MARC record, MARC record on the screen which is the fairest to be seen. Also known as pick me, pick me. Apologies to the witch in Snow White.

One of the obvious opportunities of moving your catalogue into a shared global metadata environment is access to a massive amount of records. While this is great, particularly as you don’t have to spend time and resources downloading bibliographic metadata into a local system, it does raise some interesting issues. In particular, the overlap and duplication of records that clutters up everything and has the potential to interfere with the end user. Librarians might like stuff but everyone just wants it and as quick and easy as possible.

So how do you pick the best record especially if your a small library without dedicated cataloguers, you’re time poor, and you need to focus your efforts on supporting patron needs? It is one thing to navigate around the various records for the different manifestations of a work but then there is all the library clutter for what is effectively the same thing. For example, as of this week there are six global bibliographic records for “Torn” by Amanda Hocking on ISBN 9781447205708. Three records are catalogued in English, two in German and one in Danish. One of the records is for the large print edition and one is for the 2010 edition. Of the three English MARC records one (OCN 781504322) has come into WorldCat from the National Library and two (OCN 777757561 and OCN 807974178) have come in from Libraries Australia. All records included RDA coding.

For some items there is a bewildering and eye watering number of unnecessary records. This is not such an issue if you have chosen one record for an independent and siloed library management system but if your working in the cloud and want to integrate your collection into the rest of the world you should probably be more circumspect.

Focusing on these three records the choice for my library service was as follows. Now as a small library we did not have time to go into this level of cataloguing details. We selected OCN 777757561 because from the summary in the screen shot it had come into WorldCat from Libraries Australia and therefore our holdings would be more aligned to the other Australian collections. It had the correct publisher details and we could also see that it included series information. If we did have time to look deeper this is what we would have found.


OCN 781504322: held by 8 libraries of which only one is Australian. The 040 details are: $Nz$beng$cNZWLI$dNZTPM$dOCLCQ

  • No 650s, so no LCSH  or FAST subject headings to facilitate discovery.
  • No 490 series information though the series is listed in the 245 $a
  • Publisher listed as 260 $aLondon, UK$bPan Macmillan Australia$c2012.

To be fair however the 500$a states this is an “Acquisitions record” and now Te Puna is part of WorldCat the National Library (and other libraries) can enhance this record over time and the changes will update in WorldCat without the need of the National Library of New Zealand to maintain and synchronize records on Te Puna servers as well as on WorldCat.

OCN 777757561: held by 32 libraries. The 040 details are: AU@$beng$cAU@$dYDXCP$dOCLCF$dOCLCO$dOCL$dOCLCO$dOCLCQ$dAUNTL

  • By far the most comprehensive record with rich metadata to facilitate discovery.
  • Heaps of 650s offering a rich source of metadata to facilitate discovery this includes LCSH and FAST subject headings. There is even two 655s coding the item with FAST subject headings for fiction and juvenile works.
  • There is no 490 series information but the series is listed in the 800 Added entry personal name $t.
  • The publisher listed as 260 $aLondon :$bTor,$c2012, ©2010.
  • To facilitate automated acquisition workflows and order information uploads there is  938 for $aYBP Library Services$bYANK$n7040558. As more libraries look to streamline their back end workflows I suspect this field could become more important. In the meantime I understand that the National Library of Australia sources some of its MARC records from YPB so this field could be entered as part of this process.

OCN 807974178: held by one library. The 040 details are: AU@$beng$cAU@$dOCLCQ

  • Bare, bare minimum record with very little detail (no subject headings or series information) to facilitate discovery.
  • The publisher listed as 260 $aLondon :$bTor,$c2010.

The record we selected is located in our catalogue at

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