August 15, 2007
Fifteen million pounds each year to re-catalogue books that have already been catalogued
Within most of the 200 public library authorities in the UK there is a cataloguing operation which makes sure that the catalogue data sent with books conforms to the cataloguing procedures of that authority. They cost on average 50 -100 thousand pounds per annum per council
There is no need to do this work.. If every council merely used the standard catalogue information provided by Neilsen Bookdata and or Bibliographic Data Services, the information on their own systems and that provided to the public would be perfectly adequate. Only major special local collections have valid reason for applying their own criteria and their own cataloguing
That is fifteen million pounds which is a waste of money which is quite over and above the large wastage of money which MLA are trying to address in their programme Better Stock Better Libraries.
Is it rude to point this out? Of course to stop individual council librarians doing this work really will be like taking the toys from the children. I see that CILIP are organising conferences to teach public librarians how to do cataloguing at a rate of 400 pounds per admission for 3 days in London. Why?
Posted by Perkins at August 15, 2007 11:56 AM
In defense of the cataloging community I would say that there is some local work that they need to do, shelfmarking etc., which adds to records that can be pulled in from Neilsen et al.
Having said that, I agree that duplication of core cataloging effort across library authorities makes very little sense, financial or otherwise, to me.
Coming from Talis, where we have a 37 year history of cooperation between libraries that results in benefits in many areas especially cataloging, doing it in isolation seems nonsensical. Talis Base, the service that grew out of the BLCMP cooperative which formed in 1969, is used by over 100 UK libraries in both the Public and Academic sectors, to share their cataloging effort.
As well as sharing catalog records between libraries, the service takes feeds from many commercial suppliers including those you mention. There used to be business, technology and data format reasons why Talis Base was only available as a service to those with a Talis library system. This is now no longer the case. All libraries can now benefit from the service. I doubt if cataloging will ever be a zero cost option for libraries, but with a service such as Talis Base all can take advantage of benefits that the 'Talis' libraries have enjoyed for years.
Posted by: Richard Wallis at August 17, 2007 8:18 AM
Does anyone really disagree that my estimate of the amount of money is about right and it is all a waste?
Posted by: Tim Coates at August 18, 2007 10:41 PM