Wednesday, March 30, 2005

LC Test of Access Level Records

In November of 2004, the Library of Congress Bibliographic Access Divisions posted information related to efforts to define a new level of cataloging within the MARC/AACR context, called access level-- more information related to the background and development of the core data set and cataloging guidelines may be found online.

From December 2004 to January 2005, the Library of Congress conducted a test of the proposed access level core data set and cataloging guidelines to determine whether the resulting records would meet the objectives formulated for the project (functionality, cost-efficiency, and conformity with current standards). The link above includes a presentation summarizing the results of the test.

Future plans for implementing Access Level
After evaluating the results of the test, LC has determined that there are substantial cost savings to be derived from access level cataloging, with no appreciable loss of access for searchers. The Bibliographic Access Divisions is proposing to pursue the implementation of access level cataloging, using the following framework to define a preliminary phase to be carried out in the next year:
  1. Continue to apply access level cataloging for non-serial remote access electronic resources (with guideline modifications based on cataloger and reference feedback).
  2. Expand the group of trained catalogers from the five initial testers to include all catalogers trained to work on this category of material.
  3. Solicit feedback on the access level core data set, cataloging guidelines, and future plans, from internal and external constituencies.
  4. Collaborate with the Program for Cooperative Cataloging (see Objective 2.1.2 in the PCC Tactical Objectives),
  5. Distribute the records created as part of the test, as well as for the preliminary phase, via normal record distribution products (Cataloging Distribution Service).
  6. Consider additional tests of the functionality of the access level records in the catalog.
  7. Given the considerable savings derived from doing original cataloging at access level as opposed to adapting copy cataloging records at full level, perform only original cataloging at access level for the preliminary phase; re-assess this decision after one year.
  8. Work with other institutions testing the guidelines and core data set to decide on the optimal record identification indicia (e.g., encoding level, possible use of authentication code).
  9. Consider whether the access level model might also apply to other types of resources (Bibliographic Access Divisions Strategic Plan for 2005-2006, Goal IV, Objective 7)
More information
The results of the access level test at the Library of Congress (PowerPoint presentation), the original project report, and the core data set are available.

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