I don’t know about you, but I find it very frustrating when we run reports on books that are not circulating in our collection. Somehow, certain items never make the report but are always on the shelf. My “OCD” or “CDO” as I like to call it at times, sent me on a seek and find mission in our catalog. Oh what a fun challenge that was!
I wasn’t even sure where to begin. There are many reasons why our catalogs can become a real challenge. First of all, changing from the Galaxy system to the Polaris system caused issues because we were going from old school technology to new and improved online cataloging, which was a huge upgrade. Secondly, throughout the years there have been a few different catalogers working on records which can be like having too many cooks in the kitchen. In our defense, we are always striving to meet the needs of our patrons and staff. Sometimes that includes making new call numbers to satisfy new areas of interest or displays we are using. Another issue occurs when people make changes to call numbers without going back and updating old ones. Without unification across the board, it causes confusion when running reports. I would like to share a couple of the things I am working on to update our catalog and make it more patron- as well as work-friendly.
The first thing I did was to check what call numbers were being used and do a lot of item bulk changes as well as adjusting bibliographic records to match each other. For example, we had holiday books two ways (E HOL FIC and E FIC HOL). These differences can make such a difference when running reports.
Sometimes that space bar can be a tricky little devil! If you bump it one time too many ….oh no! There’s an extra space added to the call number. I found this extra space will also throw off the reports.
Remember our job as catalogers not only entails entering the items, it also includes keeping the catalog current and easily accessible for our patrons! So I would like to challenge you to put on your headphones, twerk to some good jams, and tweak your catalog! See if you can find a way to improve your catalog!
-Kristi White, CPLS
Public Library of Mount Vernon and Knox County