As libraries have less resources to do more often back end services such as in-house cataloguing get scaled back. Cataloguing of course should never be for its own sake, it needs to make a difference and provide value to library patrons and the host organisation. With this in mind the Kerferd Library has spent some time enhancing the MARC records for the “Best Australian Essays”. This is an annual anthology published by Black Inc Books. The metadata enhancement was done because of the feedback we got from our English teachers. The teachers told us they needed to search the book contents for the name of the essay as well as the essay’s author.

Title level bibliographic metadata was not going to be good enough for these key stakeholders hence the need to enhance the records and add the contents metadata. In doing this work the library is responding to the needs of key and influential stakeholders and therefore is seen to be adding value to the host organisation.

Furthermore, because our WorldShare catalogue uses Library of Congress Authorities Control Numbers, the catalogue interface can present to the library patron any other publication by a specific author or publications about a specific author. This functionality is very useful for an English teacher, especially given the emphasis on literary analysis within the Australian curriculum.

For this example the records we enhanced are: OCN823388111, OCN875002784, OCN892576957, OCN913499733, and OCN953495989.

What was enhanced

In adding our holdings for these publications we noticed that none of the existing records offered MARC490 series metadata, MARC505 formatted contents metadata, and while the editor was listed in the MARC700 added entry personal name field, none of the authors of the individual essays was listed in the MARC700 field. In some cases the individual authors were not listed anywhere on the record, this included the MARC500 general notes field.

Before the enhancement

Prior to enhancing the records patrons could only access title level biblographic information; there was little insight into the various essays that made up the anthology, and where information was provided it was in the MARC500 general notes field so it was not coded in any meaningful way. In the case of at least one record the general notes was taken from what looked like the publisher’s blurb, and because the text read “Previous contributors include…” and then listed authors from previous books in the series, the author information was misleading. See the following screen shot for details of a pre-enhanced record with the misleading text highlighted.

As an aside, many of the records look as though they were sourced from a library book vendor, and while the vendor offered an acceptable record for order and acquisitions purposes, it is a bit disappointing no other library has taken the time to make the necessary enhancements and then distribute the enhanced record back into the library metadata cloud. After all, isn’t better resource sharing, collaboration, and integration, key benefits of purchasing the next generation of cloud based library systems?

The enhancements

To meet the stated needs of OUR key stakeholders the Kerferd Library made the following changes to the records where we had holdings in our collection:

  • Added MARC490 Series metadata so the series title was hyperlinked in the catalogue. This making it easier for patrons to pull up all the other publications in the series.
    490 0 Best Australian essays
  • Added MARC505 formated contents metadata so all the authors and their various essay titles were clearly and unambiguously coded for both on screen viewing as well as interpretation by any MARC compliant system. The $t subfield is used for the title and the $r subfield indicates the author.
    505 0 0 $tConfronting the unthinkable in Goya’s art /$rSebastian Smee –$tThe insults of age /$rHelen Garner –$tMy granny’s last wish /$rAnna Krien –$tL’état, C’est Charlie /$rGuy Rundle –$tThe pencil and the damage done /$rCeridwen Dovey –$tThe meeting that never was /$rMatthew Lamb –$tMirror rim /$rAshley Hay –$tThe thirty-ninth summer of DK Lillee /$rChristian Ryan –$tSkin in the game /$rDavid Walsh –$tThe library of shadows /$rMark Mordue –$tSound bridges /$rFelicity Plunkett –$tLeaving ourselves at home /$rDBC Pierre
  • Added MARC700 added entry personal name metadata so each of the individual authors entries where hyperlinked. This allows patrons to see what else the author has published. By also linking into the LCCN identities we can also show what else has been published about an author.
    700 1 Pearson, Noel,$d1965-
    700 1 Falconer, Delia,$d1966-

See also the  following “who benefits from these changes”for the specific benefits and screen shots.

Fly in the ointment

Name authorities, but this might be best left for a future blog post.

So who benefits from these changes?

  1. Our key stakeholders can now search on the essay names and authors. Plus quickly link to any other publication about or by any of the essay authors. The following image shows the full record for the 2016 “Best Australian essays” at Note that when the patron clicks on the “Find out more about [the author selected is Helen Garner]” they are sent to the WorldCat / LCCN identities record for the author [in this case Helen Garner] WorldCat / LCCN identities provides information on:
    • Works by the author
    • Works about the author
    • Associated names
    • Related authorities

    All of which can be very useful for a teacher. For more information on WorldCat / LCCN identities see

  2. Other WorldShare libraries who have these publications in their collection get series metadata, formatted contents metadata and the individual author authorities. For these libraries the enhancements are immediate. See the following screen shot for the details from the Mazenod College Library at
  3. Australian libraries who get an updated record from either Libraries Australia or WorldCat get the enhanced series and contents metadata.

    As WorldShare/WorldCat is a collaborative cloud based system, the record enhancements made by the Kerferd Library get automatically uploaded into Libraries Australia without the Kerferd Library having to do a manual batch load.

    However, while libraries getting their records from WorldCat would also get the individual author authorities, libraries getting records from Libraries Australia may not necessarily get the individual author authorities. This may be a fly in the ointment that is set aside for a future blog post. See the following screen shot for the record via Libraries Australia.


  4. New Zealand libraries who get an updated record from either Te Puna / WorldCat have access to the series metadata, the enhanced contents metadata and the individual author authorities. See following image from Te Puna for details.

The work required

The Library of Congress at and OCLC at make available detailed and easy to online resources that show how to use MARC coding. Does it take up a bit of time? Yes, but it is manageable.  Is it worth doing? Yes, if it delivers real value back to library patrons, and in particular key stakeholders.