A pleasant surprise: student workers and WorldShare
It's not uncommon for us at the Carnegie-Vincent Library to have a large backlog of gift books. Gift books often arrive in large quantities. They are removed from boxes and placed on carts for collection development librarians to assess for the collection. As Technical Services Librarian, those that were accepted for the collection were given to me for copy, complex copy and original cataloging. Then I added holdings and items to complete the physical processing.
In June 2012, the Carnegie-Vincent Library migrated to OCLC WorldShare Management Services (WMS). As a result, I began considering ways to improve workflows and reduce redundancy in technical services processes. Working with WMS cuts down on duplication dramatically since there is no longer a need to transfer WorldCat records to an integrated library system. Also, I observed that copy cataloging was now at a level where many were accepted "as is" - requiring no edits at all.
Because WorldShare makes technical service processes much easier, I decided to work with a graduate assistant on a pilot project to see if student workers could do the majority of the gift book processing. Any books that were not ordered through a fund would fall into this category.
In WMS, this process takes place in the Circulation module. Through the Circulation module, a record is discovered and then, using a simple form, an item is added to the record indicating location, call number and barcode.
The first step in developing the pilot project was to create a model for the plan. The idea was to assign student workers to complete the processing with a graduate assistant supervising. To get the process started, I trained the graduate assistant and assigned her to work on processing until she felt well versed in the workflow. Then, the graduate assistant and I worked together to find student workers who met certain criteria: time available to spend on the project and an eye for detailed, precise work. As the pilot project moved forward, the graduate assistant took on more responsibility, which provided an excellent managerial experience for her and allowed me to perform other duties.
A serious concern for me was the quality of the output. Therefore, I created detailed instructions in writing for the graduate assistant and student workers. During training, it was emphasized that the first step, finding the record, was the most important. The catalog must have the right record with the right book. There are no exceptions. If the record was not complete, lacked a call number, or there were any questions at all about the record, it was set aside for me to check.
The rest of the procedure was straightforward. First, add the item, then write down the barcode number and include it on a slip with the book, and add book information to the Excel label template. When a cart is complete, I do a random quality check of the completed books. Any problems were discussed with the graduate assistant, so that she can incorporate them in ongoing training of the students.
The pilot project was implemented during the 2012 fall semester. Overall, the pilot project proved to be a success with more than 300 items cataloged and available in the system by the end of the semester. We'll probably only do this when the library has a large influx of gift books. But being able to process items through the Circulation module in WMS helps us minimize the backlog that sometimes develops due to a large donation.
Laura C. Slavin,
Technical Services Librarian, Lincoln Memorial University's Carnegie-Vincent Library
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