Cambridge University Press has launched an initiative aimed at improving the discoverability of library resources.
Library budgets in the UK and elsewhere have been slashed in recent years, with librarians and information professionals faced with the challenge of making ends meet while providing a good service.
The university press (CUP) says that the biggest source of stress to cataloguers and librarians is unhappy users that cannot find resources within library catalogues and consequently cannot use these resources within publishers’ platforms.
CUP has embarked on a project to improve the discoverability of resources and ensure that the MARC (machine-readable cataloging) records across all eBooks are impeccable. A MARC record is the bibliographic record a library needs for its online catalogues – the online description of a resource, coded according a specific format. Once a MARC record is uploaded in a library catalogue, users are able to find it and have access to the resource described within.
Over the last year, CUP has been through almost all its collections – more than 24,000 titles – and updated or enhanced the metadata according to the requirements of librarians and researchers. It has also added in subject headings where there were none, authorised forms of authors’/editors’ names and series titles, and removed punctuation marks that affected search capabilities.
Concetta La Spada, library data analyst at Cambridge University Press, said: 'As a cataloguer myself, I know how frustrating it is to be provided with incomplete metadata and inadequate MARC records. I hope this project will help to make the lives of librarians and cataloguers easier, so they can get on with the work they need to be doing.'
Siobhan Wood, metadata manager at the University of Reading Library, said: 'We think it is wonderful that Cambridge University Press is now employing an experienced cataloguer, thus enabling it to significantly improve the quality of its e-book MARC records. We look forward to adding these to our catalogue once they are all available to CUP customers.'
Over the next year, there will be further investment in the project.