March 2009 Archives
In a Feb. 12 entry on this blog, we announced OCLC's Expert Community Experiment, which creates a wiki-like environment around WorldCat cataloging records so that anyone with an OCLC full cataloging authorization can participate in making records better. The experiment began the week of February 16; it will continue for 6 months. To participate, you need nothing besides your OCLC full level cataloging authorization. More information is available on the Expert Community Web pages.
A month into the experiment, I thought there might be intereest in an update on participation. Registration for the Expert Community Webinars is breaking OCLC records for participation in our webinars--more than 900 sites participated in the four sessions offered in February. If you missed these, there is another Webinar on March 24 for which you can register. Alternatively, you can visit the Expert Community Web pages and click on the Webinar recording available in the right frame.
Here are some statistics that suggest that the OCLC cataloging community is becoming more engaged in collectively improving WorldCat. The statistics compare master record improvements during the first four weeks of Expert Community Experiment activity with improvements made one year ago (March 2008).
Besides the brand new Expert Community updates to master records, it seems possible that the experiment is yielding an uplift in database enrichments and minimal-level upgrades as well.
Robert Bremer is one of the OCLC staff that makes extensive use of macros. He showed me one of the more complex ones that cleans up common errors in the bibliographic data that gets uploaded to WorldCat. One of the most common types of errors that he must deal with is that of text that the cataloger types in "freehand" in fields like the 504 ‡a (bibliography note, i.e. "Includes bibliographic references.") The logical thing here would be for the cataloger to have a macro to insert this text (and to use it) every time the situation arises; but the use and utility of macros among the cataloging population is uneven.
Although OCLC can and will continue to correct a wide range of errors arising from multiple sources, some macros are most beneficial at the local level. The OCLC cooperative has long benefited from the work of individuals who have sought to share their macro insights. Joel Hahn's "Better Living through Macros" should be of interest to those looking for an introduction: http://www.hahnlibrary.net/libraries/oml/index.html. A more advanced perspective is at Harvey E. Hahn's "OML Macros" page (http://www.ahml.info/oml/).
Walt Nickerson maintains a collection of macros at http://docushare.lib.rochester.edu/docushare/dsweb/View/Collection-2556.
The main Connexion macros page (http://www.oclc.org/connexion/support/macros.htm) has links to these resources and a few more, including lessons for learning how to create and use macros.
I urge you to look at what is available, see if it makes sense for your organization, and to let us know how we can help the cataloging community in creating new macro resources.