Making WorldCat More Accurate to Decrease ILL Return Time

(2013-09-05 009)

In December, the library finished a project to reconcile the holdings in WorldCat with the library catalog holdings for journals.

How does having accurate WorldCat journal holdings records affect interlibrary loan? Interlibrary loan departments across the world rely on WorldCat to order books, DVDs, CDs, articles—you name it. If your library does not have it, someone else does, and ILL can get it for you.

Imagine if holdings on WorldCat were never deleted for materials no longer held because of damage or theft? ILL departments would be searching for items in their libraries that were no longer available. It is easy when the lost item is a book, DVD or CD. The holdings are simply deleted from WorldCat. The problem is more complicated with journals.

The loss of an issue or volume of a journal does not mean that the library no longer has the title, just a part of it. Sometimes this updating of journal holdings in WorldCat is forgotten for this reason. However, it is imperative that accurate journal holdings are maintained. Countless hours are spent searching for “lost” or “misplaced” issues and volumes when the library no longer has them wastes valuable personnel time that could be better spent retrieving items that the library actually has, or placing orders for new requests for library users.

The library is committed to making the research experience as painless as possible, and a “lean, mean” ILL department is one way to help lessen the pain in turnaround time for valuable resources needed by our users.

About the Author

MIchael Handis is an Associate Professor at the CUNY Graduate Center and the Information Management Librarian in the Mina Rees Library.