New York University

Improve access to e-resources with time-saving automated processes

NYU Library Atrium photo by Bob Handelman
Photo by: Bob Handelman

“Automated holdings feeds through WorldShare Collection Manager have for sure saved us time, and we've been able to be faster about getting records in the system. Our time savings has helped us do other parts of the workflow in more depth.”

Nancy Lin
Metadata Technology Specialist, New York University Libraries

Nancy Lin, Metadata Technology Specialist at New York University Libraries, explained that the library has “over a million and a half e-books. It’s a very large collection, so the sheer volume requires that we are really efficient about how we handle the metadata and the discovery.” The e-resources are especially important to support campuses overseas. “We have global campuses in Abu Dhabi, Shanghai, and other international locations, so it’s important to have e-resources easily discoverable for all users,” she said.

However, the library’s metadata staff found it difficult to keep up with frequently changing e-resource collections. The workflow for matching their Ovid collection, for example, took about 29 hours of staff time. Nancy explained that cataloging from vendor files was problematic in part because the records didn’t contain enough metadata. Also, the library received multiple records for the same title in different formats from different vendors, which staff had to manually deduplicate.

NYU Libraries then began getting automated, institution-specific holdings feeds through WorldShare Collection Manager. “This has saved us a lot of time,” Nancy said, “and we see other benefits as well.” Nancy and her team use automated holdings feeds for their purchased Ebook Central, Elsevier, Ovid, and Springer collections as well as for evidence-based acquisition collections from JSTOR and Taylor & Francis through Ebook Central. Through these feeds, “We get records faster than having to go in all the time to different vendor sites for the records,” she explained.

“The workflow for our Ovid collection now takes only about 2 hours, down from 29 hours, and our newly acquired content is automatically reflected in WorldShare Collection Manager and in the WorldCat knowledge base.”

Rather than loading vendor records with minimal data, OCLC provides the WorldCat record with subsequent updates through Collection Manager’s automated holdings feeds. “We’ve been able to quickly increase the number of our robust e-book records,” Nancy said. “Once we turned on these collections, we received better metadata for our catalog.” These feeds also combine information from different publishers into a single, complete record. “My colleagues are happy about not having to choose among many different collections that do not accurately reflect what we have purchased. To have one institution-specific set that’s coming through is a lot easier to manage,” she said. And even if NYU discovers a problem with an update, she added, “NYU can edit the WorldCat record and inform OCLC and the vendor about missing records. That way, the other libraries that are getting the records also benefit from our corrections.”

These updated records have helped NYU improve its catalog and e-resource accessibility, aiding all students and faculty in their research. “Users are starting to realize that they can go to the catalog for a representation of what we have in e-books,” Nancy said. “The users are definitely getting more matches than they used to, and more efficiently.” And she looks forward to being able to expand automated holdings feeds to more publishers. “I hope more libraries will work with vendors to encourage them to deliver institutional feeds through Collection Manager,” she said. “As publisher automated records grow and become more accurate, it'll help us improve discoverability and efficiently connect users with our e-books.”


  • New York, New York, United States

Library at a glance

  • Consists of 8 libraries with a total of 4.6 million volumes
  • The main library, Elmer Holmes Bobst Library, holds millions of volumes, 272,000 serial titles, and over 43,000 linear feet of archives
  • The Bobst Library accommodates 11,000 visits a day and circulates 246,000 items annually

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