California Digital Library

Contribute to and benefit from shared cataloging

University of California students in the library

"We’re driven to get MARC records distributed to the campuses as soon as possible, so we rely on WorldShare Collection Manager's WorldCat updates to notify us of the changes via the reports and to resend updated records as soon as possible. It has transformed the old library backlog process of periodically checking OCLC in search of a better copy."

Becky Culbertson
Electronic Resources Cataloging Librarian, Shared Cataloging Program, California Digital Library

Metadata Librarian Becky Culbertson may catalog at the University of California (UC), San Diego, but she knows her work benefits cooperative libraries beyond her own. As part of the Shared Cataloging Program (SCP), her role is to catalog and maintain records for the California Digital Library's consortially licensed (and some open-access) serials, databases, and monographs, which are distributed to the ten UC campus libraries.

In addition, she is also a member of the HathiTrust cataloging support group and serves proudly as a member of the Cooperative Online Serials Program (CONSER). Her real passion is cataloging with the annual CONSER Open Access Journal Project, which provides high-quality cataloging of the previous year’s Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) title additions.

The WorldCat® updates available through WorldShare® Collection Manager allow Becky to keep up and share work with other libraries globally through WorldCat. "We couldn’t do it without the Collection Manager reports and updated records," Becky said. "It's very much a cooperative project, and it reflects the cooperative cataloging spirit that we all need and depend on. I'm hoping that other libraries share by replacing the current copy of the WorldCat records so that we’re all better off."

"The updated records through WorldCat updates have the wonderful effect of making it appear like 9,000 other catalogers are working just for you on the records to which you have attached your holdings."

"Vendor records are appreciated, but only as a base. They are not meant as the end-all and the be-all in our catalog," Becky said. So she enhances records on a graduated basis as more information becomes available. "With serial vendor records, I focus on merging duplicate records and adding ISSN information to the newly selected base record," she explained. "These partially enhanced records are then distributed to the ten UC campus libraries. As part of this process, I am also replacing the current copy of the WorldCat record.” That way, other libraries that have holdings on the same title get the benefit of Becky’s work in their own catalog. "I then count on other libraries to supply the remaining valuable information, such as subject analysis. And their enhancements are funneled directly into the replacement of my record," she added.

Becky continued, "Vendor records are good starting points, but they generally don't have subject headings." Without WorldCat, catalogers at the ten individual campus libraries would have to add this information themselves. "This is where the updated records, WorldCat updates, come in. As the records become fully fleshed out, we will ingest them into our system." she said. Thanks to this service, 88% of SCP serials (and 77% of monographs) include at least one subject heading.  

"Journals change," Becky said. "They change numbering systems. They change scope. Open-access journals change URLs all the time. A dead journal can resurrect." WorldCat updates allow libraries to keep up with these changes through the cooperative power of WorldCat. Last year, 78% of SCP’s record updates (out of 76,347 updates) came from WorldCat updates. "Most libraries depend upon vendor loads just the way they are," she added. "I'm always trying to figure out ways to make it better for everybody, not just me. My advice for other libraries is to take advantage of Collection Manager's WorldCat updates. That's a big deal."

Map showing location of University of California campuses

Program at a glance

  • Founded in 1997 to manage the co-investment and sharing of online materials and services used by libraries across the University of California system
  • Works in partnership with campuses to bring treasures from the university’s libraries, museums, and cultural heritage organizations to the world
  • Conducts centralized cataloging for licensed and selected open-access resources through the Shared Cataloging Program

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