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Drexel University

Manage electronic collections cooperatively

Drexel University Library

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"With WorldShare Metadata, we get more efficient workflows for our materials and more accurate access to e-books in our catalog and through outside discovery services."

Holly Tomren
Head of Metadata Services, Drexel University Libraries

Until recently, Drexel University librarians had to engage in some pretty serious work-arounds to manage records for their e-books. "We had to put appointments in our calendars to remind us to check a vendor's site," said Holly Tomren, Head of Metadata Services. "And we had to go to 20 different sources to get 20 different record sets."

In part, it was frustrations like this that led to the creation of the WorldCat® knowledge base and WorldShare® Metadata. Librarians described how managing metadata for electronic materials required many such similar, cumbersome, inefficient activities because many publishers and content providers had different, often incompatible ways of communicating additions and changes.

Metadata quality was another concern for Holly. As she put it, "Not all vendors provide MARC records, or the quality of vendor records varies. Not all vendors provide information about changed records, either, and few provide OCLC numbers or holdings data."

"Compared to the records we get from other sources," she continued, "the e-book metadata we get from WorldShare Metadata is extremely accurate and timely."

"The ability to retrieve records for all providers in one place makes things so much easier. I'm not going to 20 different sources to get 20 different record sets, I'm just going to one place and getting all the records for all my providers there."

Holly also likes that there are many options for customizing e-book records before they move into her catalog. "I spend a lot less time doing in-house editing as a result," she said.

Accurate metadata for e-books is important not just for librarian workflows but also for getting the right materials to students and faculty. Holly pointed out that since her libraries' e-book holdings are in WorldCat, they are also discoverable through WorldCat.org™, WorldCat Local and any partner sites powered by the WorldCat Search API. "Having the holdings set automatically is really a great benefit for e-book discovery."

"Using the WorldCat knowledge base and the record delivery feature of WorldShare Metadata is a better workflow overall," Holly said. "It has given us better access to and discovery of our e-books in our discovery tools. It's just an easier way to deal with all our e-book collections."

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Library at a glance

  • Drexel University Libraries provide services for nearly 25,000 students, 4,500 faculty and various staff and community members.
  • 638,717 items in the libraries’ print and electronic collections
  • In 2012, more than 1.5 million items were downloaded from the libraries' electronic resources—almost nine times the number of physical items borrowed