.

A potential option for completing Step Two of Phase One of the conversion plan would be to share the conversion effort across libraries both through and with OCLC and other vendors. The present workflows of most libraries involve contributing and receiving records from OCLC and other vendors. There is opportunity for service models in which OCLC inserts URIs in bibliographic records and distributes the updated records to libraries as appropriate. Additionally, vendors could provide records for shelf-ready acquisitions that include records with URIs. The costs of conversion as a service model are impossible to calculate without direct input from vendors; however, as such a service would dramatically reduce the work effort required at each local institution, the resultant cost should represent a cost savings to participating libraries.

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