November 2009. Jay Weitz, Consulting Database Specialist
OCLC's Expert Community provides Connexion users who have a Full Level authorization or higher more flexibility in making changes to WorldCat master bibliographic records. Maintenance of WorldCat will be shared more equally between OCLC staff and member libraries. The additional capabilities provided are a powerful expansion of those that have been available especially through Database Enrichment since 1991.
The Expert Community Experiment resulted in more corrections and additions to master bibliographic records and more timely actions to correct record problems. The Experiment was inspired by longstanding requests from members of the OCLC cooperative to be able to do more—and more immediate—upgrading of bibliographic records in WorldCat. The Experiment allowed us to test a "social cataloging" model involving the existing community of cataloging experts who have built WorldCat record-by-record over the past nearly four decades. Interest in such a model grew especially with the launch of WorldCat Local and with the popularity of such other socially cooperative ventures as Wikipedia. We hope the continuation of the Expert Community will continue to result in more timely actions to correct records within WorldCat on the part of OCLC members.
Any Full-Level authorization or higher (including CONSER Regular, CONSER National, Regular Enhance, National Level Enhance, NACO Regular, NACO National, and Agent) have the functionality to participate in the Expert Community. There is no need to apply for any special authorizations. All existing Enhance, CONSER, and NACO authorizations will continue to work as they always have but will also have all of the additional capabilities allowed within the Expert Community.
The overriding principle of the Expert Community is: "First, do no harm." Please use the same care in editing an existing master record as you would use in creating a new record.
A second overriding principle is: "If in doubt, DON'T."
The Expert Community allows members of the OCLC cooperative with Full-Level cataloging authorizations and higher to make additions and changes to almost all fields in almost all records. There are a few relatively limited exceptions and a few additional details:
Most fields within an eligible master bibliographic record can be changed, with the following EXCEPTIONS:
Note also that master bibliographic records CANNOT be deleted from WorldCat by Expert Community participants.
For users of the Connexion client, you can replace a record without locking it first and you can do replace transactions in batches if you prefer.
For users of the Connexion browser, you must lock a record before you begin to edit it, and then replace it.
Some important points about the lock and replace process:
You may want to re-familiarize yourself with the sorts of local information that can be present in a record at the point of replace but that is not added to the master record. See the section “Replacing Records with Local Information” in Bibliographic Formats and Standards.
OCLC hopes that members of the cooperative participating in the Expert Community will share their experiences on the OCLC-CAT discussion list (OCLC-CAT@OCLC.ORG). In addition, questions may be addressed to ASKQC@OCLC.ORG.
Clearly, the Expert Community changes the face of the Enhance program. OCLC has been talking with Enhance participants about this since the ALA Annual meeting in Anaheim, California, in June 2008. In these discussions we have come up with some possible expansions of Enhance capabilities in the future, such as the ability to merge certain categories of master records, maintenance of headings, and the like. OCLC will continue to have these discussions with our valued Enhance participants.