You might think that lake reclamation, Salt City Bank, and indie rock band "Scarlet Ending" have nothing in common. But they're all subjects with roots in Central New York that can be discovered around the world thanks to the local cataloging efforts of the Onondaga County Public Library.
Deb Lewis, Administrator for Systems and Member Services, has great enthusiasm for materials related to unique, local stories like these. "From library to library, there's a lot of overlap when it comes to popular materials," she explains. "But nobody else in the world will ever catalog the public documents related to the clean-up of Onondaga Lake, newsletters of local Syracuse organizations, or recordings of local bands."
While cataloging unique items has always been important, she points out that even as expectations of library users to find "everything" on the web have grown, staff has shrunk. How do they cope? By relying on the "collective collection" of WorldCat, and shifting many routine cataloging workflows to clerical staff.
The high hit rate for copy cataloging records in WorldCat is a key part of the value Deb ascribes to her OCLC cataloging subscription. "We can have clerical staff search WorldCat and request records to be imported into our catalog, and then perform quality checking when needed," she says. "The service is flexible, and that lets us work in ways that makes sense for us."
Deb also appreciates that with WorldCat Cataloging Partners, she gets OCLC MARC records for materials ordered through participating vendors with holdings automatically set in WorldCat. "That gets many materials out on our shelves much more quickly, and with little effort on our part."
But it's working on the "neat stuff" that really excites her. "The documents related to the Onondaga Lake reclamation project," she explains, "are incredibly important. Not just for the sake of local government transparency, but because they will be important to other, similar projects all over the world."